We are so excited to introduce you to our January Milspouse Influencer of the Month. Lauren Taylor, founder of the mission-driven PCS Pay-it-Foward®, is doing awesome things for military communities around the country. Read on to see how a normal military spouse with the same challenges you face sees a problem and creates the solution. You might just get inspired to start something like this yourself!
If you are or you know a Military Spouse Influencer who you think we should meet, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What does daily life look like in your shoes?
My daily life is rather normal. I work from my small home office to build and implement new benefits for PCS Pay-it-Forward®. This allows me to be flexible to my families needs through out the day. I have 3 boys under the age of 7. My oldest two boys are in kindergarten and 2nd grade, my youngest attends preschool 3 days a week and is home with me on the others.
My goal has always been to provide stability for my boys to offset my husband’s crazy schedule, but also to apply myself to something I’m passionate about. That why I got into real estate. We had a horrible experience buying our first home and I was hoping to make the process easier for other military families in San Diego. Little did I know what it would turn into…
2. Tell us about your organization and how it advocates for military spouses?
I started PCS Pay-it-Forward® in San Diego over 2 years ago. There are many resources for families who are wanting to purchase homes and agents jump at the chance to offer their services. But unfortunately, there is no significant compensation for agents to help families find rentals, this left a great amount of our military families under-served and with little-to-no support. Then I met two families who motivated me to create a solution for this problem.
One family had flown into San Diego for 2 days for rental house hunting and had 9 out of 10 agents cancel their showings, leaving the family lost and without a plan. A second family spent the first 6 weeks of their newborn’s life (also with two toddlers) in Navy Lodge because it was so difficult to identify their new home. These two instances back to back inspired me to try to create a better all-encompassing resource for incoming families.
PCS Pay-it-Forward® are crowd-sourced military support communities for incoming families with 2 primary missions.
- Reduce the number of families falling victim to fraudulent rental scams
- Reduce the need for interim housing for incoming families
We encourage all community members to participate in the support of incoming families by answering questions and posting pictures of rental signs in their neighborhoods. Our members are largely comprised of military spouses as we’ve found they handle the majority of identifying neighborhoods and homes for their families.
After the success of the San Diego PCS Pay-it-Forward® community, we began a nationwide expansion to support other military bases across the country. We partner with Veteran or MilSpouse Real Estate Agents in the area to facilitate the communities and grow the mission.
In 2018, we expanded to over 60 duty stations and our membership just passed over 14,000 military families.
It’s been an amazing adventure to watch military spouses step up to support one another all across the country in this Pay-it-Forward® movement. They don’t participate because they have to, they participate because they want to help, which I think is a beautiful representation of the culture surrounding our military spouse community.
Everyday we see friends reuniting in our communities as they find that someone they served with at MacDill will be waiting to greet them at Norfolk or one of the many other communities across the country.
3. What is your ultimate goal?
The goal with PCS Pay-it-Forward® is to create the greatest network of military spouses and veterans today, connected by a common goal, helping one another in their communities.
Although our mission is seeded in relocation support, we are proud that our military families continue to step up to Pay-it-Forward® in all aspects of military life. We will continue to strive to make this a positive network grounded in our mission of helping one another.
We have currently identified approximately 125 military bases with more than 1,000 active duty servicemembers stationed at each and our goal for 2019 is to partner with local military agents to open support communities for all 125 bases.
We are also working to expand our benefits for our members. As a thank for you Paying-it-Forward®, we’ve had a number of national partners step up to offer discounts and exclusive offers to our members and we want to continue to build these relationships to benefit our communities.
4. What advice do you have for military spouses?
Get involved! This life can be very isolating, but by joining a PCS Pay-it-Forward® community you can connect with other local families in away that transcends your single duty station.
Also, for those spouses out there who see a problem that is negatively impacting our community, consider creating a solution. That’s how I discovered my passion. I saw an issue, and created a solution. Sometimes the simplest solutions make the greatest impact. Enlist the help of your fellow spouses. Together we can accomplish amazing things!
5. Tell us a fun fact about your military life.
Omg! Is there any such thing as a fun fact about military life?! Haha! I never thought I would marry someone in the military, but I’m so grateful that I did. We have been given so much from this life and this community. While some couples find deployments to be tough on their relationships, our two deployments brought me and my husband even closer together. It helped me realize all the little things he did to make our family life easier. Although it is so difficult to be far apart, I’m now grateful we had that time to really appreciate what we do for each other.
Thanks for sharing a little bit of your story, Lauren! We can’t wait to see what more PCS Pay-It-Forward does to help our military communities.