Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon February 4, 2013 at 3:57 PM EST
I am always impressed by the work that our incredible military support organizations do to make the lives of our force and families better. Like many other great organizations, the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is taking action to improve the lives of military families because they understand the difficulties and hardships that our families willingly face in the shared service to our nation. MOAA knows that one key source of psychological and material wellbeing for any family is gainful, purposeful employment. This is particularly true of our military spouses.
This week more than 200 military spouses in the Pacific Northwest are preparing for the Military Officers Association of America’s (MOAA) 7th annual Military Spouse Symposium, “Keeping a Career on the Move” on February 8, 2013 at the University of Washington Tacoma, Phillip Hall. The event is free and open to all military spouses - all ranks, active duty, retired, Reserve and National Guard. Service members and veterans are also welcome. And there’s still time to register.
- Posted byon January 31, 2013 at 12:13 PM EST
Battle buddies aren’t just for the Army. For the past quarter century, The Posse Foundation has been identifying talented students from large urban public school systems and sending them in teams (Posses) to some of the top colleges and universities in the nation. Since 1989, close to 5,000 students have received $500,000,000 in scholarships from Posse’s 44 partner colleges and universities. These young people are graduating at a rate of 90 percent.
In an effort to increase the college-going and graduation rates of veterans at highly selective colleges and universities across the country, The Posse Foundation, in partnership with Vassar College joined forces to announce its Veterans Posse Program, a new college success initiative. Posse plans to expand this initiative to other colleges and other cities over the next several years.
By adapting the Posse model to serve U.S. Veterans, Posse believes that it can exponentially increase the college-going rates and success of veterans on elite college campuses. Vassar College has committed to adopting the program on its campus and will supplement GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for each admitted veteran. Posse, using its unique recruitment method, will each year identify, recruit and train the veterans. The Veterans Posse will attend college together and receive support from both Posse and Vassar through to graduation.
This year’s recipients have demonstrated exceptional leadership and remind us of the immense value that veterans can bring to selective institutions of higher education and to the workforce.
- Posted byon January 29, 2013 at 11:01 AM EST
The White House Fellows recently had the great pleasure and honor of participating in the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Winterhaven Homeless Stand Down in Washington, DC. The Stand Down is an annual event in which over 60 federal, state, and community agencies provide a range of services to needy and homeless veterans. These include cholesterol checks, eye exams, employment counseling, clothing distribution, benefits claims assistance, PTSD and trauma screening, personal care items and meals. The Stand Down is part of the VA's goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
White House Fellows served in the kitchen and dining area, which for most veterans was the last stop of the day. Some Fellows greeted veterans upon their entry into the dining area and reviewed with each veteran his or her schedule, to ensure that each veteran had the opportunity to access all of the available resources. We served meals, including salads, vegetables, barbecue, desserts and beverages. Fellows also helped disabled veterans to their seats and carried veterans' meals and bags of supplies and clothing. Finally, we helped clean tables, so that no veteran would have to wait to be seated. With the other volunteers, we served over 500 veterans during the day.
- Posted byon January 20, 2013 at 8:11 AM EST
The First and Second Ladies of the United States got an early start on the 2013 Inauguration celebrations at a concert honoring our military families.
The Kids Inaugural: Our Children, Our Future was hosted by Nick Cannon and featured artists including Katy Perry, Usher, the cast of "Glee," Far East Movement and Mindless Behavior. JR Martinez, the Army hero who won "Dancing with the Stars," also joined Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden for the event, which was held at the Washington Convention Center.
Dr. Biden said the concert was a chance to show military kids how much the country appreciates the sacrifices they make while their parents are serving.
The First Lady told the crowd that while she loves "every single minute" of the inaugural celebrations, the Kids Concert was the true highlight:
I have to tell you that my very favorite part of this entire weekend is being right here with all of you. Absolutely. Because for me, this is what inauguration is all about. It’s about celebrating who we are as Americans and all the things that make this country so great. And when I think about who we are, when I think about what makes America great, I think about all of you --our men and women in uniform, our military spouses, and our amazing military kids.
- Posted byon January 19, 2013 at 11:15 AM EST
Yesterday, the First Lady and Dr. Biden sat down with four exceptional young reporters from kids’ magazines to talk about their initiative to support military families, Joining Forces. The reporters – from Highlights, National Geographic Kids, Scholastic and TIME for Kids – asked some great questions about the initiative and how kids can help!
Some of the takeaways?
- Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden talked about how they encourage all Americans to look for ways to honor and support military families, and Dr. Biden said when her son Beau was deployed their church put his name in the bulletin to pray for him, people brought meals over, and someone shoveled her daughter-in-law’s driveway during a snowstorm.
- Asked about advice for a military child who moves a lot, Dr. Biden encouraged them to get involved in sports teams and school activities. And as a teacher herself, she talked about how teachers can get involved to reach out to military kids. For example, Dr. Biden’s granddaughters’ teacher put a picture of her dad’s unit outside of her classroom so the entire class would know Beau was deployed.
- Mrs. Obama encouraged all the kids’ magazines’ readers to think “what can I do?” for a new kid in school – especially a new military kid.
- Posted byon January 8, 2013 at 2:13 PM EST
Editor's note: This post was originally published on va.gov.
Today is the day. After a lot of planning and hard work, VA is launching the first phase of the new look and feel of our homepage VA.gov. The Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, and National Cemetery Administration homepages have also been revamped.
Over the past few years, we’ve been listening to your input—the Veterans, family members, and loved ones. We heard you: our website was clunky, outdated, and difficult to navigate. Now, we’re implementing the changes you want to see. You’ll notice a new look and feel on our main pages, updated navigation, improved search capabilities, and more up-to-date VA content and information.
Now, we need some more help from you. Throughout the next year, we’ll be rolling out additional changes to VA’s numerous pages and we want your input. Tell us what you like and don’t like about the new websites. Each piece of feedback is useful and we want to make sure that by the end of 2013 we have the best website in the Federal government, according to our users.
Please click around and let us know what you think!
Lauren Bailey is the Deputy Director of Online Communications at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
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