During her time as first lady, Michelle Obama has made a big, positive impact on the quality of life for military families. Despite displaying yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbons, many Americans don't really understand the unique challenges faced by military families. Joining Forces, the nationwide initiative launched by the first lady, has made great strides in raising awareness and increasing support. If you're not aware of what Joining Forces is all about, take a look at the video below that summarizes its accomplishments, from highlighting its first year and future goals.
Improving the quality of life for military families, the initiative has been instrumental in the following two ways:
Employment: Employers across the country have pledged to hire more veterans and military spouses because of the Joining Forces initiative. Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have also fought for legislation that would make professional license portability for military spouses much easier. Military wives with careers requiring state licensure (e.g. nurses, massage therapists, stylists), for example, often have a difficult time finding employment when deployed to a new state, especially when the state doesn't recognize their professional credentials.
- Healthcare for veterans: Joining Forces has worked to improve medical education in regard to conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to improve the quality of care for active military and veterans alike.
Joining Forces has had tremendous success with big platform issues, especially issues that require the cooperation of legislatures.
Semper Fi Fund
The Semper Fi Fund helps injured military veterans. It's able to provide help because of the generous donations from private citizens and corporate sponsors. Go Daddy Executive Chairman and Founder Bob Parsons is one such sponsor. Bob Parsons and his wife Renee Parsons created the charitable foundation, The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, and it's raised $1 million for the Semper Fi Fund. For Parsons, who served in the marine corps during Vietnam, the mission of the Semper Fi Fund remains close to his heart.
Wounded Warrior Project
The Wounded Warrior Project serves military veterans in need. WWP focuses on service members and veterans injured or affected from the September 11 attacks. Through a variety of initiatives, it assists warriors with physical and mental injuries who return to civilian life. WWP has achieved major traction because of its support for Tough Mudder, a company that designs, builds and runs 10-12 mile-high intensity obstacle courses that are held all over the world. At the beginning of 2013, Tough Mudder raised over $4 million for the organization.
Plenty of other organizations and influential individuals, such as philanthropist and businessman Bob Parsons, are out there working to help our soldiers and veterans, but they need your help. Some need volunteers, others need funding. Every ounce of awareness and dollar raised can help us give back to the people who give everything to maintain our freedom. What military-focused charities or causes do you support? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.