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November is Military Family MonthEach November, the Armed Services YMCA celebrates Military Family Month to demonstrate the nation's support and commitment to the Families of military personnel. With many Soldiers deployed overseas, recognizing the daily sacrifices made by military Families has never been more important. ASYMCA mailed Military Family Month packets to installations in mid October. If you have not received a packet of information to assist in celebrating this great month, you can download it at www.asymca.org. The packet contains: a Military Family Month Poster; a Message from President Bush; a letter from the National Executive Director of the ASYMCA; Military Family Month Program Suggestions; and Guidelines for the annual art and essay contests.

Raytheon "Thanks" Military Children with a Free BookTo thank military children for their daily sacrifices in the name of protecting America's freedom, Raytheon Company is sponsoring the distribution of the holiday book "It's a Family Thanksgiving! A Celebration of an American Tradition for Children and Their Families." This educational gift will be donated to military Families upon request through AUSA Family Programs. To receive your free copy, please send an email to familyprograms@ausa.org with your mailing address. The copies will be given out on a first come, first served basis. Please limit your request to two copies per mailing address.

Commissary Scholarship Program for Military Children Opens 3 November 2008Beginning 3 November 2008, scholarship applications will be available in commissaries worldwide and online through https://www.commissaries.com or http://www.militaryscholar.org. Dependent, unmarried children (under the age 23) of active duty personnel, reserve/guard and retired military members, survivors of service members who died while on active duty or survivors of individuals who died while receiving retired pay from the military may apply for a scholarship. All applicants must be planning to attend, or already be attending, an accredited college or university full time in the Fall of 2009, or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program. Applications are due by 18 February 2009. For more information about the scholarships, go here.

Partnership Improves Career Opportunities for Military SpousesInova Health Systems of Northern Virginia and the Department of Defense (DoD) have launched a new partnership that will train and support military spouses interested in careers in healthcare. The new program seeks to provide military spouses with streamlined access to training, career and job opportunities in a wide range of healthcare related fields at Inova facilities. Inova worked closely with DoD to develop a formal plan to recruit, hire, and retain military spouses. Inova hopes to set an example for corporations and institutions all over the country to support military spouses in the work force. For more information, see http://newsroom.inova.org/article_display.cfm?article_id=5170 and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=51368.

Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System (DIMHRS) Pay SlipWhen the Army implements the Defense Integrated Military Human Resources System, currently scheduled for 1 March 2009, there will be two pay periods each month for all Soldiers, regardless of component (Active, National Guard and Reserve); each with a detailed pay slip that will cover all allotments, deductions and pay-related transactions listed for viewing. Spouses and/or Family members who are accustomed to the current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) will notice a change in the layout and design of the DIMHRS Pay Slip. The DIMHRS Pay Slip will be available through the DIMHRS self-service functionality, much like the LES is currently viewed today inside of myPay. This is one way the Army is moving towards adopting better business practices to improve efficiency of military personnel and pay processes. DIMHRS will be based on a commercial-off-the-shelf product, PeopleSoft®. DIMHRS will not affect existing procedures for obtaining ID Cards and making dependent status changes, which will still be performed at the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System office (DEERS). Family members can visit the Army DIMHRS web site to learn more about how DIMHRS will affect them at www.hrc.army.mil/site/ArmyDIMHRS/family.htm.

Red Cross Offering Free Class to Help Military Families Cope with DeploymentsThe American Red Cross developed a new course, "Coping with Deployments: Psychological First Aid for Military Families" that is now available. The course, offered free of charge, is open to military Family members of active duty Soldiers, Reserve and National Guard forces, as well as veterans and their Families. Presently, the course is offered in sixteen states (AL, AR, CA, CO, FL, HI, IN, MN, NE, NH, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX and WV) and Washington, D.C. However, the Red Cross plans to make the course available across the country in the summer of 2009. The Red Cross developed the course to address the stress and strain of deployments on military Family members to include spouses, children, parents, siblings and significant others of Soldiers and veterans. For more information on the course or to locate local chapters, visit http://www.redcross.org/ or http://www.redcross.org/pressrelease/0,1077,0_314_8294,00.html.

Lowe's, Home Depot offer discountsThe Home Depot and Lowe's, the world's largest home improvement retailers, once again are offering a 10 percent Veterans Day discount to active-duty service members, reservists, retirees, veterans and their immediate family members.

The Lowe's discount is available Nov. 6 through Nov. 11 on purchases of up to $5,000 in U.S. stores from merchandise in stock and special order. The maximum discount would be $500. The discount does not apply to sales at http://www.lowes.com, previous sales, or purchases of services or gift cards. To qualify, you must present a valid military ID or other proof of service.

The Home Depot discount is available Nov. 6 through Nov. 12 on purchases up to $2,000, for a maximum discount of $200. The discount is offered at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center locations. To get the discount, you must provide proof of military service when checking out, and the discount will be applied at the register.

In addition to providing military discounts at specific times during the year for the last several years, the two retailers extend benefits for their employees called to active duty, and actively seek to hire military personnel after they leave the service.

Other efforts include The Home Depot's Project Homefront, in which $1 million and 1 million volunteer hours have been donated to help military families with home repairs while their service member is deployed.

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