Joining Forces Blog
- Posted byon October 3, 2012 at 10:24 AM EDT
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been one of the most significant issues our military has faced --- and we are not alone. Last week, the United States came together with representatives from Canada and the United Kingdom to address military mental health. Ensuring the mental health and wellness of our servicemembers, veterans and their families is a cause that unites all of us.
The event sends a strong message to our military, our veterans and all Americans, that we as a nation, and our partners around the world, are serious about addressing these concerns. This event brought together leaders from the government, non-profit, and private sectors, all committed to the same goal --- tending to the invisible wounds that many service members too often endure in silence.
Many of the best thinkers from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom came together, not simply to discuss “what’s wrong” but also to share best practices and to chart a course for addressing these shared issues.The symposium included academics, clinicians, researchers, policy makers, foundations, veteran service organizations, national leaders and, of course, servicemembers, veterans and family members.
- Posted byon September 20, 2012 at 5:54 PM EDT
Brad Snyder’s story is a remarkable one. Just one year ago, Lieutenant Snyder was blinded by an IED while serving in Afghanistan. This summer, he competed in the London Paralympics, bringing home two gold medals and a silver medal in swimming.
Moments after being honored at the White House alongside his fellow athletes, Brad shared his story with First Lady Michelle Obama. “Overcoming adversity is a decision that everyone makes,” Brad said, “And you can let that beat you or you can make the decision to move forward.”
Watch Paralympian Lt. Snyder Meet The First Lady, here.
- Posted byon August 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM EDT
As part of Joining Forces, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is launching a new Public Service Announcement today featuring Dr. Jill Biden that describes the many ways the USTA is using tennis to inspire and help connect service members and military families.
The USTA has made an unprecedented effort through its Military Outreach Program to reach more than 100,000 service members and military families to introduce them to the benefits of tennis. The USTA uses programs to reach service members and military families in communities and on bases, and to help wounded warriors through tennis therapy clinics when they come home.
“Tennis can connect our service men and women with each other, their families, and their communities,” Dr. Biden said. “Joining Forces is proud to have partners like the USTA, whose support honors the courage and sacrifice of our military families.”
As part of the USTA’s Military Outreach Program, the US Open will host a Military Appreciation Day on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 to honor and acknowledge the sacrifice of 14 Wounded Warriors.
Melanie Kaye is the Communications Director to Dr. Jill Biden
- Posted byon August 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM EDT
Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Florida to announce that 2,000 private sector businesses had hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year through Joining Forces.
Check out behind the scenes footage from the announcement event in this new video, and hear veterans discuss what this initiative has meant to them as they transition back to civilian life and look for work that allows them to use the skills and experience they gained in the military to continue serving our country.
Watch the video on the Announcement of 125,000 Hires Through Joining Forces, here.
- Posted byon August 22, 2012 at 4:55 PM EDT
Earlier today, I joined with First Lady Michelle Obama at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Florida as she announced that 2,000 companies had hired or trained an amazing 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year through Joining Forces.
This effort, combined with policies and legislation put in place by the President have resulted in a 20 percent decrease in veteran unemployment compared to this time last year.
It was an extraordinary event, set among several Navy Seahawk helicopters, that kicked off with a new Joining Forces video telling the story of how we got to today's announcement. Hundreds of Sailors from on Navy's premier warships and helicopter squadrons were in attendance along with their families.
The Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Scott Van Buskirk, was there and delivered inspiring remarks.
Leaders of businesses who have been hiring literally thousands of veterans were there -- and they brought with them veterans and spouses who they hired in the past year.
As several of the veterans told me, Joining Forces has made a significant impact on their lives.
- Posted byon August 6, 2012 at 12:28 PM EDT
The Army operates child development programs in over fifty percent of the states and several foreign countries, literally around the globe. Ensuring children receive healthy meals and snacks has always been a challenge. Although eligible programs participate in the USDA food program, there is a wide variety of food choices that qualify for reimbursement, some of which are not as healthy as others. Encouraged by Ms. Obama’s initiative to reduce childhood obesity, a series of nutritionally balanced menus were developed by Mary Ellen Pratt, Chief of Army Child Development programs.
The idea started after visiting several installation Army child development programs and seeing first-hand the types of food children were being served – both in quantity and quality. Ms. Pratt said, “I remember saying to someone after looking at a full food cart of fish sticks, saltine crackers, fried potatoes, corn and milk and saying, “Oh good, I haven’t missed watching the meal service” and her reply, “Oh, yes, you did – those are the leftovers.” The food was not just unhealthy, much of it was undesirable from the child’s perspective. Ms. Pratt goes on to say, “I also began listening to the ideas of the “Let’s Move” campaign and realizing I had the ability to really affect a huge number of children if I just did something to fix the problem.”
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