As a military spouse and mom, I’m always looking for new resources to help me navigate this crazy world. Problem is, there’s so many out there and most of them we never hear about! Where do we turn to solve our problems?
Who’s going to understand my spouse’s TBI? Hell, how am I going to understand it?
What are the good and bad neighborhoods for our next station?
How am I supposed to explain to my trans child the difficulties they’ll inevitably face?
Who can I trust?
How am I supposed to raise a baby by myself?
We have so many unanswered questions when something happens to us, and we never know where to turn. Until now.
Below I’ve compiled an ever-expanding list of some amazing resources for military families, spouses, and children. This list is specifically dedicated to the underutilized and unknown programs available to us. The ones we never hear about – the ones that completely blow our minds when we finally find them.
Each list has it’s own section and each resource is linked to their website for easy access. I plan to add to each and every list as I find more resources.
If you know of any resources you’ve used and would like to add, email me or add a comment below and I’ll check it out!
MilitaryFamilyBooks.com – an online store designed for military families and supporting organizations to purchase books, magazines, and other military-related materials. Their large list of items for sale include marriage resilience books, coloring and activity books, posters, religious materials, magazines, and even cookie care packages.
Dogs on Deployment – Founded by a dual-military couple facing simultaneous orders overseas, Dogs on Deployment is a non-profit online network designed to help military members locate volunteer pet care during deployments and other obligations. They also provide financial assistance during cases of emergency.
Military Crashpad – Founder John Buckinghman, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, came up with the idea of crash pads in 2013. These crash pads are fully furnished for TDY assignments. They boast a $60/night rental fee, bi-weekly maid service, Lyft credits, and fully-stocked kitchens.
Quantum Leap Farm – An equine therapy farm in Florida with a military program dedicated to assist both military members and family members. Their Mission: Retreat is a five-day therapy program to help those with PTSD, TBI’s, chronic pain, and sexual trauma.
They also have a WoW program (in partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project) for female caregivers in need of rejuvenation. Quantum Leap Farm also runs a Military Family Fun Day four times a year complete with a free lunch and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Horses4Heroes – An affiliate network of nearly 300 facilities, Horses4Heroes provides military families with the opportunity to relax and reconnect with each other and nature. They offer free or heavily discounted horse riding experiences at each of their facilities with a reach in 45 states and Canada, so there’s sure to be one near you. Veterans, survivors, and first responders all receive free membership, and $25 family memberships are available to additional heroes such as nurses or special education teachers.
Operation We Are Here – An online resource directory of support organizations and information available to military families. Covering topics such as adoption and infertility, pet care, tax preparation, divorce, and counseling, this site is sure to have information you need to get through whatever moment you face in life.
Blue Star Families – Created in 2009 by military spouses in need of a better community, Blue Star Families works to provide resources to help foster a better life for military families. These include access to museums, parks, theaters and community events.
They also offer spouse career resources including job fairs, boards, and mentorship. Resources for caregivers and volunteer opportunities are also available. Click here to locate your nearest Blue Star community.
Give An Hour – A free online mental health resource for military members needing a bit of help. Since 2005, Give An Hour has provided free mental health care to active duty and veterans, National Guard, and Reserve service members as well as their families. Each applicant is provided with free counseling from a licensed professional for one hour a week for at least a year. Applicants are able to switch counselors if needed, and since these sessions are anonymous, military members have the assurance this will not appear on their records. Click here for more information.
PLEASE NOTE: Give An Hour does not provide emergency services. For immediate help call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, Veterans press 1.
American Military Partner Association – Created in 2012, AMPA has become the nation’s largest LGBTQ resource and support network. They provide an endless network of resources unique to the LGBTQ community, including a military spouse educational scholarship, civil rights advocacy, support group events, and educational resources.
Al-Anon Family Groups – Althought Al-Anon does not provide services specific to the military community, they do provide anonymous online and telecommunication family support meetings. These meetings can provide a way for military members, spouses, parents, and even children to express their thoughts and relieve some of the tension as they help their family member or friend on the road to recovery.
Al-Anon also has a special community called Alateen for kids who need a safer community to work out their emotions and thoughts. Click here to check out Alateen meetings.
ID.me – ID.me provides online membership verification for military members, veterans, and first responders. This verification is often used with online retail companies who provide discounts to military and their families.
VetTix – A non-profit dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences for military members, veterans, their families, and gold star families. Their aim is to relieve the stress military families deal with through separations, deployments, and other issues, by providing tickets to family experiences and events for free or at a steep discount.
Cohen Veterans Network – A network of mental health clinics throughout the country focused specifically for veterans. Click here to see their Telehealth counseling option for those who are unable to reach a clinic.
CVN and VetTix have recently partnered up to increase and integrate the need for mental health wellness for military families. Read more about it here.
GovX – An e-commerce company focused solely on giving back to military and first responders. They boast hefty discounts on everything from apparel and camping gear to event and travel tickets. Whether you need accessories for your new weapon or a nice pair of Ray-Bans, GovX is your go-to for discounts.
PCS Pay-It-Forward – Founded by Lauren Taylor after some serious PCS frustration, PCS Pay-It-Forward is an online network of “PCS communities” designed to avoid the inevitable rental scams and frustrations of temporary housing many military families face. This program provides resources to help make incoming families’ lives easier and helps them get situated in their new area.
Military Bridge – An online business directory focused on helping military families obtain information, reviews, and discounts for local businesses. Military Bridge strives to “bridge the gap” between military families and their new communities, offering fully-vetted local resources and reviews for businesses, services, non-profits, programs, appreciation events, and much more.
Homewatch Caregivers – Although not geared solely towards the military community, Homewatch Caregivers is an in-home care option for disabled military veterans as they offer VA Aid as part of their financial plans.
Mission: Sleep – Mission: Sleep is the non-profit organization under Let Mommy Sleep, a company that provides newborn assistance care for new moms. This program provides military and first responder families with night nurse and postpartum assistance during deployments and other family stresses. Mission: Sleep currently holds program availability in Washington, D.C., northern New Jersey, south Florida, Philadelphia, and Las Vegas.
InDependent – An online community for military spouses to harness their superpowers and create a life of wellbeing and fulfillment. InDependent hosts an annual Military Spouse Wellness Summit full of podcast interviews, seminars, cooking demos, workouts, and endless connections.
Military Spouse JD Network – If you’ve ever wanted to become an attorney, this is the site for you. Formed in 2011, MSJDN helps military spouses attain and maintain careers in the legal field. They advocate for licensing accomodations and bar membership, especially during a PCS. MSJDN even has a search option for those in need of an attorney and would prefer a military spouse as their representation.
Stroller Warriors Running Club – I’m a bit biased on this one since I’m a member of my local chapter, but if you’re looking for a way to get back in shape and meet some amazing people, this is a great community to join. Stroller Warriors is a free running club for military spouses and their families. They have annual goal tracking, community outreach opportunities, and some pretty swanky fitness gear. Whether you run with or without a stroller, with your kids on bikes, or don’t run at all, Stroller Warriors will provide you with stress relief, memories, fitness, and friendship all at once.
eMentor – Everyone needs a mentor, even veterans and military spouses. eMentor is an online mentoring network that connects field experts with career hopefuls to help guide and support them as they work towards their goals. They also hold webinars and events on a variety of topics. This program is a great fit for anyone, whether you’re a military spouse looking to break into the medical field, or a recently-discharged veteran wanting to start their own business. eMentor has specialized communities for women in the military, military entrepeneurs, as well as veterans and military spouses.
Organized Chaos – Not a website, but an app! Organized Chaos is an app designed specifically for planning out your military life. As of right now, the app is still in the works, but those interested are able to sign up for alerts on their website when it launches.
Military Spouse Advocacy Network – Calling all new spouses, fiances, and others who feel completely lost! I wish I had known about this group when I first got married. MSAN is an online peer mentorship program designed to bring new and soon-to-be military spouses gently into the military world. From deployments to careers to maintaining your sanity, MSAN is an excellent resource and network tool for those who just don’t understand what all these damn acronyms mean.
Macho Spouse – An interactive online resource of educational videos and tools for male military spouses by male military spouses. Macho Spouse was created by Chris Pape after realizing male spouses don’t truly have a space to call their own. You can check out their Facebook page here.
Little Patriots Embraced – A non-profit dedicated to strengthening the lives of military children. Little Patriots is best known for their deployment package program, which provides military families facing a deployment with a package designed to help alleviate the children’s stress and anxiety. These packages include a Little Patriot Bear, journals and a pen, a CD, and a handmade quilt. Little Patriots Embraced also hosts youth programs, including Military Kids Fit For Life, Project Bear Essentials, and the LPE Military Youth Tour.
MilKids Ed – Created by homeschool coach Meg Flanagan, MilKids Ed aims to serve as a bridge between military families and local school systems. Through her coaching services, Flanagan hopes to help parents of military children reconnect with their local schools in a combined effort to improve the wellness and education of the child involved.
MilPride – Created in 2018 under the wing of American Military Partner Association, MilPride serves as a advocate and education resource for military families with LGBT children. Founders Amanda Brewer and Jess Girven are both military spouses with transgender children, and immediately became their biggest advocates. The two moms formed MilPride to ensure every family felt included no matter where they are in the world.
Sesame Street Workshop – To help military children handle the stresses of the military life, Sesame Street Workshop created the Talk, Listen, Connect initiative. In the three part toolkit, children (and families) learn how to handle a deployment, a wounded family member, and even the possibility of death. As of 2009, the initiative found that 71% of caregivers have seen an improvement in their child’s ability to cope with an injured family member. The study also found preschoolers were exhibiting less aggressive and negative behaviors, such as impatience and demanding of others, after using the materials.
Amazon jobs – No matter where you are in the world, Amazon has a job for your child. All dependents 18 years and older with a high school diploma or equivalent are able to apply to Amazon military dependent jobs. These jobs widely range in experience, flexibility, and requirements, so check back regularly to see if anything new pops up.
Armed Services YMCA – With their Operation Outdoors program, the ASYMCA offers children of junior enlisted service members the opportunity to participate in outdoor camp and camping programs. Through this program, their goals are to help foster outdoor environmental education, improve social skills, and empower military children with the tools and resources they need to help cope with the stresses of military life.
Deployment Kids – A simple site with a plethora of information geared towards children facing a deployment. From distance calculators to location highlights, from journaling ideas and activities to coloring pages and crafts, Deployment Kids is your one-stop-shop for helping a child cope through their family separation. They offer free downloads, endless resource guides, and so much more.
Do you know of more resources I forgot to add? Let us know in the comments, or visit our Contact page.