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This week in mcfp march 25, 2011 (1)


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This week in mcfp march 25, 2011 (1)

  1. 1. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 ___________________________________________________________ Despite predictions for snow in the next few days, as of March 20th, winter is officiallyin the past and the long-awaited spring season has arrived. Here in Washington, one rite of spring isthe National Cherry Blossom Festival. The two-week celebration, which begins tomorrow,commemorates Japan‟s gift of 3,000 Yoshino cherry to the city 99 years ago. Festival organizers held asolemn vigil to the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami yesterday. Japanese AmbassadorIchiro Fujisaki told the crowd of several hundred that his country needs help and recognized America‟sresponse -- in particular, the rescue teams and the military support. As we enjoy the beautiful canopyof pink blossoms here, we‟ll be thinking of the many hands engaged in support of the disaster responsein Japan and hope for healing in the years to come.Have a good week and take care.Your MC&FP TeamPlease note: Some hyperlinks in this text are lengthy, sometimes extending more than one line. Forbest results, cut and paste the entire link into your Web browser.Earthquake, Tsunami Response Information Resources Available OnlineFor current information, several online resources are available. See: Military OneSources Japan earthquake and tsunami page at DoDEA‟s 24/7 support to families at for up-to-date information NorthCom‟s Operation Pacific Passage site with arrival and departure information at DoDEA DoDEA Offers Earthquake and Tsunami Support to Schools and Personnel in Japan DoDEA has established 24/7 Crisis Centers in Japan and the United States with toll-free and e-mail access. See and Providing policy, tools, and resources to further enhance the quality of life of service members and their families.
  2. 2. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 DoDEA has deployed teams to the embarkation points to assist families with coordinating the continuation of educational needs for students (for example, obtaining school records, transcripts; providing information about registering students in stateside local educations activities). Staff will also assist any DoDEA employees and/or family members with issues they may have. News of natural disasters such as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan can have an emotional impact on some students. Adults can help students keep events in perspective, however, by understanding how children are affected, watching for signs of emotional distress, and adjusting the response to the maturity level of the child. See The DoDEA Web site has a series of frequently asked questions on educational issues that may be helpful to families transitioning to another school at the safe haven. See The DoDEA Virtual High School will be assisting students who need courses not offered locally to complete their spring semester courses. This includes graduating seniors, students in AP courses, middle school students enrolled in high school courses; and fielding calls and providing information to military dependent families in transition who have questions related to DoDEA high school courses. See DoDEA is leveraging social media via Facebook in the Pacific and the U.S. to provide instant information and responses to requests for assistance. You can also follow us on Facebook at: and the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office MWR to Conduct Second Customer Satisfaction Survey The Defense Department will conduct the second military-wide survey to assess Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. When the DoD MWR survey was conducted in 2009, the survey results were used to acquire funding to make improvements to Service member priorities – fitness programs and facilities, outdoor recreation check-out equipment, and the single servicemember program. Again this year, servicemembers will have an opportunity to rate customer service, operation hours, facility condition, and quality of services provided among other items. Survey results will be used to improve program options and service delivery. The survey will be sent to active-duty service members and members of the National Guard and Reserves; those selected are encouraged to take their families‟ opinions into consideration when responding. The Customer Satisfaction Survey is an important tool for defense planners as they shape MWR programs to meet service member and family needs. The survey is being conducted with the help of CFI Group, an international customer-satisfaction consulting firm. The survey will be e-mailed to about 600,000 randomly selected servicemembers in mid-April and will appear as being from CFI Group “on behalf of DoD.” Those receiving the survey will have about three weeks to participate. When the responses are collected and analyzed, the findings of the second survey will be published on the Defense Department Web site, as well as on Military Community and Family Policy‟s Military OneSource and MilitaryHOMEFRONT sites.Page 2
  3. 3. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 Joint Service Training – Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors Attendees have been selected for the twelfth “Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors Training Course” on April 3-7 at Penn State University. The four-day course recognizes the important role recreation and sports can have in the recovery process. Taught by highly credentialed Penn State faculty, the course includes discussion on post traumatic stress disorder, limb amputations, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injuries, adaptive/specialized equipment, accessible design, age appropriate inclusive recreation programming, and societal and cultural issues. Students develop a plan of action to add inclusive recreation programs at their installation, which will be evaluated six months after course completion. To date, 326 recreation programmers from all military services have completed the training. Feedback has been very positive with enhanced programming skills and significant networking among dedicated professionals.From the Family Advocacy Program Office Director Meets with Air Force Program Managers Family Advocacy Program David Lloyd addressed attendees of the Air Force Family Advocacy Policy treatment managers conference. He provided an update on OSD family advocacy policy initiatives, including: implementation of joint basing, General Accounting Office recommendations on domestic violence, and forthcoming Webinars on domestic violence sponsored by the Battered Womens Justice Project.From the Office of Family Policy/Children and Youth General Motors Foundation Offers Youth Scholarship Opportunity – Five Days to Deadline High school seniors or graduates who will be first-time college students in the fall of 2011 are eligible to apply for the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program. Scholarships range from $2,000 to $24,000 each year for up to five years of study. A majority of the scholarships will be awarded to students majoring in science, technology, engineering or math, with a heavy emphasis on engineering majors. Special consideration will be given to dependents of military personnel. Please access http// for more detailed information and to apply. The application deadline is Wednesday, March 30, 2011. This opportunity is one of many made available through the youth programs partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Applications for Military Extension Internships – Six Days to Deadline The Military Extension Internship Program is an opportunity for college students to gain practical work experience in child development, school-age, and youth programs. Interns work on military installations around the world for 10 weeks to six months and receive a broad range of experiences, from working with children and youth and implementing programs, to learning about the management of child and youth centers. Applications for Fall 2011 internships are due Thursday, March 31, 2011. For more information and to see the Military Extension Internship programs in action, go to“Forging the Partnership” – Registration to close March 31st! You can be last, just don’t be late! Have you registered for the conference yet? Plan to join us at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, April 27- 29. Registration closes March 31st so don‟t wait any longer – register now!Page 3
  4. 4. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 See The conference will offer more than 200 presentations including: keynotes, research presentations, workshops, interacts and computer workshops. Topic areas will address early childhood, school- age, teens, parent/family, health, and community capacity building. In addition, the conference will include more than 80 program showcases and more than 40 research posters. Plan to attend two town hall meetings – one with the Services‟ senior enlisted advisors and the second with religious ministry. Be part of this unique experience – see you in Chicago!From the Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs Fort Monroe Hosts Joint Services Family Forum and Resource Fair Isabel Hodge was the keynote speaker for the 14th Annual Joint Services Exceptional Family Member Forum and Resource Fair held at Fort Monroe on March 21, 2011. More than 100 families and service providers attended the event. Hodge spoke about the Office of Community Support for Military Families with Special Needs, the „State of the States,‟ the Medicaid Home Community Based Waivers, and about advocates that have made positive changes for families and individuals with disabilities. Participants received information on TRICAREs extended care health option and the autism demonstration, sexuality, assistive technology and more. Hodge was approached by an adult family member with special needs who was moved to tears during the keynote speech. The family member said that she was happy that the OSN is working on beneficial tools for adults with special needs, in particular, the Adult Tool Kit and Special Care Organizational Record. See 001cc4c03286.htmlFrom the Office of Strategic Outreach Youth Employment Skills Program – Build your résumé and earn money for college! The Youth Employment Skills program –YES – is a unique volunteer program for high school students of active duty/Title 10 Air Force members. Students can earn a potential $1,000 grant by working at an on-base location, and gain valuable employment skills while serving their local community. Students can claim their „banked‟ grant funding upon high school graduation to be applied directly toward post-secondary educational expenses. Please contact the youth director at your base Youth/Teen Center to learn more about the YES program and enrollment procedures. This program, underwritten by the Air Force Aid Society, is a joint effort with the Airman and Family Services Flight.From the Resale and NAF Policy Office Commissary On-Site Sale Events The Guard/Reserve On-site Sales Program provides the commissary benefit to deserving Guard/Reserve members and their families who live in areas that aren‟t close to an existing commissary store. These sales are not only for the Guard and Reserve – theyre for any authorized shopper. Currently, there are no on-site sales for online ordering. For more information, visit 4
  5. 5. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 In the next few weeks, DeCA will deliver the benefit: April 1-2 Texas Army National Guard Austin, Texas April 1-3 Guard and Reserve Smyrna, Tenn. April 2-3 Guard and Reserve Rome, N.Y. April 8-9 Air National Guard Fresno, Calif. April 14-17 Guard and Reserve Chattanooga, Tenn. April 15-16 National Guard LaGrande, Ore. April 15-16 Air National Guard North Platte, Neb. April 15-16 Guard and Reserve Swanton, Georgia April 15-17 Texas Air National Guard Houston, Texas April 15-17 Oregon National Guard Redmond, Ore. April 16 Guard and Reserve Fort Wayne, Ind. April 19-20 Guard and Reserve Fort Myer, Calif.In the News From the National Highway Safety Administration – New Child Restraint Guidelines Announced The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA – has revised its child restraint guidelines to be categorized by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies. Under the new guidelines, issued March 21, 2011, NHTSA is advising parents and caregivers to keep children in each restraint type, including rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seats, for as long as possible before moving them up to the next type of seat. See From American Forces Press Service – Education Activity Launches Online Preregistration Defense Department officials have launched an online preregistration application thats intended to help parents get an early start on enrolling their children in DOD schools. Through the site, parents can preregister their children in a DOD school from anywhere in the world, and even while on the move from one installation to another, explained Mike Lynch, chief of policy and legislation for the Department of Defense Education Activity. The site, located at, is open to parents with students entering pre-kindergarten up to 12th grade. See and a Pentagon Channel report at From American Forces Press Service – Military Children Need Nation’s Support Military children need the support not just of the Defense Department, but the “whole of nation” to ensure they‟re ready for the future, a DOD official said here today. “Military children are resilient, but they need a lot of help,” said Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy. “We‟re doing much more in the within the Department of Defense and federal government, but it will not be enough, because this is an American problem – it‟s not just a problem of the Department of Defense.” See From American Forces Press Service – Mrs. Mullen: Military Children Deserve Respect, SupportPage 5
  6. 6. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 Military children need and deserve the nations utmost respect and support as they continue to weather a decade of war, the wife of the nations top military officer said here yesterday. "I do not believe, and have not believed for quite some time, that there are many issues more important to the future of our armed forces – indeed to the future of our country – than those confronting military children today," said Deborah Mullen, wife of Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen offered a snapshot of the challenges confronting military children, both in and out of the classroom, for attendees of a roundtable discussion on the education of military children, one of the culminating events of a summit called "Building a Grad Nation: Partnerships for Student Success." See From the Family Matters Blog – TRICARE Remains Intact for Japan-based Beneficiaries I wanted to pass on some information regarding health care benefits as well as some contact numbers for TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries affected by the situation in Japan. First, TRICARE Management Activity officials would like to reassure beneficiaries that their health care benefits remain intact, even if they relocate. See From the American Forces Press Service – Tax Laws Benefit Troops, Families Service members and their families have a few tax advantages at their disposal, as well as a few extra days in which to complete their taxes this year, a Defense Department tax expert said. Due to Emancipation Day, a holiday recognized by the District of Columbia, government officials have pushed the nation‟s tax filing deadline from April 15 to April 18, Army Lt. Col. Evan Stone, director of the Armed Forces Tax Council, told American Forces Press Service. Along with the filing extension, Stone pointed out several new and existing tax laws military members and their spouses should keep in mind as the deadline draws near. See From American Forces Press Service – U.S. Forces Continue to Aid Earthquake, Tsunami Victims American service members in Japan continue to help the Japanese people recover from the catastrophic March 11 earthquake and tsunami. At the same time, many family members have taken advantage of the voluntary authorized departure process. See of the Week Nutrition Tip of the Week For those who want to buy organic produce and are on a budget – and who isnt today? – consider choosing the organic versions of the „dirty dozen‟ and buy conventional for the least-contaminated and cleanest fruits and vegetables listed. The non-profit Environmental Working Group analyzed 43 of the most commonly consumed fruits and vegetables for pesticide residues to come up with this list.Page 6
  7. 7. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 Dirty Dozen Cleanest Dozen peaches onions apples avocado sweet bell sweet corn peppers (frozen) celery pineapples nectarines mango strawberries asparagus cherries sweet peas pears (frozen) grapes kiwi (imported) bananas spinach cabbage lettuce broccoli potatoes papaya Washing and rinsing fresh produce may reduce levels of some pesticides but it does not get rid of them. Peeling also helps, but valuable nutrients often are lost. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible. Bottom line: Eating fruits and vegetables with pesticides is better than not eating fruits and vegetables. For more information on making healthy and nutritious food choices, check out the Commissary‟s Web site at Parenting Tip of the Week – TRICARE Resources If your family has already departed or is planning to depart from Japan due to the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, your health care benefits will be maintained and service and support will continue during this difficult time. If you depart from Japan and permanently move to another location overseas or in the U.S., be sure to update your personal information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System – „DEERS „ – immediately so there is no break in your coverage or problems with claims or enrollment options. Visit for more details. There are also several earthquake and tsunami resources available on Military OneSource at and at Let’s Move/Childhood Obesity Tip of the Week – Mealtime Makeover: Chicken Fingers Use boneless, skinless chicken with high-fiber cereal and an egg substitute to make a healthier version of this favorite kids meal. You can make it in batches and freeze it for reheating for future meals. It goes great with a cup of skim milk and cut-up veggies. Prep time: 10 minutes Ingredients: 1 4-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, rinsed, patted dry, and sliced into strips ¼ c. egg substitute or skim milkPage 7
  8. 8. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 1/3 c. flaked, high-fiber cereal, crushed Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350º F (176º C). 2. Dip chicken strips into egg substitute or skim milk. 3. Roll dipped chicken in high-fiber cereal to coat. 4. Place coated strips on non-stick baking sheet. 5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, turning after 9 minutes, until chicken is done (white, not pink, inside). Serving size: 1 chicken breast For more information: Financial Tip of the Week – Why your credit score is important Bad credit can result in unfavorable interest rates can cost you thousands when you take out a mortgage, a car loan or a student loan. So it pays to know the essentials of your credit report and related score. Your credit report is a summary of your borrowing and repayment history-any new accounts, closed accounts, unpaid bills, late bills, and other activity. Your credit score, also called your Fair Isaac Corp – „FICO ‟ – score is a three-digit number between 300 and 850 calculated from a formula that‟s designed to gauge your creditworthiness. The three main credit-reporting agencies (Equifax Inc., Experian PLC, and TransUnion) buy the formula from Fair Isaac. The bureaus use your personal data and crunch the numbers differently, so your score will vary slightly at each agency. When a lender considers your application for credit, they turn to one (or all) of the credit agencies for your score, which indicates your reliability as a borrower. Visit your installation Personal Financial Mangers to get your FICO score before applying/ requesting for any loans. Few ingredients of your credit score are: Payment History: Whether you pay your bills on time, including credit cards, student loans, utility bills, or any other lender or service provider that reports to the big three agencies. Getting this right is easy: don‟t blow the due date. Amounts owed: The breakdown of your credit balances, and how they compare to the limits of what you‟re allowed to take out. If you‟re maxed out, it can hurt. Years of credit: The age on your accounts. The longer your credit history, the better lenders can gauge your ability to repay. Unfortunately, the formula knocks young borrowers who don‟t have an established, detailed credit history. New credit: How many accounts have you opened recently, and how many lenders have inquired about your credit? The more activity, the more it appears you‟re about to go on a debt binge. Types of credit: The mix of accounts you hold, such as auto loans, credit cards, student loans, or mortgages. In general, higher credit scores equate to lower interest rates, meaning less cash you‟ll have to fork over during the life of a loan. Remember that your credit score is important, but it‟s not the sole factor in whether you get approved for a loan, credit card, or other forms of credit. Most lenders also look at your annual income, employment history and other factors.Page 8
  9. 9. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 Resource links: Fair Isaac Corp – „FICO ‟ – Equifax Inc. – Experian PLC – TransUnion – Military OneSource Tip of the Week – Quick Tips for Relocating with Your Pet When you‟re faced with a PCS move, making arrangements for your pet well in advance well help you avoid any unwanted surprises. You will need to meet requirements -- and pay fees -- for documentation, immunization, and import regulations (for overseas installations). The following tips will help you make the move with your pet safer and easier: Plan early. Research the pet requirements at your next duty station. Most states require pets to have an interstate health certificate. Hawaii and some foreign countries have quarantine periods, which may be reduced if you meet certain requirements. Many foreign countries require specific certifications before your pet may enter the country. Also, keep in mind that dog breeds that are considered aggressive are prohibited in certain areas. Take your pet to the veterinarian at least three months before you move. This visit will give you time to address any health problems that your veterinarian may discover and make sure all vaccinations are current. Be sure to get a copy of your pet‟s records, including the rabies certificate. If you’re moving overseas, you may be required to provide a health certificate dated no more than 10 days prior to your departure. If possible, have a military veterinary issue the health certificate. Military veterinarians are more familiar with the process and are authorized to provide the required documentation. For more information, visit the Army Veterinary Command site at Make reservations to kennel your pet, if necessary. If your pet will need kenneling while you search for housing or if there is a quarantine, be sure to make reservations well in advance. If you‟re moving OCONUS, you may be able to coordinate the schedule with your sponsor, if you have one. If you’re moving your pet by air, find out about restrictions. Commercial airlines may restrict pet travel when the weather is extremely hot. If you‟re traveling on a military flight, the Air Mobility Command has specific rules for pet travel. You can download their brochure at Either way, be sure to make travel reservations for your pet early on. Make arrangements to keep your pet at a friend’s house or at a kennel on moving day. If that‟s not possible, put your pet in a quiet, safe place, such as a bathroom with the door closed. This will reduce the risk that your pet will become frightened and run away or hide in a box about to be put on the truck. Try to keep your pet’s routine as regular as possible. Your pet may sense something is going on and become nervous in the days leading up to the move, especially if familiar objects are packed away. Sticking to regular walks, play times, and feeding times will help keep your pet calm and reassured. If you’re moving your pet by car, avoid temperature extremes. Don‟t leave pets in the car alone. Use a sturdy insulated carrier to help regulate the temperature when traveling. Be sure toPage 9
  10. 10. This Week in MC&FP March 25, 2011 provide plenty of water. Small animals, such as gerbils and hamsters, can become dehydrated easily. Make sure you have a leash in the car for your dog. When you travel, carry a copy of your pet’s documents with you. Be sure to have vaccination records, health certificates and import certificates, when required. Be sure to have identification for your pet. Mark the outside of the carrier with your name, destination address, and a phone number where you can be contacted. Make sure your pet‟s tag has the same contact information. Also, attach copies of health, rabies, and import certificates (when required) to the kennel. Your Family Center can give you information and support on many issues that affect service members and their families. And Military OneSource, a free 24/7 service from DoD, available to all active-duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families, provides information and referrals plus face-to-face counseling. Call (800) 342-9647 or access Spouse Tip -- Job Clubs are a Source of Support and Encouragement Did you know that many public libraries have Job Clubs that meet on a weekly basis? Well, they do. Some are more structured than others. The more organized Job Clubs have four to six-week sessions, complete with a facilitator who offers planned programs on job search strategies and activities. These facilitators are often times a career counselor with experience in helping community members transition from unemployment, through education and training programs into fast growing, high demand careers and employment opportunities that match regional employer needs with job seeker interests. With the help of dedicated club volunteers, some also meet with employers, post openings on library job boards and help Job Club members search through openings they have developed in the community and found online. Other clubs are more informal, with leadership coming from Job Club members. Club meetings are spent exchanging job search tips and experiences, sharing information about what is currently available from employers in the region, helping each other tighten up resumes, and developing answers to tough interview questions. Sometimes members even volunteer to help each other overcome barriers to employment by making referrals to trusted sources of child care, transportation, education and training. So, if you find yourself in an extended job search in a region with high unemployment, you might want to see if your local library or community college is sponsoring regular Job Club meetings. They are a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of local community job markets and to keep your spirits high while you work hard to find the job you are looking for. ####Page 10