Our current missions

MilitaryMamaNetwork moves fast; I think I no sooner pass on a need to the mamas and men and it is met.  My hope it to enable our non-Facebook supporters the ability to help with missions too!

Our current missions are:

  • Airman support at a forward operating base.  We have sent several sets of sheets but have 8 left that need to be sponsored.  You can donate through our donation link to sponsor our AF support.  To assist with this mission, you can shop at the Amazon store we created for their needs or donate using the donate button on the main page.
  • National Guard Support in Chicago.  We have a young Guardsman with a 3 month old son who was shot in a robbery attempt.  We will continue to support him as much as possible.  You can access our donation link or go to our Amazon affiliate store and shop in the NG Assist storefront.
  • Veteran support in MD and Chicago.  We will be providing products for wounded and transitioning veterans for a golf outing in MD and Warrior Games in Chicago.  The best way to support this effort is to click on our donation button or if you can be a corporate sponsor, contact me at Geriann@MilitaryMamaNetwork.org to make arrangements for your sponsorship and recognition on our website now and at both events.

What happened to April? Stories from the road

In Joliet, it’s finally spring.  Today anyway, but if you’re from the Midwest, you understand THAT!  What happened to April?  I’ve asked myself that week after week, month after month.  Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like life is moving faster and faster…unless you have a child serving.  Then in a way, the question is twofold: “what happened to xxx month, and how many days until they come home?”  Many of us don’t even know.  We have a ballpark.  A hope. And then another month is gone…and Facetime or Skype is our only connection for sharing stories and time together.

Traveling around and meeting people or meeting WITH people, I hear many stories.  It’s an honor to hold someone’s heart for a while, or a few hours.  You know, when they are telling you their stories with tears in their eyes?  Maybe tears of joy:  my grandchild is born or my son is coming home.  Maybe tears of pride:  my daughter ranked up last week or my child’s PFT score has gone UP UP UP due to hard work.  More often, it is tears of loss:  I miss xxx.  I’m worried for where they are serving.  The conditions are bad where they are. The stories are endless, personal and precious.

Let me share some stories I’ve been blessed with this month:

My son earned a special commendation.  He worked hard. Went above and beyond.  Was recognized for his work with the local community.

My husband sent me beautiful trinkets from another country.  He is deployed and won’t be home any time soon.  He’s missing our children’s milestones and birthday.  We aren’t together for our anniversary again.  I don’t know how I’m going to make ends meet this month, even with separation pay.  It’s hard, having a husband who serves.  And it’s a point of pride:  the man who I love with everything I’ve got is protecting those who need our country’s help.  He’s serving in a way far bigger than himself.  He is leaving a legacy of service and sacrifice and my children are watching daddy with pride.  And some tears.  The days are long, and I’m often overwhelmed.  But today….I received a box from him filled with wonderful little gifts from the country he is serving in.  Today, I can just glance over and feel his love from across the ocean.  I know how he feels when he receives a box of love from home.  It’s a tangible reminder of the string that attaches us.

I wrote a paper.  Would you read it? I’m trying to be a recruiter and I have to tell my story.  It’s being graded so don’t be nice.  (I wasn’t).  I read it, with tears.  In fact, I type this with tears.  This story is from one of the kids we first supported.  He jumped the fence and found us on FB after being connected through another organization.  He had buddies who needed our help too.  And with that simple request, my heart was stolen for this guy.  As he shared his story while deployed, and home, and deployed again, I just loved him more.  We have never met.  I’ve never met his beautiful wife or adorable kids.  But I love them just the same.  He is everything about what we should be doing for our troops:  supporting them when they have no/limited support from home. His wife can’t afford to send boxes.  Her love for him is fierce; their budget is brutal.  It was an honor to help for what will probably be the last time; he will be a recruiter some day soon. He got an A+.  His story is a perfect reflection of what the service does right in helping our young adults grow their world while serving our country.

A deployed unit is being eaten alive.  Can we send sheets and wipes?  A young guardsman was injured.  Can we help his family?  I have a son of a veteran who needs some stairs repaired.  Can we help? Geriann, will you be at a round table for veterans?  MMN, will you collaborate with us to send thousands of cards overseas and stateside to those needing encouragement.  I could spend what is left of April sharing what we have done this month, been asked to do, and what is in the planning stages.  We do important work.  WE.  Even as I’m typing this, IA, TX, HI and FL have popped up on my screen with connection requests or follow up.  The power of MMN is in our stories…because each one represents a loved one. A need we met or tried to me.  A heart we held with everything we had.

Would you like to join our story?

We have already hit last year’s Dec 1 goal for cards sent and collected.  That’s an easy team to join! Just send a card, sign some cards (we buy them if you can’t), or make some handmade cards.  Click here to join the card team!

Or maybe you’d like to help send boxes?  Each box costs about $50 to fill and $20 to send.  Consider approaching scout troops, school classes, civic organizations, churches.  The possibilities are endless for collaboration and donations. Click to help send boxes.   Or you need boxes sent to someone you love.  Click here to request a box

Maybe you have an extra soft spot for our veterans.  We will be expanding our veteran collaboration in the coming weeks and months.  We could use you!!

Or maybe you are like me (before MMN), and can’t imagine doing any public outreach.  Would you be part of our admin team?  We need people who gather lists and help us honor our fallen.  We need people who can help build Amazon affiliate stores to help raise money.  Join our team by emailing

We need people who will SHOP in those stores LOL.  We need people who can donate even $1.00 a month.  We will cross over 16,000 network wide members this month…probably this week.  If everyone gave a $1.00, imagine what we could do!!  Click to join our $1.00 drive. 

My April flew by…and my son is making his way home from a semester abroad, improving his language skills in hopes of serving the people he just spent time with.  I won’t see him for months, but I will be so glad when he is on American soil again.  That’s “home” enough for this mama to breath more easily.  Many of our loved ones are still serving across the ocean.  I hope you decide to have your May be as crazy as my April was! Choose one or more ways to be involved with MMN.

 

Teamwork MMN Style

I recently hired a business/marketing coach.  In a world where we make impact daily,  I know I can no longer  run MMN by the seat of my pants, responding to missions and requests one by one.  We have long ago outgrown that approach, and have already formulated a number of teams to address ongoing needs.  We believe in teamwork and collaboration.  I know we would lost without our amazing teams.  Did you know we have teams for:

  • Cards and boxes:  They track each request that comes in; evaluates whether it’s a onetime need or ongoing; and deploy the required number of mamas to get the job done.  On both sides of the equation, they do amazing work.  We have a team that sends cards to mamas who have lost someone…each mama will receive a card/cards for a year.  We have teams for veterans, for birthday, for holidays and a number of general teams.  We need those teams to meet the need.  Never does a week go by without box and card requests.  NEVER.
  • Social Media:  This team updates our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Page (for news and stories of note) on a daily basis.  They do an amazing job sharing our news and mission in a number of ways.  Because of their tireless work, mamas who aren’t aware of support available find us.  They connect and plug in and become involved.
  • Admin Team:  Twenty four mamas (no men) are rely on teamwork behind the scenes in our Facebook groups to make sure posts are appropriate, timely and safe.  They each signed up for one (or several) time slots to ensure MMN Facebook is safe at all times.
  • Sister Pages Team:  This group of wonderful women run sister pages with amazing grace, support and persistence.  Each mama brings her own “flavor” to the page she runs and meets the need of countless military families.  Some examples of our sister pages:
    • Accountability (for getting things done)
    • MMN <3 Veterans
    • Challenges and Early Discharge
    • Stress Page
    • MILSO (wives of those serving)
    • Local chapter pages
  • Our team of “one hit wonders”:  people who singlehandedly oversee major missions:
    • Kerri T runs Operation Christmas Train, our mission to export holidays
    • Cynthia V creates order where administrative chaos was, including overseeing our e-news
    • Krissy W runs our sales and national fundraising efforts
    • Beth H coaches those who are interested in launching local chapters
    • Aaron W holds the tech end of things together for MMN, sharing wisdom, expertise and support
  • Website Content team:  These amazing people share their perspective on life as a military supporter
  • Our National Board:  Each of whom bring a unique and valuable perspective to decision making
  • And so so many more

I hope you can see this has long been a huge collaborative effort!  I know we are headed into a season of even MORE activity and growth.  And so I work on the business plan; prepare for the grants we will apply for; and so much more.  The view from my world these days is filled with the split view of where we have come, where we will go and the impact of teamwork and collaboration.

We do so much, and move rapidly on to the next mission.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to stop, reflect on the amazing teamwork we have developed, and plan for future teams.  Sometimes I am so focused on what is the immediate next (who needs us, what crisis have we been asked to help with, what mama needs to connect,etc. etc.), I forget all we have done and are doing.

My world today is quiet, thoughtful and filled with teamwork.  What is your world filled with today?

MilitaryMamaNetwork and how it grows…

 

MilitaryMamaNetwork and how it grows…is something I am often asked. How did it begin? How did you make it grow? How do I do what you do?

The short answers used to be “I don’t know”, “We didn’t tolerate mean girl stuff”, and “You can’t; I didn’t mean to do this”

These Past Six Months

These past six months, some of the answers changed.  How MilitaryMamaNetwork started, of course has not.  How we grow has, but our values haven’t.  We still don’t tolerate mean girl stuff; we don’t allow sales on our main MilitaryMamaNetwork page; our network collaborates every waking moment; and the word about MilitaryMamaNetwork spreads.

I have spent the better part of the last six months, along with an amazing team, preparing for MilitaryMamaNetwork’s next season of serving our troops and veterans, along with their families.  I have an amazing business coach who has worked with many non-profits.  Have a business plan now, and systems, strategies and vision.  Why do we need that, you  may be asking?  Because have crossed the magic 3 year mark! Which means, we, as an entity, can apply for grants and other financial support.  Most grants require the time and effort we have invested.  REQUIRE.

MilitaryMamaNetwork View for Today

Surrounded by love and visionAnd so here I am, in my desk chair, surrounded by pix of my loves and office supplies, working on lots of business-y tasks that will help us continue to grow.  As I look up, I see “Failure is Success in Progress”, and a flag with all of our chapters highlighted; I see my grandson’s smiling face leaning against a penguin stand that reminds me of my son; a flag my dear friend Sue gave me and cards from the love of my life and my beloved niece.  I can reach to the left and drink from my mama bear cup…but WE can reach across the world.  Surround our troops and their families with the same love I feel when I glance up from my work.

We can do that. Even more than we do.  It’s going to be an exciting year filled with travel (headed to MN,  MI, IA, NY, FL and TX as of today) and HARRD work.

Do you want to join the MilitaryMamaNetwork mission?  We need you! If you can partner with us financially on a The view from heremonthly basis, we would love that! Even a dollar…if we all did that MilitaryMamaNetwork would have $90,000+ a year to complete missions with.  I realize some cannot even do a dollar a month. Would you consider signing up for our newsletter?  Or be an ambassador for MilitaryMamaNetwork?  Join our Facebook group would be a good next step if you aren’t a member already.  We need you. We need every mama and man who believes in our vision:  to step up and collaborate.  To accept their role in our mission.  To help us grow SO THAT we can reach more families and love more troops and veterans.