Why National Guard Spouses Need This Survey More Than Ever
I consider myself a very lucky military spouse. My husband and I have the best of both worlds — surrounded by an incredible civilian community, but also the love and support of our military family. We are an Army National Guard family, and while this is just one of the many reasons why we are lucky, it can also be difficult to transition from one lifestyle to another. We have the constant feeling of not really belonging fully to one life, and being a part of both lives simultaneously for 12 years, you sometimes just have that need to belong to only one.
It isn’t any secret that I spend my days advocating and helping other National Guard families such as myself through the many challenges we incur, such as;
- Having little to no resources specific to our family unit.
- Living off and far away from military installations and other military families.
- Learning how to quickly switch between the civilian/military mode when spouses are whisked away for training or deployments.
- When spouses leave, many take a huge pay cut from their civilian jobs, leaving families in a financial burden.
- Stress on the family unit, especially the children. Guard kids have to learn to be both civilian and military kids, which can be exhausting and very stressful on them.
- A huge disconnect between the military and family level — lacking programs and funding at the state level.
These are just a few of the current challenges of a National Guard family. Can you imagine if there were something we could do to help our voice be heard?
Well, there is.
I have been running the Homefront United Network for seven years and I can honestly say that it hasn’t been easy gathering information from spouses. Many feel as if their voice won’t matter, or that it just won’t make a difference. It does! In these 12 years of being a National Guard family, we have made considerable progress. There is always something that we can do, but we can’t do it alone. We need your voice.
If you aren’t familiar with the Military Family Advisory Network, they are a nonprofit that convenes leaders and influencers within the military community for two primary reasons: to understand the needs of our families, and make sure military families are aware of the programs and resources designed to serve them. This year they will be re-launching their Military Family Support Programming Survey. The last survey was conducted in 2014, and in order to prevent from overwhelming the community, they run this survey every few years.
Without the participation of military families, there really can’t be an accurate reporting, can there?
The MFAN survey is thorough, collects valuable feedback, and acts as a voice for the military community. As a National Guard family member, you are contributing your voice to this important research, which is necessary to make changes in our military family community. And there can’t be any change if you don’t stand up and say something! The survey is completely anonymous and only takes minutes to complete. It is only open from Oct. 9 to November 12, so get a jump on it!
If you are a National Guard family member, I encourage you to take this survey. This will be a vital step in helping future military families. Let’s do this together.
For more on the MFAN Military Family Support Programming Survey please click here.
About the blogger
Angela Caban is an Army National Guard spouse, freelance writer, published author and branding expert. Her husband was one of the many soldiers impacted by the unprecedented activation of the National Guard in 2008. In 2010, she founded the Homefront United Network, a military spouse and family support blog created to assist spouses who do not live near an installation, but also focusing on bridging the gap between National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty spouses. As a branding and digital influencer, she has created content for A&E, Lifetime Network and PBS. Currently she serves as a community manager for USAA, writing about her experiences in deployment and military life. She has an extensive background in human resources and communications, with her bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in human resources. Angela resides in the beautiful Garden State of New Jersey with her husband and two children.