AWTR Show #784: USO Military Spouse Programs


Attention know spouses families and service members. It's now time for another empowering episode of armond white. Talk radio the leading and longest running podcasts of its kind. awt are is here doing gauge. Educate and encourage you by sharing dynamic interviews social media connections news and empowering military life information here are your awt our hosts your army wife network command team who i an army wife talk radio listeners. Welcome to another empowering and exciting episode. This is episode number seven hundred eighty four and i'm your host. Amanda macneice army wife networks empowerment agent. Joining me today is our teams. Content curator assistant jennifer brown. Amanda and thank you for that warm. Welcome i'm looking forward to hosting with you today listeners. In typical fashion. We have another great show lined up for you today. Grab a beverage of your choice and settle in or lace up your shoes if you're listening while getting workout in and get ready for your weekly dose of military life empowerment on. Today's so we will listen in to an interview conducted by army wife network. Commanders read dog and she chats with guests. Elizabeth lee program manager of uso military spouse programs jennifer. I'm glad to be hosting with you today. Let's take a few minutes to catch up on mail slave. Give me a quick situational report or sip rep of your age six status. Well amanda as you can imagine. There's a lot going on in my household as the holidays are quickly approaching. I'm beginning to realize how. I really for this holiday season. On top of our woodworking. Business is booming. So we're steadily filling orders especially for that holiday rush while i continually try to squeeze my own project needs onto my husband's to deal as so we are still busy but i'm very excited for the holidays. We've got some trouble plans made and we're ready to see some family members. We haven't seen in a while. So i'll also that here at fort. Benning georgia the took Finally below eighty degrees. So we've been doing so much outside on. It's finally a good time of year. Where i can actually do hair. It's not all messed up by nine. Am and that always makes me extra happy. Would've gone on your way. Things are going pretty. Well i will say here in colorado though. Our weather is so crazy that we don't get we really can't predict how it will be one minute. It's snowing and then the next aids seventy eighty degrees so it's hard to plan but yeah things are things are going well for me. I just started working out again. So i'm hoping to get in shape as i've just moved to Remote working from home as a teacher. So that'll be a nice battle but other than that everything is going great. And i'm glad to hear about your woodworking business. That's awesome thank you. It definitely keeps says super-busy Sometimes too busy but we really enjoy. My husband. And i are great team. And it's something that really connects us. Good ambassador But it keeps us all the time. So yeah it's very enjoyable that's awesome. I have to say that. As much as i love. Living the mill spouse life. Sometimes they really do need. An extra dose of encouragement encouragement. Is one of our army wife network pillars so. Let's just take a moment and listen in so. This week's encouraging moment from veteran teacher author john wanda bryant. Then we will check in with one our one and only correspondent joe mcknight with all things meets no news welcome spouses to sixty seconds of serenity. Which ones brian. Your encouragement of today res self. Love is so important because when you're all alone in his three am and you're crying. Who's going to be there for you. You you have to pick yourself up and find the strength to carry on at the end of the day. You're all you've got listen. Spouses crying is an emotion. That is necessary. I say let it all out. Sometimes it may take a sent in action or even a remembers to exciting emotion. But that's okay you must get in the habit of care for yourself. This is not selfish by no means if you cannot function how will you be able to support the ones that depend on you self. Love may look like cna therapist or counselor to get help are taking pilates or eating right or even sleep in for just a little bit longer. You must love yourself by taking care of yourself. This has been sixty seconds of serenity. Which wanna brian military veteran and author of the mini adventures of danny ended employer mini series. No news is typically good news in this military life country. So here is our. Aws news six correspondent with this week. sob stories. hello. Amanda and jennifer. Here's this week's top stories. Veterans affairs compensation and pension exams will be completely outsourced. According to military times. The exams are a key part of the process for veterans to receive disability benefits the under secretary for benefits. Paul lawrence told military times right now. Contractors already doing the bulk of them we think the value of having contractors available to do them is flexibility and the ability to surge some lawmakers have voiced concerns over this move despite the va's belief that it will be a service improvement for veterans read more at military times dot com. The department of veterans affairs announced that military veterans and gold star families will be granted a lifetime access to national parks wildlife refuges and other federal lands managed by the department of the interior according to npr dot org an annual pass typically costs eighty dollars. And will you access to more than two thousand. Federal recreation sites. In order to qualify. You must provide documentation showing that you served in the military to include the national guard and reserves learn more by visiting the national park service online at nps dot gov the us navy announced that us navy expeditionary seabass six also referred to as esp. Six will be renamed after medal of honor recipient marine corps. Sergeant major retired john l. Canley canley served during vietnam. Where when his commanding officer was wounded. He led his company to hugh city which included multiple attacks against enemy fortified positions being wounded himself and carrying wounded marines to safety. He was awarded the medal of honor for his bravery and courage in two thousand eighteen and now the naval ship will be named in his honor. Esp vessels will deploy marines of the future carrying the name of marines of the past secretary of the navy kenneth j braithwaite. They are leaders. Who truly embody our core values of honor courage and commitment and the future crew of us. John l. canley both sailors and marines will carry on his legacy character and professionalism throughout the lifespan of this vessel. Read more about. Candy's heroic acts at navy dot mil and this week in history on the evening of december first nineteen fifty-five seamstress rosa parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger a three hundred and eighty one day boycott of the montgomery bus system followed and led to a supreme court ruling banning segregation on public transportation. Rosa parks is considered the mother of the civil rights movement and following the boycott rosa and her husband. Raymond moved to retreat. Where she worked for congressman john conyers for more than twenty years. Rosa parks was awarded the us medal of freedom in one thousand nine hundred ninety six and the rosa parks peace prize in nineteen eighty-four read more about rosa parks legacy at the library of congress online at l. o. C. dot gov find the link to all of our new reports at army wife network dot com this is your army wife network new six correspondent joe lean mcnutt signing out. Thanks to joleon for making sure. We always have up to date news this military life. Now let's take a sixty second commercial break. We will be back with more in just a few moments armie talk. Radio is celebrating our fifteen year on the air. Awt are is the leading and longest running podcast and has over. seven hundred episodes in the archives. Subscribe to this podcast on our website. Www dot army wife network dot com or on the pod catcher of your choice such as i tunes ugo play spotify. Or pandora engage educate encourage. Awt are is your source for military life empowerment jennifer. What is on the docket for this week's resource recon. This week's resource recon is all about. The resources offered on our website. And this week we want to share the most popular resources we offer post with the most as mills spouses. One of our greatest challenges is preparing for an upcoming pcs. Or if you get the chance to potentially pick a new duty station. There is a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming. We here at army waste network wants to take some of the guesswork out of the needs to knows about duty stations around the globe hence our post with the most series. That's right our post with most series is truly an on some resource. I wish i had known about eight years ago. And i'm so fortunate to know about it. Now i will definitely be using it when we come to our next. Pcs which is just shy of two years. Now and for those of you who don't know our army way network command team and band of bloggers and their most. Those tribes have helped to compile installation specific information to help you no matter what army station becomes your new home. We have the insider details regarding local realtors off post healthcare options unit information spouse testimonials social media connections hidden gems of the area restaurants. And things you have to do before you leave. You can plan how to make the most of your new location before you even arrive. And make connections with other spouses. Who are already. They're using the listed social media groups for me. I have truly learned the power of making connections and joining those groups before arriving at a new location because it really helps you to feel in the know. Right from the start amanda. I'm much like you. And that i really want to explore our next duty station before arriving from the local and surrounding areas down to the social media connections if nothing else it really makes my mental transition go much more smoothly. This really helps maintain the sanity for entire family. Really so i know. Is you happy. Wife happy life while my motto motto. When it comes to saying is well informed wife happy life. The post with the most feature is something. I wished i had seen sooner and now that i know it's there. I find myself looking through periodically. Stayed about our next duty station looking into things that i see on the list of you know shopping and restaurants and of course all the fun stuff But post with the most feature really does highlight information own one place. I'd like to think of it as like a cornucopia of information just their fingertips. Yes definitely. i couldn't agree more in total feature forty five army specific locations around the globe if you have additional tips information connections or personal testimonials about any of our military locations. Feel free to leave a comment on our website or you can email us at info at army wife network dot com to help out your fellow military spouses host with the most is empowering on its own but we couldn't have an empowering resource segment without something from you. Amanda army wise network in agents. Hello army wave talk radio listeners. I'm amanbek niece bringing you. This week's empowerment patrol report. Today we are showcasing. Two of our volunteers who are emory winners. Which by the way that stands for motivated at ready to empower first step. We have amanda krieger. A member of our band of bloggers amanda is an army wife and mom. She met her husband while he was enlisting online boot. Even though at the time they only lived five miles apart. She has a bachelor's and master's in theology masters in english and creative writing. Her hope is to publish a memoir chronicling her life as a woman with a disability. Who happens to be married to a military man a stay at home mom and still relatively new to military life. Amanda spends her days taking care of her family and learning as much as she can about military life. She's passionate about body. Positivity disability representation self care her faith and good food. She loves to see new places and try local cuisine. Amanda loves the seasons at fort drum. But it's looking forward to the change of scenery when our family heads to texas next year you can also find her on youtube under her name. Amanda j krieger next step. We want to give a huge shoutout to our army wife network command team member chrissy gifts chrissy joined the military spouse life in two thousand ten when she married her favorite tanker she knew that life would be more adventurous and sometimes more difficult but it would always be worth it. She had previously received her bachelors and masters in special education and spent a few years teaching but once she began having children. She chose to put those talents to work in her own home. Chrissy is a mother to four energetic boys. One husky pup and the whole family is currently choosing to live small or to live big rather in an rv with plenty of travelling adventures. Outside of the normal army moves chrissy and her family have visited forty one states canada and mexico during their road travels and hope to add some different countries to that list. In our free time you can find her at the beach working out at a plate with close friends on the hunt for the next gio cash or hiding away binge watching her favorite guilty pleasure. Tv shows much. Thanks goes out to amanda and chrissy for doing their part to empower military families all across the globe until next time. I'm amanda macneice reminding you that we are never completely alone on this military life journey. Another big congratulations to our m. r. e. motivated and ready to empower recipients. Amanda krieger and chrissy gibbs. Both of these empowering individuals will receive an on some prize from army wife network as well as a permanent spot on our website in our empowerment gallery. I know of someone else. That is motivated and ready to empower this week's guest elizabeth le- let's see what empowering info she's got for us hello listeners and thank you to our host this week. This army wife talkradio's interview segment. And i'm reading knob. Lock your army wife network owner in commander today. We have the privilege to chat with. Elizabeth lee the program manager for us military spouse programming. The uso known as united service organization has been supporting service members and their families for almost eighty years uso. Coffee connections are monthly gathering event allowing spouses to relax in a comfortable setting shared vice learn about local events and make new friends all over a cup of coffee and pastries. Which i don't know about you. That sounds like a perfect recipe for me. Spouses are encouraged to come as they are or bring other military spouses to join with them in the conversation in twenty. Nineteen the uso hosted. Two hundred events that connected more than seventy five hundred. That's seven thousand five hundred military spouses this year. In spite of the shift one hundred percent virtual coffee connections there still on track to host roughly five hundred events and connect more than eight thousand spouses with other others in their local military communities. The coffee connection live was created in february twenty nineteen in response to requests from military spouses. Who didn't necessarily have that ready. Access to a uso location but yet still wanted to participate in the us spouse programming. Thank you so much for everything. You're doing for the uso mill spouse programs elizabeth and welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. And i know that the coffee connections are really great. I was able to go to one. Live gosh a couple years ago. Now i'm not sure. I love that you guys have been able to kind of pivot this year and go virtual. So let's go ahead and get started as i shared in our bio. You've we've known now that the us has been supporting servicemembers for many switches almost eighty amazing by the way so go ahead and tell us about some of the middle spouse support programming that you all offered through the uso absolutely. Well yes like you said shritah on for almost eighty years. The uso has been supporting service members and those of us who work for the organization. We always say we're supporting service members and their families but we we learned a few years ago but a lot of military spouses didn't realize that they could also use the uso So we purposely set out to create programs specifically aimed at supporting military spouses and letting them know that the uso is here for them too so you mentioned our coffee connections program which is really one of our core programs. It's one that we're so proud of. Its its sole purpose truly is to connect military spouses to one another so that they feel connected within their communities. They feel that they have personal network of support. And just you know resources that they can go to whether they are the new kid on the block at their installation or they've been there for a while they wanna support somebody who's just getting there so certainly. Coffee connections is one that we're very proud of and as you also mentioned coffee connection live which is our virtual version of that where once a month we speak with somebody who is what we like to say an influence or within the within the military spouse community We have spoken with everyone from celebrities to mill spouses to subject matter experts. And and we can go into that a little bit later but it's been such a fun endeavor for us to be able to reach those who aren't near uso. We also have a program that's called special delivery baby showers where we've partnered with target and with heidi markov. Who is the author of the what to expect when you're expecting series and we host baby showers for expecting military mama's around the world and that's been going on for actually longer than any other military spouse programs that we have we've got one that's called military spouse networking which is sort of the original mill spouse program which is where we bring military spouses together and we teach them networking skills How to create their own personal brand and network themselves whether they're looking for a career or simply to make friends in a new community and then some of our newer programs include discovering your spark which is with the two thousand seventeen military spouse to the brittany bacher which it helps military spouses to sort of dive into themselves and discover what makes them happy and talks through throughout the course of the several hour workshop how to sort of bring that to the surface and find their joy again and turn their camps into cans. It's great Our brand new one is with corey weather. who is also a military spouse. And it's called your leaving again and it is focused on opening up the communication between Spouses when they are preparing to be a part whether it's for deployment may be Tdy or even the dreaded gio bachelor time so again. It's focused on opening up those lines of communication to talk through what it's going to be like when you're apart and then actually doing it while you're apart so those are some of our military spouse programs goodness. I had no idea that it was that deep. In far reaching i guess i was familiar with the coffee connection and coffee connection live. And i've heard of discovering your spark. But i love the special delivery showers and i fan girl over quarry whether she is just powerhouse mill spouse and i love that you guys have partnered with her as well. She is so much to offer Especially when it comes to the being apart again Because it sometimes seems like groundhog day from saying those leaders to our service members. Wow so many. Good programs You guys are offering in person and online. So i'm curious. How would a new military spouse who's just moved to their first location. Utilize the uso such a good question again. We want military spouses to know that the uso is for them so the first thing i would encourage him or her to do is find out if there is a uso center on their installation Wherever they are whether they have just joined a military family or if they're just moving to a new base they can go. Uso dot org and look our location finder and find if there is a uso installation. Go to the center meet. The staff made the volunteers and meet the other people who are in there are centers are a beacon of information on on wherever they are And if they're not year near uso center Certainly look for one as you're traveling through the airports but also you can go online and find the us facebook page which is just at the uso or even search for our brand new us military spouse facebook group which is a private group. You must be a military spouse to join it. We do ask questions to make sure that the people joining our military spouses but within that group we are sharing so much information that is helpful to military spouses again. We are here to make sure that military spouses are able to connect with one another and make friends because the most important thing is feeling like you're not alone when you're on this military life journey sounds very similar to kind of what guides us. Here at army wife network is reminding folks that they're not alone because really sometimes it feels like a very lonely island kind of experience So really appreciate you. Guys are creating that innate network for people to get connected and just a slight side note. Shameless plug you mentioned the uso centers in the airports Shout out to the uso in dallas. Last year for christmas our flight with super delayed i was flying alone with both my time to humans and guess last year malik. My son was too. He was too so trying to contain a two year old and a six year old in the airport for like seven hours late at night. They saved our skin. They took such good care of us and made sure we were fed and entertained. And i've never used the uso in an airport before really had to but You guys are taking care of your spouses. And i cannot say thank you enough for that. That is awesome. It's like having your very own. Vip lounge at absolutely yes and they. Oh they were so good us. We're like here's another. Dvd has your hope. Your flights delayed another two hours. And i was like i don't know ever get out of here They stayed open late for us. 'cause we are flight didn't leave till almost midnight so they've really took care of us So anyway back to what. You're actually here for i. I'm gushing about the. us oaks. You guys do such a great job. Tell us elizabeth. How did you come up with coffee. Connections in also the coffee connection live program while the the credit for this goes completely to my partner in crime nicole vogel. She is our senior programs. Manager at the uso four military spouse programs and this was all her brain child she herself is an air force spouse and had worked overseas at the us usos in kaiserslautern germany and when her husband's job took them to the dc area. She started working at uso headquarters and she said to the programs team. Hey why don't we do something for military spouses and the response was what should we do. Come up with something. So she actually created the military spouse networking program. I which is the one that brings people together to teach them. You know how to make their own elevator. Pitch work on their networking skills And just learn how to make friends in a professional setting from that. She said to herself one day. What if people just want to come together and have coffee. What if we just got these people together in the room for spouse networking and then said. Come by the uso next wednesday and we'll just have coffee and chat so from that we literally had a few locations that decided to market coffee connections again just as an opportunity for military spouses to come together. We are not selling anything. We're not asking them to do anything. Just come in. Have a cup of coffee. there's pastries out if you're hungry and just just talk That was back in twenty sixteen. We started with just a handful of locations and a few spouses who would come in once a month or once. A quarter however often that That location wanted to host coffee connection. And if you fast forward now to twenty twenty like you mentioned at the beginning we are on track to host five hundred coffee connections this year. Globally and we're going to reach more than ten thousand spouses and it is just something. We're so proud of because it started as just this idea of bringing spouses together and the coffee connection live program was born in february of twenty nineteen again before the world really turned to virtual programs and has more our sole means of keeping one. Another connected It was after a coffee connections that nicole said to ourselves. I want to bring this to people who don't have access to a uso but still wanna connect with other military spouses and feel like they're part of this community so the very first coffee connection live was in february of twenty nineteen and it was two of our program managers sitting in the office at uso headquarters in arlington virginia. Talking about the research that we adjust done which told us that military spouses feel. The uso was for them and did not feel connected to one another. So they had a discussion about that using zoom. They had a chat box off to the side where they invited military spouses watching live to chime in and chat and ask questions and it was this amazing virtual interaction that was just born a year and a half ago A month later they spoke with brittany bacher. Who told the world about her amazing series discovering your spark and the following month the Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff general dunford. His wife invited nicole to her home in arlington and they had a chat about military spouse life. So again it's just become this this thing that we do every month it's grown Every month we have more and more military spouses joining us. Live and and again. It was just born out of the idea that we wanted to connect people whether it's in person or virtually. I've got goosebumps all over myself. Just thinking how this started with you know the focus and the intention but how. It's grown because clearly that indicates there was a gap an a need that needed to be fulfilled and you guys stepped forward encourage In you know risking boldly to make that happen and now it's gosh ten thousand spouses in a year and you were ahead of the curve for you like nobody predicted the pandemic in february twenty nineteen. But you guys had the groundwork established before this was even a thing so That's so cool so good elizabeth. You mentioned some of the folks you know how you have. Subject matter experts or other bill spouses of the year or you know networking experts but who has been on your coffee connection live program and you mentioned it was monthly. How can listeners. Tune into that. Good question why i wanna i wanna do a little bit of name dropping because we have been so fortunate to have some amazing guests with us on coffee connection live. We have had celebrities. We've had everyone from a monte durham who is on say yes to the dress atlanta. He's actually joined us two different times the first time we just talked about fashion and all things beauty and then the second time he came on six months later he actually talked to us about hair and makeup. Because i'm not sure if anybody knows this monte just opened up a salon in old town alexandria in virginia. Just outside of washington. Dc and by trade. He is actually a hair stylist so he taught my colleague nicole how to cut her own hair at home because this was of quarantine and she said. I haven't had a haircut in so long. How can i have my own hair right. So on zoom in front of hundreds of military spouses on and it looked great. So we had monte jerem. We've had amy browns from the bobby bones show who actually was a military spouse before her husband left the airforce. We've had celebrity chef carla hall and we had country music singer. Craig morgan join us. We have had military spouses. Who are just sort of argo twos on everything from homeschooling to We had a military spouse who at hr recruiter for google. Talk with us about resume writing and how to get your dream job. We've had a military spouse who spoke with us about establishing your virtual brand. You know how to brand yourself like for linked in if you're trying to expand your professional networks We had leah whose husband used to be the secretary of defense again. We had general dunford's wife new just tons of military spouses who are really influencers in this space and then subject matter experts we had hiding markov. Join us back in august again. She wrote what to expect. When you're expecting there. Were so many moms out there who had questions about not only pregnancy but giving birth during a pandemic home moving with babies and they just just so many questions and again they couldn't get to those baby showers that we have right now so heidi joins us live and just answer. Everyone's questions in everyone's minds at ease and actually just last week. We had a celebrity makeup artist. Join us. She is a land. Comb a Client executive and also a celebrity makeup artists and she literally walked me through how to do my makeup. So that i look good on zoom. Because we're doing now on zoom has fresh-faced and she walked me through everything and it was amazing and we record all of these so if people want to go back and watch any of them they can simply go to. Uso dot org slash military spouse and find the link to coffee connection or they can go to youtube and search for uso. Coffee connection live and see all of those recordings That's so neat. And i i just have to laugh because like doing your makeup or like learning how to do your makeup presume and also like giving yourself a haircut in front of all the people. I was like no pressure. You guys way. More courageous that i would ever be 'cause i don't even with experts. I'm not sure. I could pull that off but love. That you guys are branching into that So if listeners. Want to listen live. How do they connect with that if they want to tune in absolutely so again we we have the military spouse facebook group. The uso meltzer's facebook group on facebook. If you join that. We are constantly posting flyers invitations to join us. Live with little registration link. It's really simple. You don't need to download anything you just register. And using zoom the military spouses. Who join us live are not on camera. It's only us in our guest who are onscreen. But you have the chance to ask questions. And then the most important thing that i think about coffee connection live is the chat box you can chat and interact with other military spouses tuning in live and share your reactions to what's being said on screen. We always invite everyone who's tuning in live to show their linked in profile because we realize not. Everyone has a facebook or instagram or twitter. But a really safe way to connect through linked and so we always invite people to connect on linked in and share their linked in profiles if they want to connect with the other military spouses who are joining. And what's been so fun about. This is that we've started to see a lot of the same spouses come month after month after month. And we love it because we've gotten to know their personalities through their questions and through their chats just as much as they've gotten to know ours so again. Look on the uso military spouse facebook group and also we have a weekly email that we send out to military spouses who have attended our events whose emails we already have an in that weekly email. We share all of these upcoming events. So if you're not on that. Try to find that facebook group. We've got a little link that you can click to sign up to be on that email list so i'm not gonna lie. I'm multitasking right now and just requested to join that group on house as you guys are doing such good stuff i'm to be. Hey who else. Are you collaborating within the space to support military spouses. Oh my goodness well. As i keep stressing connecting and networks are everything and the uso cannot do this alone so we are really really proud that we have worked with so many individuals and organizations Most importantly we worked with several military spouses of the year again. I've i've mentioned britney with her discovering your spark workshop series and corey. Weather's i am also a huge fan. Read her book when my husband floyd to be too had her on coffee connection live two different times once with her husband and once just her own. Gosh all the goosebumps in tangles when that woman is talking We have a really fun series that we do with a man named michael quinn. Who is an army veteran. he's also known as a linked in guru. If you have ever wondered how to market yourself on lincoln. Michael quinn is the expert and he has hosted Some virtual linked in series just for military spouses and also for everyone in the military community So again we've we've partnered with mill spouses of the year. We've partnered with veterans was also partnered with a lot of corporations who support what we're doing and are are very eager to let military spouses know that they are included in the support that these corporations offer to military families. I specifically want to call out. Lowe's home improvement stores they They have hosted two years in a row. Do it yourself workshops to teach military spouses skills. That can be used around the house. And i have to tell you. Cherie deville early Born out of desperation on my part when our boss came to us just before my husband was about to leave for a year to go to iraq We getting ready to pcs. We moved from alabama to florida and three weeks later. My husband left iraq for a year. And i have two little kids and i didn't know anyone in the neighborhood and i thought how am i gonna do all the things around the house. I need to learn how to hang up curtains in picture. You know all the things. But i also wanna like learn how to use power tools. So coincidentally lows had approached the uso about some partnership opportunities and. They reached out to the mall spouse team at said. Could you use anything from lowe's and we created these workshops in two thousand nineteen representatives from lowe's stores actually went to twenty apps are ten different. Uso locations and we gathered military spouses around. They taught us how to do. Things like spackle holes in walls because their kids walls in the have to fix right and this year we were supposed to do twenty four workshops but because of the pandemic we took it virtual and it was amazing pivot. Where lows had someone at their networks studio at their headquarters partnered with a maria read has another army house. Military specity are who we love and who is very well known in the diy space. Yup we got those two individuals on zoom. We did it coffee connection lifestyle. We did this. Virtual diy workshop and we did a series of three weeks hot military spouses how to make a fire pits We told them everything that they needed to get where to find it at lowe's You know they could go get the stones and the sand and everything that they needed and then for an hour we show them how to literally make a firepit in their backyard. The second one we did was painting one on one. So whether you wanted to paint like an accent wall in your house or you just wanted to refinish some furniture. We did a one hour. Diy workshops on painting and then the last one was on customizing furniture again. Whether you wanted to repaint it or refinish it or stain it or strip it. We did that so Just a shout out to the corporate partners who have an interest in supporting military spouses that we are so so happy to work with and we're really really eager to see how much more we can do for the military spouses. Thanks to everyone that we've been working with. It is so neat that these programs you're partnering with sharing with mill spouses. Not only other fun. But they are like a legitimately useful I i mean. I just partnering with lows is so great because i remember being like i don't know twenty five or thirty weeks pregnant laying under my sink undoing pipes and unclogging the sink because maintenance wasn't going to be able to come for like a week or something and drill sergeant. He just did not have time to deal with it and how much easier that have been to be like. Hey how do i fix this sink without making a disaster like exactly exactly this is not even a damsel in distress sits. You know we are not implying that Terry spouses cannot do these things. We are here to empower them to know that. Do them on their own and they will. Because it's it's not that difficult and were here to share those skills with them. It's superfund rate. It helps it you. You just hit the nail on the head. Hi putting tendon. Because we're talking. Improvement couldn't resist You hit the nail on the head there elizabeth because i feel like sometimes when as military spouses the opposite the opposite of empowerment feeling deprivation deprived in kind of at the mercy of the military or if our service members we're going to be home or when maintenance can come but instead of approaching it like that we get the opportunity to really focus on things that we can learn and maybe do ourself and so that we're not so stuck with. I have to wait for someone else. But hey i can handle this. It's really not the damsel in distress situation. I so appreciate what you guys are doing. And how intentional. You are in crafting these programs to fill those needs in that gap elizabeth. I really enjoy learning about everything you guys are doing. I thought i was relatively well-versed. But clearly i had no idea and i just love it. I've enjoyed our conversation so far. So we're gonna take a super quick commercial break and then we'll chat a little bit more about other wonderful things you all are doing with your military spouse programming experience listeners. If you'd like to connect with the uso you can go ahead and find them online on twitter at the underscore uso on instagram and facebook. Simple at the uso. So t h e u s and their website uso dot org forward slash campaign for slash. Coffee dash connection dash live. Or you can also just go on there and look up the military spouse programs stay tuned for the rest of this interview after our quick commercial break we will be right back with more. From elizabeth engage. Educate encourage empower advertise awa has many opportunities for promotion of your bryant service or including web creatives flog posts social media promotion giveaways and podcasts audio commercials. Email empower at army wife network dot com to get started. We sincerely thank you for your support to empower military spouses families and their service members around the globe listeners. We are back talking with. Elizabeth lee program manager for us military spouse programming. The first segment of our interview has already been so enlightening and empowering with all of the programs the you all share for military spouses from the coffee connection. Live to partner with lows and Experiences with careers networking discovering. Your spark how to deal with your service member leaving again so elizabeth. Let's make this a little more personal. Because i can. How did you get employed at the uso and does the uso hire. A lot of most houses This is one of my favorite stories to tell. I have actually been with the uso on and off since two thousand five. So it's been fifteen years. And i was a young not too recent college graduate living and working in the dc area. And while i loved my job. And i loved the hustle and bustle of dc. It was two thousand and five. We were in the height of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. And i just felt like there was more that i could be doing. I had always wanted to work in international business. And what i was doing was marketing and pr for a company in dc. But i saw this job opening for a uso marketing person in okinawa japan. And i don't speak japanese. I had never the japan. But i thought why not. That sounds fun. I was married. I had no kids. I had about two suitcases worth of possessions in life. And so i just on a whim decided to apply for this job and i got it so i packed everything that i had and i moved to okinawa japan in the summer of two thousand and five to start working as a marketing director for uso. Pacific it was. It was the most incredible thing i was in my mid twenties. I didn't know anything about the military. I didn't know anything about international nonprofits but it was the best time of my life So really it was just going out on a whim. Taking a chance in applying for a job that i i ended up getting and since then i've worked in marketing worked in operations I've worked in the pacific region which covers japan korea guam and hawaii and then i worked at uso headquarters and when our family pcs to germany many years later actually had the opportunity to work over there as well. So it's been an amazing journey. And i'm so so fortunate to have been with the uso throughout so many of these moves and to answer your question yes. The us does hire a lot of military spouses It hasn't always been the case. But i'm so so proud. That in the recent years as technology has picked up the uso has been so supportive of military families military spouses and we are enabled to move when our families. Our jobs can stay with us. So like i said i've worked on three different continents and i think i've lost count of how many states i've i've worked the uso while living in but they are very supportive. They know that that uso spouses are capable of military. Spouses are capable of balancing many things of tackling challenges head on in just multitasking. So yes the uso is incredibly military spouse friendly i i i guess. I'm almost speechless. Because i love your story how you almost accidentally got connected with this. But it worked out so beautifully and fifteen years later. You continue to be a mover and shaker and now military spouse and you know making such a difference on so many fronts. i. I love hearing people's stories because it just so encourages and empowers me personally and i know it does the same for our listeners Most jump back a little bit talking more about the uso and so thinking beyond the creating the connections for mill spouses tell us a little bit more about other types of programs that uso offers for military and their families absolutely well. I'm sure a lot of people know or think of the uso associated with entertainment. May who hasn't heard the stories of bob hope going overseas for christmas shows and and to entertain the troops everywhere from vietnam to korea. Everything in between We still have a very strong entertainment department and our entertainment shows a really well known even now during covid we have what we call the mvp of military virtual programming which is sort of the virtual engagement of the entertainment department. So that's definitely something we still do. But you know the uso has a care package program where you can send a care package to a loved one who's deployed. We also have something called uso to go where our programs department literally has put together a uso center in a bunch of boxes and they ship it to wherever people aren't whether they're at a tiny little fob somewhere whether they're out training in the desert or anywhere uso. To go is is a great program where we really are going out to where we are needed Of course our centers. Our uso centers are probably the biggest program that there is They always offer free food and drinks at tv lounge. Free wifi just a place to relax and again whether you're in the airport and you're feeling like you're gonna vip amount or you're at an installation somewhere. They are a place that you know you can always go to see a friendly face We have the bob. Hope legacy reading program which is a program where a service member can read a book and film it record it and send it to a loved one who might not be in the same location which is a great way to stay connected during a deployment We have the uso transitions program which used to be called. The pathfinder program. People might recognize that name. It is completely focused on not just the active duty service member but also their spouse and their family members who are getting ready to transition out of the military and so we work with them in the time leading up to their separation from the military and then for the year afterwards to make sure that they are fully prepared for life after the military whether that's a career thing or maybe a social thing or just getting ready for life when you're when you're no longer part of the military So mean i could go on and on about them but every center has information on both local programs and global programs. So you can find out more about this. At any uso center. I appreciate you mentioning the unlike taking notes over. Here pathfinder program. I i remember you know i recognize it from the pathfinder program. I so i just so cool that you guys focus on the transition also for the military spouse when it comes to making that shift from active duty into civilian world because my husband and i talk about it all the time. We still have a few more years to go but thinking about that transition and how the dynamics chefs from him possibly being the primary breadwinner to perhaps my turn to kind of shifting those roles but also having folks like the uso in our corner to empower us in help make that transition a little bit smoother. So it's not like land in seven forty seven blizzard really sounds Encouraging to me. So i'm personally going to have to look into that leading up to the time where our roles kind of shift So obviously in twenty virtual is the big new thing and not really by choice more like by necessity elizabeth. What is the. Us's military virtual programming. How did that get started. Our military virtual programming is essentially taking everything that we used to do in person for celebrity entertainment and moving it virtual nam. So if you go to uso dot org forward slash vp military virtual programming. You can see not only a list of all the people who joined us for talk but also the recordings so we again. We have had celebrities. We've had chefs. We've had a bill nye. The science guy out roker. We've had anyone that you can imagine who loves to share their support of the military. They come on again. It's on zoom. They are interviewed by a member of our team and they take live questions sometimes on camera and sometimes just through. Qa box from fans from viewers. Around the world. I was just watching all with al roker a couple of weeks ago and they had people come on from insurers turkey. They had people coming on from germany. I mean who doesn't love al roker. We've all grown up. What do the weather on the today show and again. He's just one. I think we've had over sixty four different. Mvp engagements and and this is something that was just born this year. I won't say out of desperation but certainly out of necessity. Think for a while. We've been looking at how we can reach more people and the entertainment tours are amazing but often they go to either secretive locations or very small locations just to bring that little bit of extra joy to those who are harder to reach location through the military virtual programming we took everything virtual and we took those celebrities. Who might be you know taking a helicopter. Way out into the middle of afghanistan and we. We've interviewed them in their homes and we've put it out there for everyone to see again. People can join live or they can watch the recording afterward. And it's just been a really really neat program. I went to the website that you said. Uso dot org four slash mvp. And i am so excited. Like i'm looking at all the upcoming events you guys do so much as like yes just entertainment team for our just today so you know looking at some of these things like three events today and three events tomorrow. Holy cow that is in kuala. You guys are busy. And i love it. That is so neat. And i think when i got on this website. I'm pretty sure. Clint black was the first guy to pop. Up is ma'am it's fine. I'm fan girl. And i love that guy. He's still cool all right. I'm focused. i'm focused elizabeth. Our time together is about to wrap up but again remind our listeners where they can go to find more empowering formation about all things. Uso a military spouse programming. Yes the information is at your fingertips so if you pull up. Uso dot org forward slash military spouse or go on facebook and search for the uso military spouse facebook group. You can find information on all of our programs and any events that are coming up. I would also encourage people to find their local. Uso facebook page. I am fairly certain. That every single uso around the world has its own facebook page. Just type it into the search box and you can find out what's happening locally. And if your uso center nearby is open certainly go in and find out what's happening such good information you guys have guys only have the breadth like a cross. Which have such deep intentional programming and actions. Just it's like a giant web everything's connected but there really is something for everyone when it comes to mill spouse programming and all those resources are so empowering elizabeth which we really appreciate here at army network because as you know empowerment is one of our pivotal cornerstones for all things army wife network and so one of my favorite parts of the show is when we get a chance to ask our guests. What empowerment means to them. So can you tell us how you would complete this sentence. Empowerment is love it to me. Empowerment is something that comes with. Good company will think that being empowered means you can tackle challenges on your own and maybe some people can but to me empowerment is feeling you have the resources support knowledge and confidence to achieve your goals. I've often heard many times in life. It's not what you know. it's who you know. There is power in our connections. I think establishing that tribe and which you guys are doing on so many fronts is very very empowering especially in these times as the pandemic continues and a lot of us are still dealing with that 'isolation giving opportunities to connect virtually with military spouses literally around the globe with celebrities around the world. Just creates such a mazing unique opportunity for military spouses to feel empowered. And so elizabeth. I a i i'm rambling but i am. It takes a lot to make me. But i am so overwhelmed in the most wonderful way with everything you guys are doing for military spouses. It makes us feel special and it really does make us feel empowered. So thank you so much for sharing all this information with us You've won me over even more than before. We started this commerce. We wish you all the best especially as we ramp up to this holiday season. That is gonna look like nothing we've ever experienced before and so we just thank you so much for coming on our show today. Thank you for having me. i appreciate it. We wish you all the best. And now we're gonna back into our studio with our hosts for more empowering un shen thanks to elizabeth lee for sharing power and resources about uso military spouse programs with us this week again if you would like to connect with us military spouse programs check them out online via twitter at the underscore uso instagram and facebook at the uso or on their website uso dot org forward slash programs forward slash military's dash spouse stash programs. Thanks for that reminder jennifer. I'll definitely be following on social media now. What an inspiring show that wise to hear elizabeth speak about making sure we aren't alone as mill spouses really is. What is most important for us since we really can feel pretty isolated sometimes with this lifestyle also listening to them talk about the coffee. Connections makes me really want to go to one stat. When shrida said she was multitasking and adding herself to the uso spouse facebook group. I did the same. I'm so excited. I'm feeling so empowered and really ready to make more connections. What did you think of the show. Amanda i really have to say that i did not realize how many resources the uso military's bounced program provides. I know the uso in the airports on my husband and i have utilized many of those during many of our trips. But i'm really embarrassed to say that. I didn't know that it extended past that on that note a quick. Shout out to the uso. Inside of the seattle tacoma airport. Similar to rita's experience in denver. I too had an incredible experience at the uso. At seatac. i won't go into the details for time sake but the volunteers were more than accommodating and i will forever be grateful for them a during my trip. I was traveling alone with my son and it could have gone all wrong but the volunteers that uso really made sure that wet right so with that being said i too am very excited about the coffee. Connections live being virtual. I think really enhanced is the ability for military spouses to get involved to not have to get dressed up to go somewhere to feel awkward going alone. I think being online. Although that is the new way of things. I think even as an old way it really allows military spouses to engage and feel comfortable because sometimes we are stuck alone and going places that can be very very intimidating so i am very excited to look into that and hopefully join in on the next live and really dig into their website to find out what other resources i can use to help. Improve my life as military spouse. Yes me too. And i feel like i ready for my next trip on. An airplane guys are making me feel really good about it. S we definitely have used used always been to the us. Oh and so many airports in it really. It really is like vip lounge. I think elizabeth made that comment and it definitely feels like that and it really. They really take care of their their military service members as well as houses. That's awesome to feel so appreciated. It's time to take off our full battle rattle and refit for our next show. In the meantime you can join us. Every thursday at noon eastern for our weekly facebook live mill spouse empowerment moments. You can also catch the audio version via our podcast at army wife network tune in for our next full length episode of army wave. Talk radio on monday when our command team member sharia knob lock interviews operation home fronts chief operating officer bob thomas to talk about the organization's pandemic response and holiday services. It's going to be another empowering show before we sign off. We invite you to join army wise network team. If you're interested in joining our band of bloggers or being a guest on this podcast. Email us at info at arnie wife network dot com. It doesn't matter. If you're in a season of hurry up and wait are embracing the suck or keeping calm and soldiering on. We are here for why. Oh you engage. Educate encourage army wave talk. Radio is your source for military life empowerment. This is your army wife network command team signing out. Thank you for tuning tuning into army. Wife talk radio. The views and opinions expressed in our show. Our personal awt are is in no way affiliated with the department of defense or any other branch of the armed services and inclusion in. Our show does not reflect endorsement by the dod any local government or their agencies until the next episode head over to www dot army wife network dot com to connect with all of our empowering resources engage educate encourage wfan is your source or military life empowerment.

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