Blue Star Families: Providing a Shining Example of Support for Military Families
Our nation has the best military force in the world due to the unwavering commitment and dedication of our service men and women. But standing right behind these selfless men and women is a strong support system made up of spouses, children, parents, and family members who also willingly sacrifice. Blue Star Families, founded in 2009 by a group of military spouses, is an established, chapter-based organization. To date, there are over 70 chapters on military bases and National Guard sites across the country, offering valuable wellness, morale, education, and employment programming for military families.
Blue Star Families has been successful in creating valuable programs for military families because they maintain awareness on the challenges families face. Each year, Blue Star Families conducts a Military Family Lifestyle Survey to take a proactive look at the current needs and priorities of military families and service members. This survey is a unique tool that not only assists their organization but also provides key decision makers with concrete data on the challenges military families face.
For example, Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Surveys have consistently revealed that military spouse employment is a key component of military family stability. In this year’s survey, of the 61% of military spouses that are unemployed, 52% want to be employed. So Blue Star Families seeks to empower military spouses in the difficult task of finding employment by providing a broad range of initiatives designed to support military families throughout various points on their career paths. This could be anything from building a resume to finding a job, and keeping that job despite unique challenges. To assist in military spouses navigate the job market, Blue Star Families launched three ground-breaking peer-to-peer networks: Blue Star Entrepreneurs, Blue Star Health Care Professionals, and Blue Star Educators. These groups encourage military family members to work together and share their experiences to help each overcome many of the challenges often faced.
Blue Star Families chapter directors also organize events to support military families across the country through programs such as Books on Bases and Operation Appreciation. In the first ever Books on Base event in September 2009, over 4,000 books were distributed to military base libraries and every DOD school in North Carolina, plus 20 military impacted schools in the local area. Since 2009, Blue Star Families in partnership with many generous corporations has distributed over 120,000 books and impacted over 140,000 military children worldwide.
Additionally, Blue Star Families and its chapters work diligently to continue to build partnerships in order to create programs that connect the civilian community to local military kids and spouses. Blue Star Museums is the result of a partnership between Blue Star Families and National Endowment for the Arts, Joining Forces, MetLife Foundation, and nearly 2,000 museums. This program allows all active duty military, National Guard, and Reserve military personnel and their families to gain free admission to participating museums from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This highly successful program led to the Blue Star Theatre program, where more than 90 theaters nationwide have joined Blue Star Families to offer discounted or complimentary admission to military personnel, their families, and veterans.
Through powerful programming for military families and children, Blue Star Families has made a significant impact in the lives of our military families and continues to be a shining example to all.