Military Family Services: Let's Work Together


These days it feels like budget cuts are lurking in every corner of military life, just waiting to jump out and sucker punch us. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about canceled deployments or furloughs or commissary closures, many of us are preparing for changes.

That’s why, in this time of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever that we stick together as a military community, that we work together to support each other, that we use the resources that are still available to us.

With this thought in mind, I recently attended a meeting held by the Tidewater Military Family Services Council or TMFSC. Not only did I meet some incredible people who represent organizations that want nothing more than to help military families, but I walked out of that meeting feeling like this group was accomplishing exactly what we all need to be doing: working together.

So what exactly is TMFSC?

“Our mission is to connect military family support organizations so that we can more effectively reach and support the military families we serve,” said Kathy Nelson, Chairperson of the board for TMFSC and Director of Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Hampton Roads. “TMFSC allows member organizations to mutually support each other’s programs and events.”

Their members are Hampton Roads non-profits with programs specifically geared toward military families, including the Armed Services YMCA, Lincoln Military Housing, WIC and the USO. And all of these members joined TMFSC for the common goal of working together to support military families.

With so many resources available to military families, it’s not always easy to find them and understand how they can help. That’s where TMFSC comes in.

“The TMFSC was created to facilitate understanding about the multitude of those resources and how they can benefit military families in specific circumstances,” said Nelson. “During these difficult economic times it is especially important to be aware of military benefits and services and programs that are offered to benefit military families.  Reach out and learn about those resources and allow them to help when it makes sense.”

Although TMFSC is a regional organization serving families specifically located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, it’s an excellent example of how military advocacy groups can work together toward one common goal. In fact, their efforts earned them the First Lady of Virginia’s FLITE award  for “getting involved and giving back.”

And that’s exactly what we need right now. In the words of our own Jacey Eckhart, instead of thinking of sequestration as a time of scarcity, maybe we should be seeing it as a time of coming together. Instead of trying to do more with less, let’s work together and do more with more.

This is also what we at SpouseBuzz are trying to accomplish at the 2013 Military.com Spouse Summit in Vienna, VA on April 11 and 12. There’s a reason we call it a peer conference. It’s designed to meet new people you can relate to, make new connections, share brilliant ideas, and yes, work together. So if you live in the area or want to plan a road trip with some MilSpouse pals, register here (it’s FREE!) and join us as we work together and do more with more.

And for those of you who live in the Hampton Roads area, TMFSC’s premier event is the annual Military Family Festival at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

“Last year 5,450 people participated in this family-friendly event, free to military families,” Nelson said. “Proceeds from the festival fund our TMFSC summer camp scholarship program.  Last year 54 military children received scholarships for regional summer camps including MWR sports camps, Aquarium, filmmaking and others.”

Interested? For more information on the festival, contact Brooke Scarbrough at bscarbrough@lpsi.com.

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