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Military Families

Resources for Military Families






Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV is committed to helping all children. 35,000+ Pennsylvania children have one parent currently serving in the military. With so many families in our region experiencing multiple deployments, we hope to serve as a resource for teachers, students, parents and communities dealing with the unique stress of war. If you have information to share here, please email us at the IU or call 724-458-6700 x1249.

Save the Date

The Military Child Education Coalition is coming back to MIU IV! Living the New Normal: Helping Children Thrive through Good and Challenging Times will be held on January 21, 2013 from 8-4 at the IU in Grove City. Parents, educators, social workers and others are invited to attend free of charge.
Download MCEC's Save the Date flyer.

MIU IV Thanks Our Military Families

We owe each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support. During Military Family Month, we celebrate the exceptional contributions of our military families, and we reaffirm our commitments to these selfless individuals who exemplify the highest principles of our Nation.

Across America, military families inspire us all with their courage, strength, and deep devotion to our country. They endure the challenges of multiple deployments and moves; spend holidays and life milestones apart; juggle everyday tasks while a spouse, parent, son, or daughter is in harm's way; and honor the service of their loved ones and the memory of those lost."
       —President Barack Obama, October 29, 2010

Joining Forces
Send thank-you messages to military service members, discover ways to help them and their families, and learn how businesses, government agencies, and associations are helping them with jobs, education, and health-related issues.
> Go to website

How to Prepare Children and Stay Involved in their Education during Deployment
A great resource for teachers and parents published by the Military Child Education Coalition.

> Download article

State & National Resources

“Working with all of you is some of the best work I do. Your stories affect me not just as First Lady, but as a mother, as a wife, and as an American.”
             —First Lady Michelle Obama, Jan. 24, 2011

Department of Defense
Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment

Multiple deployments, combat injuries, and the challenges of reintegration can have far-reaching effects on not only the troops and their families, but also upon America’s communities. These challenges should be at the forefront of the national discourse.

Keep in touch with the new initiative launced by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to rally America in support of our troops and military families.
> Go to DOD website
> Go to Obama/Biden media release


PA National Guard State Family Program (PANG)
Robin Edwards
State Youth Coordinator
email: robin.e.edwards@us.army.mil
Go to website.

>Download list of programs and resources
>Download map of Family Assistance Centers

The PA National Guard Child and Youth program provides support and assistance through community resources, counseling services, summer youth camps and various veteran service organizations for children of military families throughout the entire deployment cycle. It also informs Commanders in order to build and maintain family resiliency. The Family Assistance Center for Butler, Lawrence & Mercer Counties is located in Oil City. Contact Linda Adams for more information at 814-676-5840.

National Guard Supports Families 24/7 through their website or your Family Program Office. With the ever changing face and duties of the National Guard, it is imperative to look to the future of Family Programs while remaining flexible in the present. "Our goal is to support you along your journey, as a family member of the National Guard in any and every way. Without you, the family member, standing by your National Guard member, a successful National Guard does not exist. Your success and self-reliance are our motivators; we strive to support and educate in every way possible."

Vacations for Vets

This nonprofit agency pairs Purple Heart Medal recipients for the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns with donated vacations homes and frequent flier miles. Vacations for Vets offers recently wounded vets a one week free vacation home. www.vacationsforveterans.org.

YMCA Military Outreach Initiative
Memberships and Respite Care for Eligible Military Families
The Department of Defense has partnered with the Armed Services YMCA to fund memberships at participating YMCAs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico
. Link to Military Onesource for more information and the YMCA Military Outreach Initiative for a list of participating YMCA's and more. As of October 16, 2008, the following YMCA's in our region are listed as participants in this outreach: Butler, Grove City, New Castle, Shenango Valley, Camp Kon-O-Kwee Branch, Rose E. Schneider Family (Cranberry Township). There are more outside our tri-county area not listed here.

+ Respite Child Care
Deployed Guard and Reserve personnel and independent duty personnel with children up to age 12ll of will be authorized free respite child care up to 32 hours per month, per child in YMCA facilities in state approved by DoD. Title 10 only.

+ Fitness Facility Memberships
The DoD will buy down memberships at local fitness facilities (e.g. Gold’s Gym/Bally’s/24 Hour Fitness, etc) for single active duty personnel at independent duty stations.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: With Help Comes Hope
Veterans Crisis Line
Confidential help for veterans and their families. The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline and online chat. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat online to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Local Contact:
Peter Albert (peter.albert@va.gov)
VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator
Butler, PA
also available for outreach presentations

National Military Family Association
Operation Purple Family Retreats
Operation Purple Family Retreats are free, four day retreats created to help families reconnect after deployment. This unique experience is designed to bring families together for four days in a national park setting. With an emphasis on environmental education, military families will participate in fun, family-focused activities that will allow them to strengthen and renew relationships while exploring their natural surroundings. Operation Purple Family Retreat participants will be paired with highly specialized field science educators who will guide families through various activities such as nature hikes, canoeing, campfires, beach exploration, arts and crafts, and challenge activities. Families will have opportunities to communicate, work as a team, and to reconnect while exploring and learning about the environment. In addition, FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress), a resiliency-building program designed for military families and children facing the challenges of multiple deployments by a team from UCLA and Harvard Medical School, will provide structured activities which highlight areas of strength and resilience in the family and promote family growth. Families will work together to strengthen their relationship through problem solving, goal setting, and communication activities. Click here for more information.

American Legion Auxiliary
Serving Veterans, their Families & Communities

The Auxiliary's Children & Youth program provides care and strives to improve conditions for all children. The program works to preserve the integrity of the family unit and takes a realistic approach to the needs of children by considering the physical and spiritual, as well as the emotional and educational aspects, of each situation. The Children & Youth program cooperates with many other public and private community agencies and organizations and supports essential legislation for children at the national, state, and local levels. In some cases, the program offers direct financial assistance and services to individual children or to the families of veterans. Auxiliary members also contribute to The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, which was established in 1954 to fund special programs and projects, which emphasize preventative solutions to difficult children's issues. Educating members and the general public about these issues is a primary goal of the Auxiliary's Children & Youth program.

American Legion
National President's Scholarship: Educating Children of Warriors

The National President's scholarships are awarded to children of veterans who served in the Armed Forces during the eligibility dates for The American Legion. One $2,500 scholarship, one $2,000 scholarship, and one $1,500 in scholarship money will be awarded in each division. Fifteen outstanding students will be awarded a total of $30,000 to further their higher education. The applicant must complete 50 hours of community service during his/her high school years to be eligible for one of these scholarships.

Cell Phone for Soldiers
“Americans will replace an estimated 130 million cell phones this year,” says Mike Newman, vice president of ReCellular, “with the majority of phones either discarded or stuffed in a drawer. Most people don’t realize that the small sacrifice of donating their unwanted phones can have a tremendous benefit for a worthy cause like Cell Phones for Soldiers.” Cell Phones for Soldiers hopes to turn old cell phones into more than 12 million minutes of prepaid calling cards for U.S. troops stationed overseas.

Fisher House Foundation
Because members of the military and their families are stationed worldwide and must often travel great distances for specialized medical care, Fisher House Foundation donates "comfort homes," built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times - during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury. http://www.fisherhouse.org/about/index.html

Homes for Our Troops
Homes for Our Troops is a national non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2004. Strongly committed to helping those who have selflessly given to our country and have returned home with serious disabilities and injuries since September 11, 2001. It is our duty and our honor to assist severely injured Servicemen and Servicewomen and their immediate families by raising donations of money, building materials and professional labor and to coordinate the process of building a home that provides maximum freedom of movement and the ability to live more independently at No Cost to the Veterans we serve.

Housing and Mortgage Loans for Vets and Active Military
The VA Loan program has allowed more than 18 million veterans to become homeowners since it was created in 1944. It was designed to provide home financing for eligible active duty and veteran personnel and their spouses. This website will help veterans and active military to understand the benefits of, types of, and eligibility requirements for VA Loans.

Soldiers’ Angels
Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-led 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and their families. Founded by the mother of two American soldiers, its hundreds of thousands of Angel volunteers assist veterans, wounded and deployed personnel and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways.

Caring for the families of the fallen...TAPS is the 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for ANYONE who has suffered the loss of a military loved one, regardless of the relationship to the deceased or the circumstance of the death. Founded out of tragedy in 1994, TAPS has established itself as the front line resource to the families and loved ones of our military men and women. TAPS provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs including peer based emotional support, case work assistance, crisis intervention, and grief and trauma resources.

Robin E. Edwards, PANG State Youth Coordinator with Susan J. Smith, Coordinator, Operation: Miliatry Kids Project, PA at the 'Living in the New Normal' Institute sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition and hosted by Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV in 2010.
+ Opportunities & Resources for Military Children

+ Opportunities & Resources for Military Families

+ Opportunities & Resources for Educators Working with Military Children and Families
Duquesne University
Counseling resources for military service members and their families.

Great Support for Families:
Operation: Military Kids
Susan J. Smith
PA Project Coordinator
004 Ferguson Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: sjs52@psu.edu
+ Military Child Education Coaltion
+ Military OneSource
+ National Military Family Association

Local Area Resources:
VA Butler Healthcare
325 New Castle Road
Butler, PA 16001

Yellow Ribbon Families
Yellow Ribbon Families is a local nonprofit organization providing programs and services to the troops and their families. YRF holds monthly meetings to assist family and friends with loved ones in the military. for more information, contact YRF President, Valerie Grandy at 724-977-2646.

Links to Other Resources & Information

from the Army Times:
Help for children of military families takes many forms (article)

from the National Guard:

The National Guard's Family Program website--a “one-stop shop” to find information on programs, benefits, resources in the areas of financial, household, and emotional support as well as health benefits.

You can also located your local SFPD, WFPC, State Youth Coordinator, Family Readiness Assistant, Family Assistance Coordinator, and Family Assistance Specialist by using their "Resource Finder."

Also on this site,
you can learn about Family Readiness-a six-step Family Program model that keeps you informed and involved about your benefits as a serving family.

from the American Academy of Pediatrics
Support for Military Children and Adolescents
The AAP Military Youth Deployment website supports military youth, families, and the professionals involved with military children and families.

View videos on the AAP website:

Pleural Mesothelioma
Website provides veterans with up-to-date information about Pleural Mesothelioma and Mesothelioma Prognosos on the web. Also supplies vets with free informational books, packets and a Patient Advocacy program that works 1-on-1 with individuals to help them find local doctors, treatment centers and support groups.

Let's Say Thanks in Support of our Troops
Xerox has sent millions of messages to our troops around the world. Link to the website and show your support for our troops!

CLICK HERE to learn about the different branches of the military! Thank you to the teens from the Summer Learning Camp at the Jefferson District Library for sending us this link!



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