Tag Archives: our staff

On the Hill: Calling on Congress to end sequestration

Morning-Brief1Last week, on September 12, the National Military Family Association was joined by more than fifty staff, Board members, Volunteers and dedicated partners in our fight to #EndSequestration.

The #EndSequestration Team met at our headquarters in Alexandria, VA where they received matching t-shirts, a bag containing our freshly printed books, and receive a brief on the day’s events. Donning bright blue t-shirts with the words “#EndSequestration” on the back, the team boarded a bus and headed to Capitol Hill.

Following in the footsteps of our founding mothers, we divided into teams and headed to meet with all 535 Members of Congress to hand deliver our #EndSequestration book. We met with several Members of Congress, military and defense legislative assistants, and other staffers along the way.

Rep-Bill-Keating

The message was clear – the short-term impact of sequestration hurts military families, yet the long term consequences will be catastrophic.

Our #EndSequestration team reflected on their experiences of the day and shared the following:

Chairman of the Board Mary Scott, an Army spouse and mother of six children, who have all served in the military, stated , “I am very proud of [our] efforts in organizing this event. If we are who we say we are – strong advocates for military families – we must be willing to present their needs and challenges directly to those who can make a difference. This effort, on behalf of those we serve, delivered a powerful message in a personal way. I was very proud to introduce myself as a military family member and a representative of the National Military Family Association.”

Association volunteer Alicia McAfee said her first-hand experience advocating for military families left her optimistic that the unraveling yellow ribbon of support can be restored to its full potential.

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“Every office we visited was very welcoming. I definitely believe our voices were heard. I’m optimistic that the unraveling yellow ribbon of support can be restored to its full potential. It was encouraging to have other people on the Hill comment on our t-shirts and thank us for our efforts to end sequestration,” McAfee said after arriving back at our headquarters on Thursday.

After three dedicated hours of storming the Hill, we headed back to the bus to return to our headquarters. Some felt empowered; others hoped they did enough to get our message across. But all were appreciative to have this direct experience with the legislative process. This is the very foundation on which our government operates – by the people, for the people. And change doesn’t happen unless the people make their voices heard.

Delivering the albums to Congress is the beginning of the battle. We know we raised awareness about the concerns military families have about the long-term impact of sequestration. We will continue to demand that Congress keep their promises to our service members and their families by working to #EndSequestration.

Together we’re stronger.

Shannon-SebastianPosted by Shannon Sebastian, Online Engagement Manager

An Outsider Looking In: Military life perspective from an AmeriCorp member and civilian

volunteer-with-flagAs I wrap up my first month here at the National Military Family Association , I wanted to share my perspective as a civilian working for a nonprofit that advocates for military families. For the next year, I’ll be a member of the Government Relations team through the AmeriCorps Call 2 Service Corps

Honestly, when I initially decided to apply for positions through AmeriCorps, I anticipated something along the lines of “feed the hungry!” or “clean up this polluted stream!” Those are both issues that pull at my heartstrings, and are typically what one thinks of when “AmeriCorps” comes to mind.

However, when I came across the Association’s job posting, I liked what I read about the kind of work I would be doing (think: research, reading, and writing), while working alongside these great experts in the Government Relations department. I thought to myself, “Well, I’m not sure about the whole ‘military thing’, but they’re working for the betterment of families, so let’s do it!”

I haven’t regretted the decision to accept my position for one second. Learning how different the lives are of military families, in comparison to civilians, has astounded me. I had so many preconceived notions about military life, many of which greatly underestimated the realities of the hardships the families face, and many more of which were completely off base and entirely inaccurate. For instance, I assumed “military brats” moved to 2 or 3 different places by the time they finally graduate high school. In reality, many of them move every 2-3 YEARS!

I can’t begin to imagine trying to navigate the confusions of childhood and adolescence all while having to make new friends and adjusting to a new location on a regular basis. I knew that deployments were often long and not easy for military families, but I didn’t quite grasp just how hard they were. To get a better idea, check out these videos. My coworker (and military spouse), Karen, showed these videos to me to help me grasp the realities military families face every day – the same realities SHE faces every day – while husbands and wives, siblings and children, are deployed.

I am looking forward to my year of service to the Association. I am excited to continue learning about military families, and the issues that matter to them. I am excited to further develop my skills as an ally and resource. I am excited to see, firsthand, the efforts our Staff and Volunteers make to ensure military families receive the benefits and help they deserve. I am excited to be a part of the National Military Family Association.

What tips do you have for those wanting to learn more about military families and the military community?

nateBy Nate Parsons, Government Relations and Volunteer Services AmeriCorp Member

Staff Picks: 6 healthy recipes for National Nutrition Month

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Every day around noon at the National Military Family Association office, employees start poking their heads out of their offices and heading down to the lunch table. Eating lunch together is a fun break in the day to chat and laugh with coworkers, and inevitably, check out what they brought for lunch.

Besides the occasional group trip to Five Guys, we all like to eat pretty healthy and we LOVE to exchange recipes. Since March is National Nutrition Month, we asked some of our staff to share their favorite healthy recipes. Check them out below!

Cheesy Meat Loaf Minis from Eileen in Government Relations

Lobster Panzanella from Hannah in Communications

Mixed Berry Crumble from Caleb in Development and Membership

Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers from Cindy in Finance

Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette from Dustin in Youth Initiatives

Chocolate Decadence from Christina in Volunteer Services

What is your favorite healthy recipe? Share it with us in the comments!


Photo via Authentic Suburban Gourmet


A look at our work with Presidential administrations: military families and the men in office

Military families and the men in officeIt’s a strange notion, but new things make us think about the old. There’s nothing wrong with looking back! It gives you a stronger perspective for the events of the present, and helps shape where you’re headed in the future. While the inaugural celebrations are wrapping up we thought it would be fun to look back at what the Association has been up to during the eight Presidential administrations that have occurred since we started.

Read more of what the Association has accomplished during each of the eight Presidencies we’ve been around for: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Sr., Clinton, Bush, and Obama.

Politics aside, we have spent the past 43 years working to better the lives of military families. Although world and national issues continue to affect our community, we will continue to push forward and pursue innovative ways to provide support.

What would you like to see us accomplish in the next four years?

maranathaPosted by Maranatha Bivens, Communications Editor at the National Military Family Association

An inside look at Inauguration events around DC

Washington, DC is the Hollywood of the political world, no more so than during a Presidential Inauguration year. In addition to the main event on the National Mall attended by thousands of people from all over the country, there are many other glitzy, star-studded festivities held in the city throughout the weekend. A few of our staff members and friends attended some of the Inauguration celebrations, and below they share their brush-with-fame experiences.

National Military Family AssociationMelissa, Sophia, Lindsay, and Liliana at the Kids’ Inauguration Concert. Lindsay is the daughter of the Association’s Vice Chairman of the Board Cheryl Glang and all the girls are part of the NOAA Corps Family. The concert, for kids in military families, featured performers like Katy Perry, Usher, and the Glee Cast. They got to sit five rows from the stage and had a blast!

National Military Family Association“My husband, an active duty Army soldier, and I are stationed in the Washington, DC area. It was such an exciting time to be here especially over this weekend’s inaugural festivities. We attended the state of Florida’s Inaugural Ball (as we are both originally from Florida) on January 19th. We met a variety of guests including members of the Florida National Guard, additional active duty military members, and Members of Congress serving in Florida. On Monday, January 21st we attended the 57th Presidential Inauguration in the Nation’s capital. As the Commander-in-Chief was sworn in, he gave us hope for a more peaceful future. As a military spouse and advocate for military families, I hope that the Nation rallies around the support of our military service members and their families. Both of these were once in a lifetime opportunities that I will always remember.” - C.C. Gallagher, Government Relations Deputy Director

National Military Family Association“Living in our Nation’s capital on any given day is exciting, but it was extra special to be a resident of the greater Washington, DC area during a Presidential Inauguration. We had been looking forward to attending The Texas State Society’s Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball since moving here in 2011. Having been born and raised in Texas, I knew this was an event that I wouldn’t want to miss. We two-stepped our way through the night, enjoying as much of the live entertainment (over 20 bands) and Texas treats that we could. What made the night even more special was spending it with my husband and witnessing the incredible amount of support and thanks that he received from other attendees. We couldn’t walk 20 feet without someone stopping and thanking him for his service. Needless to say, it lived up to its Texas-sized reputation, and I can’t think of another occasion where it is totally appropriate to wear cowboy boots with a ball gown!” - Lauren Kuen, Communications Administrative Assistant

National Military Family Association“Imagine my delight a week ago when I found out that I would receive two tickets to the Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball.  Things like this usually don’t happen to me – I never win anything! I quickly had to find a ball gown and figure out what I was going to do with my hair. (Believe me, my co-workers provided me with an abundance of advice on these two matters!) After securing a dress and working out the transportation issues, it was time to sit back and enjoy the night.

My husband and I stood in a line full of service members outside the Washington Convention Center, waiting to go through security. It was a long and beautiful line of uniforms and ball gowns. As we patiently waited, a group of picketers approached with their signs, and started ranting through their microphones how ashamed we should feel about the war in Afghanistan. Local police officers quickly made a human barricade between this group of people, and our line. My first reaction was anger, but as I looked around at the line of service members, I saw every one of them staring directly ahead, not giving these picketers even the slightest bit of attention.  These service members obviously were not going to let something like this ruin their night, and neither was I!

The ballroom was beautifully staged. Everywhere I looked I saw spectacular ball gowns. The uniforms were quickly filling up the room, and soon the place was packed! Never in my life have I been in a room with so many uniforms. It was indeed an awesome feeling. I was so proud to stand next to my husband that night and enjoy the camaraderie amongst fellow military families as we awaited the arrival of our President.  Regardless of rank or branch of service, that night we were all one – one group of extremely proud American citizens lucky enough to participate in such a historical event.

When President Obama stepped on stage, the place erupted in applause. The President made many kind remarks about our service members and truly conveyed his feelings of gratitude for our service members. There were two live news feeds on the big screen – one to our troops in Japan, another to our troops in Afghanistan. President Obama spoke with them and made sure they knew that even though this was a night of celebration, our deployed troops are still in the foremost of our minds. The whole evening was lovely. I still cannot believe that I, a small-town girl from Kansas, attended a Presidential Inaugural Ball. It was truly a magical event.” - Cindy Jackson, Finance Specialist

It’s resolution time!

National Military Family Association New Year's ResolutionsIt’s a new year! Time for new beginnings and a fresh start. Many people make New Year’s resolutions and, even if they get broken, we are still a fan of setting goals and planning for the year ahead.

Did you make a resolution for 2013? Here are some of the National Military Family Association staff’s resolutions and goals for the year, in case you need ideas!

Stop eating out at restaurants – Michelle W, Americorps Member

Take more photos throughout the year – Bailey B, Online Engagement Manager

Have a more positive perspective – Maranatha B, Communications Editor

I want to eat healthier – Karen C, Volunteer Services Coordinator, National Capital Region

To be more patient – Anne M, Development and Membership Deputy Director

To carve out time in my schedule to focus on my physical well-being (hit the gym!) – C.C. G, Government Relations Deputy Director

Spending more quality time with my kids – Amanda A, Content Manager, MyMilitaryLife app

Eat less sugar – Caroline R, Development and Membership Manager

Volunteer more – Hannah P, Communications Deputy Director

So, what is your 2013 New Year’s resolution or goal?