Recently, I shared some of the awesome things NMFA does for the military community, and last week, we had a great opportunity to work with the military families, and other organizations who have a huge impact within their own towns all across the country.
NMFA hosted our second Military Transition Roundtable, where we dove into discussions about how we help communities around the country prepare, support, and welcome separating service members and their families.
Some of the questions tackled were:
- How do we prepare our communities to handle the transitioning service members and their families?
- Can military support organizations open the door to the civilian community more, if so, how?
- How do we help these organizations move beyond offering only deployment support?
Being a civilian, this conversation really spoke to me, and the work I do with military families. Before I became involved with NMFA, I would always say I was a supporter of the military, but I’m not sure I really knew what that meant. I wasn’t sure how to go beyond the word support…especially when it meant helping families transitioning out of military service. Did they still need our help?
The answer is yes. Transitioning families do still need support, and here are a few ideas the experts around the table shared to do just that:
- Let’s get our communities to adopt a mindset which supports hiring veterans and their spouses. It needs to be cultural within community businesses and organizations.
- If community organizations should make a habit of asking newcomers if they’re members of the military.
- There are significantly more information gaps and confusion when it comes to transitioning out of the military, and families in the throes of it are navigating as best they can. Just because families are finding their new normal outside of the military, doesn’t mean we need to stop supporting–we just need to change how we’re doing it.
- Let’s encourage civilians to be the connecter in their communities.
- Community organizations can make relationships with transitioning families happen by reaching out and talking to military family readiness leaders to find out how to help.
- We must continue to make it known that veterans have families, too. In some instances, we are dealing with communities who aren’t thinking about the families behind the veteran, so, how do we shift the conversation?
If you are interested in seeing more, check out a full recap of our tweets from our Roundtable discussion.
What are some ways communities, and civilians, can help make transitioning military families feel more at home? Leave your suggestions in the comments!