Helpful Hints from Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program

Guard and Reserve Families: Get Connected!

When National Guard and Reserve members receive orders to deploy, there often isn’t much time to prepare. Knowing about all of the available resources, services, and benefits in advance will help you and your family face deployment more readily.

Have you heard of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program? Managed by the Department of Defense and the Services, Yellow Ribbon connects you with the information and support you may need throughout each stage of the deployment cycle. The program hosts hundreds of free nationwide events specifically tailored for each Service. By attending a local Yellow Ribbon event, you will receive assistance in navigating the challenges of deployment and reintegration.

Experts who understand the deployment experience lead breakout sessions on financial management, legal planning, healthcare, benefits, employment, relationships, and family well-being. Many events also offer special youth programs and free childcare. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with fellow Guard and Reserve families who understand the issues you may be facing.

Your family doesn’t have to deal with the difficulties of deployment in isolation. Reach out to Yellow Ribbon today! Register for an event in your region at www.yellowribbonevents.org.

Marie Balocki is the Director of the Office for Reintegration Programs at the Department of Defense. In addition to being an Army spouse for more than 30 years, she has served military families around the globe as a volunteer and Federal civilian for 18 years.

Support Guard and Reserve Members in Your Community! 

In towns and communities across the country, National Guard and Reserve members are living double lives. Forget what you’ve seen in spy movies! These men and women are not only maintaining civilian lifestyles, but they also can be called to military service at any time. Guard and Reserve members regularly drill and train in preparation for national emergencies, like disaster relief, international missions, or combat overseas.

In recent years, the nation has increasingly called on the Guard and Reserve more frequently and for longer deployments. Last year, Service members averaged more than 130 Active Duty days. This trend is expected to continue.

What does that mean to those of us in the community? You probably know someone in the Guard and Reserve or someone with a family member who serves. The stress of multiple deployments weighs heavily on those Service members and their loved ones. They need the ongoing support of their friends, neighbors and local resource providers.

For the last five years, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program has also stepped in to share the information and resources that help Service members and their families navigate the challenges of deployment. Yellow Ribbon offers free events nationwide, specifically tailored for each Service and stage of the deployment cycle. Experts lead breakout sessions on financial management, legal planning, health care, benefits, employment, relationships, and family well-being. Participants also have the opportunity to connect with fellow Guard and Reserve families who understand the issues you may be facing. Many events also offer special youth programs and free childcare.

Help us spread the word to Service members and their families in your community. Learn more about Yellow Ribbon at www.yellowribbon.mil or find an event in your region at www.yellowribbonevents.org.

Marie Balocki is the Director of the Office for Reintegration Programs at the Department of Defense. In addition to being an Army spouse for more than 30 years, she has served military families around the globe as a volunteer and Federal civilian for 18 years.

Guard and Reserve Members: Deployment Checklist

When you receive military orders, time to prepare is often limited. This quick checklist is designed to help you ensure your affairs are in order and your family is ready, no matter how long the mission.

  • Update important documents, including Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), ID cards, living will, beneficiaries on financial accounts and Powers of Attorney.
  • Create a spending plan that includes your income and expenses (both planned and emergency).
  • Designate a trusted person to monitor your finances during deployment and be sure he or she has access to all account numbers and passwords.
  • Double check that your will is up to date and accurately captures your wishes regarding property, assets and the guardianship of any minor children.
  • Develop a family communication plan to help you set and manage each other’s expectations during deployment. Define the methods that work best (email, letters, instant message, Skype).

For more intensive preparation, attend a free Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program event in your region. Yellow Ribbon events are tailored to every Service and deployment stage, offering information for military members and their loved ones. Led by deployment experts, the events include free sessions on financial management, legal planning, health care, benefits, employment, relationships, and family well-being. Participants also have the opportunity to build support networks with fellow Guard and Reserve families.

Get connected today! Find and register for a free event in your community at www.yellowribbonevents.org.

Travis Bartholomew is the Director of Outreach Services for the Office for Reintegration Programs at the Department of Defense. He has 16 years of experience serving in the Army Reserve, including deployments, and  13 years of experience serving military families as a Federal civilian. 

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