MAY, JUNE AND JULY ARE THE MOST PATRIOTIC MONTHS OF THE YEAR!
The photos below are full of ideas to help you and your children host a fun and patriotic event for:
Memorial Day Flag Day Independence Day Homecomings
This is a great project for the older children. Using blue scrapbooking paper cut the rounds with scalloped edges. Print out the center rounds, cut and glue onto the blue rounds. Glue these to toothpicks and you have some fun, exciting cupcake picks or danish picks. The little foil picks can be purchased from local Dollar Tree stores or you can make them using scrapbooking paper and curl them with a pencil, glue to toothpicks and you're done.
Kids can help with this project. Varied sizes of glass vases purchased at thrift stores make great centerpieces with gumballs (orientaltrading.com has a great variety) and flags are available at Dollar Tree Stores for just $1 each or at WalMarts, Hobby Lobby, etc. Layer the gumballs and insert the flaqs!
Super easy and Super cute! Bandanas are available at WalMarts and Dollar Tree Stores for just $1 each. Tie them with pieces of 6" length star ribbon and you have an adorable and patriotic napkin ring.
Using bandanas for the the garland, and also for the "placemats" a sand bucket filled with garden flowers, and metal buckets or even sand pails with patriotic stickers makes for a fun patriotic table set up.
Sesame Street Connects
Through a partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Military OneSource, the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, wants to help parents and children communicate with a program called "Talk, Listen, Connect," a bilingual educational outreach initiative designed for military families and their young children to share. The resources that are available for parents consist of a bilingual (English/Spanish) multimedia kit with DVDs starring Muppets from Sesame Street, print materials and American Greeting postcards featuring Sesame Street characters for parents and their children to stay connected. The kit materials are available free online at: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17888825&m=1843980&u=AUSA&j=9301498&s=http://archive.sesameworkshop.org/tlc/, or on the Military Families Near and Far website located at: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17888826&m=1843980&u=AUSA&j=9301498&s=http://www.familiesnearandfar.org/login/.
Mrs. Dempsey: Military Families Take Care of Each Other
Caring about military families comes naturally to the wife of the nation?s top military officer. She?s been an Army spouse for nearly 36 years, and their three children have served in the Army. Since October 1, when Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey became the 18th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deanie Dempsey?s full time job has been to communicate in every way she can with military families about topics that affect them. Dempsey calls being a military spouse, especially as the wife of the nation?s top military officer, a full-time job. As Dempsey supports the general in his hectic schedule of work and travel and communicates with military families to share her strength and experience, she continues an ancient tradition among military families to look out for each other. To learn more, please go to: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17289629&m=1737443&u=AUSA&j=8724393&s=http://1.usa.gov/Av11Ay
Dr. Biden Writes Children's Book on Deployment
Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, has written a children?s book to raise awareness among Americans, particularly children, of military families? challenges during deployment. The illustrated children?s book titled ?Don?t Forget, Nana, God Bless Our Troops? will be released in June. Biden tells the story from the perspective of their granddaughter, Natalie. She traces Natalie?s journey from coping with her father?s absence to finding support from community members, including teachers and neighbors. Biden recalled an evening spent at her granddaughter?s house. She read Natalie a few bedtime stories, and then they said their prayers. ?God bless Mommy and Daddy,? they said together. ?And then, I was turning out the light and Natalie said, ?Don?t forget, Nana, God bless our troops.? To read this article in its entirety, please go to: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=17289633&m=1737443&u=AUSA&j=8724393&s=http://1.usa.gov/ymsoQs
TriWest Families 'Go Green'
Many beneficiaries with TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the Department of Defense contractor that manages the 21-state TRICARE West Region healthcare program, have chosen in droves to receive their healthcare statements in paperless form, surging past the 1 million mark in August. TriWest's "Go Green" program offers paperless options for referrals and authorizations, and fee statements. For more information, visit the TriWest Go Green webpage.
New eMarine Website
III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Bases Japan are among the first to launch unit pages on eMarine at http://www.emarine.org/, a subscription-based website to provide Marines, family members and commands a safer way to share information. The Marine Corps hopes to have all family readiness officers (FROs) trained to use the site by the end of September, As soon as the site is built by the FRO, the commander can begin to invite Marines and their family members to subscribe on the eMarine website at http://www.emarine.org/. For more information, contact your base family readiness officer and visit the eMarine website at http://www.emarine.org/.
Defense Finance and Accounting Service Revamps Website
Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) officials introduced a redesigned website on 21 April to give the Defense Department?s (DoD) workforce easier, quicker access to the information they need. The redesigned site at http://www.dfas.mil has a clean, streamlined look with an improved, more intuitive navigation system to help DFAS?s more than 6 million customers, including military personnel, civilian employees, contractors, vendors, retirees and annuitants, access popular features more quickly. The new site features links across the top of the home page for each category of people DFAS serves. A ?how to? section composed of links down the left side of the page provides easy access for military customers to find travel pay information, pay tables, information on correcting military records and other services as well. To read this article in full, please go to: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=63653
The Initiative for Military Families
The Initiative for Military Families is a pace-setting, new program that provides college-level math and science courses for students of military families. The National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) launched the first phase of the Initiative for Military Families (IMF) this school year. Working in partnership with the Military Child Education Coalition and the Military Impacted Schools Association, NMSI?s goal is to provide a vigorous advanced placement program in math, science and English for high schools serving military bases in the U.S. Thanks to generous support from Lockheed Martin Corporation, the program was launched in the fall of 2010 in two high schools near Fort Hood in Texas and two high schools near Fort Campbell in Kentucky. By this spring, the number of schools had multiplied seven times and the NMSI program was recognized and saluted during two White House events.
Soldiers Should Update EFMP Records
Soldiers should ensure information for family members enrolled in the Army's Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) remains current by updating their records at least every three years or when health conditions change. When Soldiers who have family members enrolled in EFMP and are nominated for assignments, HRC career managers coordinate with gaining commands and use the information to determine whether medical services are available for the EFMP member. For more information, visit the Exceptional Family Member Program website at: https://www.myarmyonesource.com/familyprogramsandservices/familyprograms/exceptionalfamilymemberprogram/default.aspx
DoD Settles on Cost Index for TRICARE Fee Hikes
According to a briefing on Friday 29 April, the Defense Deaprtment (DoD) plans on connecting future TRICARE fee increases to a medical care cost index, which has typically increased by an average of 6.4 percent a year over the past 25 years, but rose just 3.1 percent last year. The Pentagon developed a plan which is still pending, where the National Health Expenditure (NHE) Index, produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, would be used beginning in 2013 to determine annual enrollment fee increases in TRICARE Prime for working-age military retirees and their families. The idea of linking TRICARE fees to annual increases in average health care costs is not new because Pentagon officials had announced in January that they planned to do this, but until now, had not indicated what medical cost index they would use. To read this article in its entirety, please go to: http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/04/military-tricare-fee-increases-042911w/. For an overview and related data to the NHE, please click: http://www.cms.gov/NationalHealthExpendData/01_Overview.asp
TRICARE Covers Allergy Tests
TRICARE beneficiaries are eligible to receive care for the testing and treatment of conditions relating to allergies. TRICARE covers prescription medication approved by the FDA and allergy treatments administered by allergists, but it does not cover most over-the-counter medications. To see if a medication is covered by TRICARE, use the online formulary search tool at: http://www.pec.ha.osd.mil/ . For more information about allergies, visit the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/Pages/default.aspx or for more information on the allergy services TRICARE offers or how to arrange care, visit the TRICARE website at: http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/allergy
Support for Special-Needs Families During a Move
For more, visit the blog post of Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy)
As we all know, moving is integral part of military life. Sometimes when it seems that we?re finally settling in to our new home and community, it?s time to break out the boxes again, say goodbye to friends, and start anew. While frequent moves are just one of the aspects of military life that have helped us learn how to be resilient, moving can still be a frantic and emotion-filled time, and especially so for a military family with special needs.
There are numerous resources that can help our special needs families and the first and most important step to getting help is enrolling in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP).
Joining Forces is a national initiative that mobilizes all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned. Learn more about MC&FP's support for Joining Forces.
MC&FP Weekly Tips
From tips on maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the whole family, to increasing financial fitness through smart fiscal decisions, the Military OneSource and MC&FP Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth tips of the week can help service and family members achieve their goals.
About MC&FP Programs
The mission of the Office of Strategic Outreach is to ensure that critical and timely information reaches service providers, military leaders, service members and their families. The OC developed and maintains the MilitaryHOMEFRONT, the official Military Community and Family Policy website for program and policy information. The MilitaryHOMEFRONT provides quick access to programs, benefits and policies for service members and their families, leaders, and service providers. Additionally, the OC maintains two popular applications - Plan My Move and MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, and a social networking application called HOMEFRONTConnections. In addition, Regional Joint Services Family Assistance Workshops are conducted for Installation service providers assisting active duty service members and their families and family and community service providers for the National Guard and Reserve. The goals of the workshop are to increase outreach to families, introduce new on-line tools available through MilitaryHOMEFRONT and Military OneSource and share exciting information about new DoD programs and services designed to better meet the needs of families. The OC provides policy support, conducts oversight and generates special initiatives for the Exceptional Family Member Program and the Relocation Assistance Program.
Finally, the OC publishes the MC&FP eMagazine and responds to questions and comments submitted by its readers.
Defense Commissary Agency
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), with headquarters at Fort Lee, Virginia, operates a world-wide system of commissary stores as an integral element of the military pay and benefits package for members of the uniformed services on active duty, members of the Reserve Components, retired members, and others authorized by law or regulation. An income benefit is provided to service members and their families through savings on purchases of food and household products and services, at cost, plus a 5 percent surcharge. The member-paid surcharge annually provides almost $300 million, which is used to replace, renovate, repair, and maintain existing stores, and purchase equipment. DeCA operates 252 commissary stores on military installations worldwide and annually conducts more than 150 on-site sales events at Guard and Reserve locations around the nation - taking a limited commissary benefit to those not located near a brick and mortar commissary. Military families save an average of more than 30 percent on their purchases compared to commercial prices - savings that are worth nearly $4,400 annually for a family of four that consistently shops their commissary. A core military family support element, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Department of Defense Education Activity
The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for Department of Defense (DoD) dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) located in the United States and its territories and possessions. DoDEA operates 192 schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. All schools within DoDEA are fully accredited by U.S. accreditation agencies. Approximately 8,700 educators serve more than 84,000 DoDEA students. Visit the DoDEA and Military K-12 Partners websites for more information.
The Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is the DoD social services program at every installation with command-sponsored families to address child abuse and domestic abuse in the military community. FAP promotes public awareness and prevention, early identification, reporting, comprehensive and coordinated safety planning and support to victims, and treatment for all family members when appropriate, in collaboration with civilian agencies. The OSD FAP office provides policy and budget support, conducts oversight, and generates special initiatives for Service FAPs. It provides annual aggregate FAP data about family violence in the military community, conducts annual summits of Service reviews of family violence-related fatalities, and, as needed, leads a joint-Service team to assist installations with multiple victim child sexual abuse cases in out-of-home care.
Family Policy and Children and Youth
Our mission is to build the capacity of military service members and their families to successfully master personal and family life responsibilities while meeting the demands of military service. We accomplish our mission by working with the Military Services to develop and maintain a robust network of family support and establishing and monitoring the execution of policies governing family support programs and services. Our efforts encompass oversight for child development programs operating at more than 300 locations worldwide and serving 400,000 children birth through age 18 daily; services and support for geographically dispersed service members and families in all states and territories; youth financial readiness services and tools that promote financial literacy and well-being; education programs that build skills for individual and family life development; and partnerships with federal and non-federal entities to augment support for service members and their families.
To weather the demands of military life, service members and their families need ready access to a wide variety of resources and support. In an increasingly technological and mobile world, MilitaryOneSource.com offers support 24/7, telephonically as well as online. (Call Military OneSource at 1-800-342-9647, or visit http://www.militaryonesource.com/).
Services provided by the Military OneSource Call Center and website include:
- Military Family Life Consultants
- Outreach Counseling
- TroopTube Social Network
- YMCA Memberships
- Regional Workshops
- Joint Family Support Assistance Program
- Blog with Families
Military Promotes Gulf Seafood in its Commissaries
Launching a new initiative to buy more domestic produce, The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) has purchased upward of 30,000 pounds of Gulf seafood in the past few months, by far the majority from the Emeril label. So far, 72 of the military?s 249 commissaries, which are grocery stores that sell only to military personnel and their families, have begun selling the seafood. The policy helps the Gulf seafood market which was damaged by the oil spill and is also a step toward increasing and promoting domestic catch nationally. In doing so, the military apparently has cast aside concerns about the safety of seafood caught in waters tainted by the BP disaster in April. Military officials acknowledged that some commissary customers have been nervous about the new Gulf seafood offerings because of the oil spill, but it appears customers are becoming accustomed to the Gulf fare. To learn more, please go to: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=12495802&m=1249906&u=AUSA&s=http://www.ausa.org/resources/familyprograms/resources/InternetResources/Pages/MilitarySpouseEducationEmployment.aspx
Family Global Assessment Tool (GAT) Log 0n Alternate Procedure
The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program represents the Army?s investment in the readiness of the force and the quality of life for our Soldiers, Family members, and Army Civilians, to provide the critical skills they need to take care of themselves, their families, and their teammates. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) has developed an easier method for family members to log on to the Soldier Fitness Tracker to use the Family Global Assessment Tool (GAT). Family Members must be registered in DEERS and can use their social security number to establish an account. Taking the Family GAT can be done from any computer with an internet connection. To use the Family GAT, please go to: http://www.mmsend57.com/link.cfm?r=180191835&sid=12428551&m=1244520&u=AUSA&s=https://www.sft.army.mil/SFTFamily