“Thomas,” a Marine Corps Veteran, widower and single father of a four-year-old girl, was in need of school supplies so “Maria” could start school. Having difficulty navigating his way as a newly widowed dad, Thomas was also unemployed and had put off searching for work so he could make sure his daughter’s needs were being met. Everything changed the day he contacted United Way’s 2-1-1 Help Line. MISSION UNITED was able to provide dignity and compassion for Thomas and school supplies for Maria.
Texas has the third largest population of active duty service members in the United States and San Antonio is proud to be home to roughly a quarter of those service members.
Many military and Veteran families face unique needs that can stem from the challenging life circumstances faced by these families, such as frequent relocations and separations, physical and/or emotional trauma, and high levels of social isolation and stress. These circumstances, combined with a culture in which military members perceive negative consequences for seeking help, make military and Veteran families reluctant to seek support and important to assist.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County recently received a five-year $2.5 million Services to Military and Veteran Families (SMVF) grant from the State of Texas to benefit local active duty, National Guard, reserve, and Veteran parents and their children.
The SMVF program will coordinate resources and efforts to promote positive outcomes for Texas military service members, Veterans, and families with children between zero and 17 years of age. By building on the strengths of both caregivers and children, the SMVF program will promote strong families, support positive parental involvement in their children’s lives and maximize the member’s ability to give their children emotional, physical and financial support.
Our children are our most precious resource. Their safety, health, well-being and education are important factors for achieving their full potential and moving our military families and the community forward.
SMVF outreach work will include parenting education, home visiting, support groups, youth skills, mentoring, evidence-based interventions for family and military service-related trauma, and service planning and coordination.
The SMFV grant makes it possible for United Way to continue working with Bexar County school districts, Joint Base San Antonio, MISSION UNITED military navigators, and United Way partners to increase availability and accessibility of resources and services for current and former members of the Armed Forces and their families, regardless of their discharge status.
Thomas and his daughter Maria are perfect examples of how United Way’s SMFV award changes lives.