In addition to the many direct benefits AFCEA International offers to its members, the association features a more indirect one: an information resource for members of the military community and people who wish to support them. Homefront Help is a feature of SIGNAL's blog, SIGNAL Scape, that calls attention to programs or organizations established to offer support to troops, wounded warriors, veterans and their families.
This assistance includes mainstream forms of help such as care packages, educational scholarships, grants for other needs, counseling and jobs. But those efforts are only part of the story. People across the world are using their different talents to support the military, offering many types of alternative outreach programs, including pieces of art or art therapy, horse riding opportunities, retreats for children with deployed parents and help adopting pets.
Anyone holding a military-issued identification card can see the immediate value of Homefront Help, but it offers plenty of benefits to others in the AFCEA community as well. Association members can use it to find ways to volunteer or to donate to a good cause. Corporations and divisions can take advantage of the resource to fill internal needs. For example, an office could center a team-building activity around collecting items or creating care packages for Operation Gratitude. Or, a group could make dinner for residents at a Fisher House. People who appreciate their morning caffeine might want to sponsor cups of coffee for troops through the Cup of Joe for a Joe program. Most of the organizations featured in the blog actively seek volunteers and donations, and Homefront Help usually provides outlines of their services as well as links to more information about how to participate.
The blog not only lists ongoing programs but also informs readers of short-term efforts focused around holidays or immediate needs, so people who want to participate in a one-time project can support the military community in that way. Companies searching for a nonprofit organization to sponsor with a golf tournament or other fundraiser can use the Homefront Help posts to find a worthwhile cause. In addition, AFCEA members can use Homefront Help to publicize their own military-support activities. They can post information about upcoming events on the Homefront Help Facebook page or send the information to SIGNAL's News Editor Rita Boland for inclusion on SIGNAL Scape.
Of course, one of the major benefits offered through AFCEA is the opportunity to network, and Homefront Help is no exception. Readers are encouraged to comment on any blog posts. Even more interaction and late-breaking information is available through the Facebook page, which includes every item posted on the blog along with some original content. Visitors can peruse posts, start and engage in discussions, and promote any organizations they support or admire.
AFCEANs seeking more information and opportunities to engage with others can visit SIGNAL's "A Salute to Veterans, Troops and Their Families" website. The posted articles are dedicated to particular segments of the military community. Each story mentions several programs and what they do. People can leave their own messages in the "Share Your Thoughts" section.
The most important part about Homefront Help is not the one-stop shop for finding assistance or a way to help. It is the help itself and the concrete aid given to those who bear the brunt of war and the sacrifices that entails. Through Homefront Help, heroes can find the support that lets them know they are not forgotten, and association members can find another way to help their fellow AFCEANs and everyone who experiences the toils of war firsthand.
For more information about Homefront Help or to suggest an organization or program to feature on the blog and Facebook page, contact SIGNAL's News Editor Rita Boland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-631-6185.