Homefront Help

June 15, 2011
By Rita Boland, SIGNAL Connections

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between. In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's website, when available. Homefront Help also has a Facebook page where visitors can gather and share information.

Armed Forces Vacation Club

This special travel organization offers service members and other U.S. Defense Department personnel a chance to enjoy vacations for discount prices at more than 3,500 time share properties in approximately 80 countries. Through the deals, travelers can stay at locations without buying into a time share or even attending a presentation for one, if they so choose. Several different types of deals are available including: space available, a seven-night vacation option typically during the off season and/or on very short notice for $369; high-demand weekly rentals in popular locations during peak season but at discounted commercial rates; nightly getaways; and special offers from lodging locations that may include car rentals or other discounts. 

Anyone looking for a present idea for their loved one in the military can purchase gift certificates for Armed Forces Vacation Club travel through the organization's website. A link near the bottom of the page takes veterans to a vacation site designed specifically for them; another does the same for government employees.

Navy MWR Cabins and RV Parks

Members of the military community more interested in outdoor recreation than resorts should enjoy the U.S. Navy's Moral, Welfare and Recreation site. It lists Navy campgrounds in many states around the country, including Hawaii, as well as in Italy and Japan. Basic information about each campground is provided and links take users to more detailed resources. The facilities offer different accommodations such as tent or RV sites or rental cabins. Other amenities may include water sports, playgrounds and hiking trails.

Military Children Resource Guide

Summer vacation doesn't necessarily mean happiness for all school kids. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury released in April the Children of Military Service Members Resource Guide to help children affected by the stresses of a military lifestyle at any time of the year. This online document is designed for families and health care providers to use as they address the mental and emotional health needs of toddlers to teenagers. Various age-appropriate resources are identified under topic areas such as deployment, homecoming, loss of a parent and moving.

The SIGNAL Connections staff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to Rita Boland, SIGNAL's news editor.

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