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Building capacity for military families

  1. 1. Building Capacity for Military Families: What Can Faith Communities Do? The California Faith Collaborative and Los Angeles Veterans Collaborative, in partnership with USC CIR, proudly present a webinar on how to reach out and support Service members and Veterans in your community. January 9, 2014
  2. 2. How Faith Based Organizations can Support their Military Family Members By Debbie Nichols Military Childrens Collaborative Group
  3. 3. Our Military Families • 70 % of our military families do not live on a military base • Extended families are impacted by their loved ones military career- trainings, deployments and reintegration • 2 million children have experienced their parent/guardian deployment(s)
  4. 4. When a Family is called to duty • Different stages of separation impact the family • Predeployment • Deployment • Reintegration • Transitioning to civilian life
  5. 5. What I experienced in 2008 • Husband and I become the guardians to our two school age granddaughters • We were working empty nesters • We did not live in near a military base • We had no experience of military life • Our community offered no support at that time
  6. 6. We had no support • Friends and family were uneducated on how to support our family • People did not know what to say to us • We were not attending a church at that time • We had no one to talk to • We felt a loss • We did not want to complain about our situation to anyone
  7. 7. How we gained Hope • Our family did believe God would get us through this • We talked about how we felt to one another • We were supportive to one another • We had verses we would say, This to will pass.. • We listed all the things were thankful for • We would talk about when our daughter would return
  8. 8. Reintegration • Families experience a lot of anxiety • Each family member has to change their roles, again • Children have to begin to gain trust and get use to their parent • It takes a long time to readjust to one another
  9. 9. How you can support • Ask your members what branch of service, and what status they are presently. Active, non Active(Reserve), Guard, Veteran or transitioning to civilian life • Create faith groups- for Veterans, family members and their children • Know what to provide to each group
  10. 10. Know what to offer • Deployment support - Family support, babysitters, household repairs, car repair, support for holidays or special events, help with the children’s after school activities, carpooling, etc. • Reintegration support- Veteran, spouse and children support groups, out reach offering support and recognizing the children, for they have been silently serving our Country.
  11. 11. Contact information Debbie Nichols Founder/ CEO Military Childrens Collaborative Group, Inc. Check out on our website:- Resources list of resources and services to help support military connected children and their families
  13. 13. Background • Husband Marcel has served four years in Active Duty Marine Corps and 8 years in the Army National Guard • Mother of three children; Stella (5), Lillie (3), and Claire (3 months) • Heart for the Church to support and care for military families, specifically military spouses. • Safe Families (
  14. 14. Reality of Military Life • 55% of service members are married • 40% of service members have children • Long deployments increase the risk of divorce (The Rand Corporation Study) • 97% of divorces occurred after a return from deployment (The Rand Corporation Study) • Service members have completed multiple deployment during OIF and OEF • Warrior Ethos
  15. 15. Challenging Not Just During Deployments • Discouraged from taking time off • Demanding work schedule • Extended periods away from family while on the field and training • Multiple moves • Reintegration
  16. 16. National Guard and Reserve Families • Deployments can be more stressful for these families • Live far away from resources provided to families who live on or near military bases • They don’t know what to expect during deployments or where to go for assistance • **These families could use the community and support that faith communities can provide
  17. 17. During deployment children experience… • Depression • Anxiety • Lower grades in school • Increased familial conflict • Sleep issues • Withdrawal • Anger
  18. 18. During deployment spouses experience… • Depression • Anxiety • Isolation • Sadness • Fears for husband’s safety • Assume the roles of husband • Difficulty in communicating with spouse • ** The adjustment of the at home parent has been shown to have the greatest impact on the overall adjustment of the children
  19. 19. Faith Communities can help families by… • Provide counseling • Marriage seminars and retreats related to the stress of military families • Support groups • Mentors • Mother’s day out program • Play dates • Adopt a family by providing meals, notes of encouragement, prayer, baby-sitting, include in family celebrations
  20. 20. Sources • • • •
  21. 21. Upcoming Events How to Start a Military Ministry Hosted by Army OneSource January 15, 1:00 - 2:30pm CST Congregational leaders and clergy will gain an understanding of how to start and successfully implement a military ministry. To register for this event, please go to
  22. 22. THANK YOU