En Familia, April 2023
April and May celebrate the valuable contributions of military families. April is the month of the military child and May honors military spouses. Those in uniform and retirees know how much military families sacrifice for the nation. Military families make a difference daily by responding to a call they did not volunteer for and supporting their Service Members without fully understanding the complexities of military life.
The military lifestyle requires constant changes, increased adaptability, multiple moves, and high levels of flexibility. Resilience becomes an integral part of the heart of military families. Every set of orders generates uprooting and replanting cycles impacting homes, friends, hobbies, schools, and other activities. Military families find ways to remain fruitful through the challenges of deployments, exercises, long hours, training, and demanding lives. While the journey is full of requirements, military families find a way to move forward.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III recently released a plan to strengthen the well-being of military families and the U.S. military force. This plan described the following six lines of effort:
- Universal prekindergarten at Department of Defense Education Activity schools. Congress is helping identify funding for this program.
- Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts for Service Members. Dependent Care FSAs will partially alleviate financial pressure affecting Service Members with dependents.
- New military parental leave benefits. The new parental leave benefits offer 12 weeks of paid, non-chargeable leave to Service Members welcoming a child through birth, adoption, or long-term foster care.
- Improvements to the Exceptional Family Member Program. The DoD plans to make the EFM program work more effectively for military families.
- Expanded spouse eligibility for My Career Advancement Account financial assistance. This helpful program will cover E-6 and O-3 military spouses in obtaining a license, certificate, or associate degree.
- Portability and best practices for professional licenses. The DoD plans to keep advocating for military families holding professional licenses facing challenges in portability after moving while executing orders. The goal is to increase employment opportunities for military spouses after relocation.
ANSO joins in these military families’ observances. Part of our Latino/Hispanic heritage is the value of family. The most recent U.S. Census data highlights how 90% of Latino/Hispanic parents share meals frequently with their children (Mayol-Garcia, 2022). Family meals together increase positive youth outcomes and lead to improved family functioning. As Service Members from a Latino/Hispanic heritage, building lasting memories with our families becomes foundational. These are the times to share our values, discuss what gives meaning and purpose in life, and express the importance of sacrificial living as the basics of military life.
En Familia, ANSO celebrates, honors, and appreciates military families!
Mayol-Garcia, Y. (October 11, 2022). 90% of Hispanic Parents Shared Frequent Meals With Their Children. United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/10/family-dinner-more-common-hispanic-and-immigrant-families.html