(STATEPOINT) When was the last time you thanked a military member or veteran for their service? November is National Veterans and Military Family Appreciation Month and an excellent time to celebrate, support and honor service members.
That’s why Points of Light, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people to take action that changes the world, is sharing ways you can get involved, along with the stories of former military members already doing so. From volunteering to donating and beyond, these ideas are based on the Points of Light Civic Circle®, a framework that highlights nine pathways to boosting social impact.
1. Listen and learn. Being informed about an issue can help you think more critically, make better decisions, and lend stronger support. Check out two podcasts created by Military OneSource. Covering topics like deployment, casualty assistance, money management and parenting, they are designed to help military members and families thrive, and can help others understand the difficulties of military life.
2. Volunteer. Hands-on support is some of the most impactful work you can do in the nonprofit sector, and organizations rely heavily on volunteer power to carry out their missions. The American Red Cross is currently recruiting caseworkers for military members, veterans, and families. This volunteer role requires some training, but can be carried out from anywhere, and shifts are flexible. Whether you’re looking for remote or in-person volunteer opportunities, search Points of Light Engage, the world’s most comprehensive database of volunteer opportunities around the globe.
You can also get inspired by such dedicated volunteers as Navy servicewoman and Daily Point of Light Honoree Michaela White. For the past two years, she’s advocated for mental health in the military, volunteering her time with Patrol Base Abbate, a nonprofit that fosters community and purpose among service members and veterans.
3. Donate. Nonprofits and NGOs are dependent on donations to pay their staff, recruit volunteers and execute their high-impact work. This year marks Wounded Warrior Project’s 20th anniversary. You can support its mission of providing career and VA benefits counseling, mental health support, adaptive sports initiatives and more, by making a donation for National Veterans and Military Family Appreciation Month.
4. Celebrate, thank and honor veterans. Veterans and their family members are everywhere – from working alongside you to doing everyday things like grocery shopping, eating at a restaurant and more. Consider ways you can celebrate and honor military members or veterans in your community. It might be as simple as thanking a coworker for their service, writing a “Thank You” note and dropping it off at your local VA, or sending one virtually through Soldiers’ Angels. You might also attend a Veterans Day parade or event in your community, or simply ask a veteran about their service. These gestures can go a long way in helping veterans and service members feel seen and appreciated.
Retired fireman, Army veteran and Daily Point of Light Honoree Tom Schneider is a great example of someone who integrates his work with causes he cares about. Since 2017, he’s extended a helping hand to those devastated by floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and even plane crashes as an American Red Cross volunteer.
From volunteering your time and talent, to contributing your resources, there are many ways to honor former and current military members and their families this month.
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