Where to start?! This past year has been unbelievable! Just thinking about everything that happened brings tears to my eyes! Tears not just for what happened to me, but what I have been able to do for others.
When I received this award I told myself, “this is not a reward for what you have done, but a chance to help your community and accomplish larger goals.” Winning the Armed Forces Insurance Air Force Spouse of the Year® award has opened the door of opportunity to do greater things. I will always be thankful for the support and trust that others have in me, and the programs I have subsequently developed.
The Air Force Spouse of the Year title gave me the opportunity to reach out to spouses that needed assistance and military leaders that sought guidance improving the support system that families receive. This past year, I have advocated for military families with Congressional leaders, and on a more personal level, with spouses at Air Force installations throughout the nation.
One of my platforms was to improve and advocate for the Air Force Key Spouse Program. What follows is a brief list of what I accomplished for this platform.
-I was invited to brief the Key Spouse Program at the CORONA Conference (4 Star General and Spouses) at the Air Force Academy. It was a wonderful event where I was able to share the benefits of this program with a variety of leaders.
-I started a facebook page called “AF Key Spouses Network” that now has 570 followers, most of them Key Spouses from all over the world. This is place where I share new ideas, proposals, encouragement and assistance for all key spouses.
– I assisted Air Force Commanders and Key Spouse Mentors to establish a successful and active key spouse team at their squadrons by attending Commanders calls and promoting the Key Spouse informative table at various events.
-I introduced the Key Spouse Crisis Intervention Course that I developed with Family Advocacy to Air Force installations around the nation. More Key Spouses are better prepared and trained to assist families in need as a result.
– I hosted a Key Spouse Program Training Webinar sponsored by MSOY program. We had attendees from all over the world!
– I provided training for 55 new Wing Commander Spouses and 42 Company Grade Officers on the Key Spouse Program and its benefits.
Today, I am still promoting and advocating for the Key Spouse Program at a squadron, group, wing, and Air Force Level.
My second platform was to provide training, resources, and tools of resiliency for spouses– utilizing the Strength for Spouses training I developed. Thanks to the MSOY award, I was alble to expand my platform to a higher level of advocacy. Thus, Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN) was born. MSAN was founded as an advocacy program for military spouses that encourages spouses to gain their confidence and skills needed to make their voices heard. MSAN offers different tools and resources that provide education, trainings, webinars, resources, and much more information. MSAN has support from Military leaders; 50% of our advisory board is completed by military leaders.
In regards to this platform, I have accomplished the following:
– I helped Holloman Air Force Base Public Affairs with the production of the Strength for Spouses reintegration video which works to impart resiliency/PTSD/suicide awareness.
– I acted as a spokeswoman on CNN/Univision/NBCLatino and covered sequestrations impact on military families.
– I guided two webinars sponsored by the MSOY program, Tricare and Military OneSource.
– And, I met with DoDEA Director in DC to advocate for special needs programs and education for kids with special needs.
This past July we PCSed to Holloman AFB and although it took a lot of my time and energy, I made sure that I had enough time to keep advocating for my Air Force family.
Words cannot express my gratitude for the support I have received from my family, the MSOY team, friends, other SOYs, and installation winners. Your trust in my ideas helped me accomplish goals that I never thought I would, and you inspire me to do more!
Right now, it is almost the end of this wonderful experience, but it is NOT the end of my dedication to you and your family. There remains work to be done and I will continue to contribute with all that I have. There are a lot of wonderful adventures on the horizon, and finishing my year does not mean that it is the end of this amazing journey.
I am no different that any of you. All of you sacrifice, face challenges, help and improve your community. Today, I am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to turn my goals into accomplishments. Thank you all for what you do!
I would like to leave you with a few links that have been of great importance to me. I encourage you to check them out!