WASHINGTON, Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Star Families (BSF), the nation's largest nonprofit dedicated to supporting military and veteran families and strengthening communities across the United States, will officially kick off their Blue Star Welcome Week from September 25th, 2021 to October 3rd, 2021 to raise awareness among Americans and build grassroots support for the roughly 600,000 active-duty and transitioning military families that move to new communities each year.
It has been a long fight for America's military and their families in the twenty years since 9/11, and they are still in the arena. Military families are in our communities and need our support now more than ever. While many Americans may understand that deployments, training, and transitions are a huge part of military life, most are unaware that military families are likely to not live on military bases anymore – they live in our communities, attend our schools, and shop at our grocery stores. The frequency of moves often mean military members, spouses, and children are removed from the proximity of family and friends. In surveys most say they do not have a sense of belonging in the communities in which they live, and many do not have a single person of whom they can ask a favor. Our military families make significant sacrifices as they serve alongside their service members across the world, and isolation makes those sacrifices harder to shoulder.
Blue Star Welcome Week is an opportunity for communities across the country to welcome our military and transitioning veteran families and remind all Americans what we owe to our military families, their service members, and veterans. It is an opportunity for military families and transitioning families to make meaningful connections to their communities.
For a full week, Blue Star Families and community partners are providing fun and creative, virtual and in-person, opportunities for relocating military- and Veteran-connected families to meet and engage with local community members. This connection will help ease their transition and create a greater sense of belonging in the places where they live and serve. Welcome Week is designed to alleviate the challenges of frequent relocations and support families with opportunities to participate in events including sending messages of welcome and appreciation from communities across the country, special events and giveaways, and spotlights on local favorites from military families and Blue Star Neighbors.
"Most Americans have no idea hundreds of thousands of military-connected families make transition moves to new communities across the country each year," said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. "America's military families leave their family and friends to find new schools, new jobs, new communities over and over again while supporting a challenging military mission. Blue Star Welcome Week is designed to recognize transitioning military families across the country, providing a platform for communities and individuals to engage and welcome these families. Each of us, across the country, can take part."
"There are some very unique challenges and sacrifices to the military lifestyle," General Joseph Dunford. "Given the contribution that they make to the security of the nation, giving their willingness to do whatever must be done, unquestioning. The fact is we can do more to help them. We can do more to support them. We can do more to make sure that their sacrifices are recognized and appreciated."
Each year, Blue Star Families conducts the annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey (aMFLS), the largest, most comprehensive survey of its kind, which acts as a listening tool for military families to sound off on what is and what is not working for them. Data from the 2020 aMFLS shows that 79% of military families feel that the general public is largely unaware of the daily challenges they face. Blue Star Welcome Week addresses this by creating opportunities for community engagement that bring together community supporters, everyday civilian neighbors, and military families to help build stronger, integrated connections that help ease the stress of frequent moves.
Blue Star Welcome Week honorary chairs are General Joseph Dunford, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mrs. Ellyn Dunford; Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies; and Harriet Dominique, SVP, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and Corporate Responsibility Officer, USAA.
Blue Star Welcome Week is supported by partners including the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, USAA Corporate Responsibility, CSX, Macy's, Boeing, Navy Federal Credit Union, Albertsons Companies, Inc., Blue Shield of California, Leonardo DRS, Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, Philips North America, dozens of community small businesses, nonprofit partner organizations, and more. Support from corporate sponsors, private foundations, and individual donors sustains Blue Star Families and its mission of strengthening America's military families through communities by offering programs and services such as Blue Star Welcome Week.
To learn more about Blue Star Families Welcome Week events and opportunities to get involved, please visit https://bluestarwelcomeweek.org.
About Blue Star Families
Blue Star Families is the nation's largest grass-roots military family support organization, with a mission to support military families to improve military readiness. Its distinctive approach builds stronger communities around military families through knowledge and programs that address the unique needs of those who serve. Blue Star Families' nationally recognized surveys and analysis give military families an important voice that informs policymakers and its military family programs. It uses the power of its collective resources and cross-sector collaborations to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of members of military families to strengthen the troops, their families, and our nation as a whole. For more information, visit bluestarfam.org.
SOURCE Blue Star Families