Military Spouse Magazine

FEB 2019

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Page 7 of 35

W H A T W E L O V E Power In Community A program with a focused mission—making you stronger! By Whitney Armstrong, Vice President of Programs and Operations, Military Spouse Advocacy Network For decades, military spouses have informally served one another as mentors and guides. They tell stories to connect and find community with shared laughter and tears. Through common experiences and causes, military spouses have worked to smooth the gravel road for those who travel it after them. Military Spouse Advocacy Network (MSAN), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was built on this idea of advocating for fellow spouses. And now they are tackling how to formal- ize mentorship relationships to help build a sense of community and support for those who are newer to military spouse life. WHAT'S NEW AT MSAN? The New Military Spouse Sup- port Program (NMSSP) provides new spouses with firsthand experience and a community of men and women who have faced similar challenges. "MSAN found a gap of sup- port that new military spouses are facing and decided to do something about it. We created a program that fills that gap by pro- viding peer-to-peer mentorship and a positive and successful transition from civilian to military life," explained Verenice Castillo, president and founder of MSAN. Linking military spouses to the information and support they need is key to developing a strong community. While benefits and resources exist to accomplish spouse support, there is often a lack of real-life experience within the existing programs. MSAN saw the need for a system of men- tors to bridge the gap between the person and the information. NMSSP was designed to mentor and provide support to new military spouses as well as improve the morale and wel- fare of our military community. "Military spouses need and deserve to have a solid founda- tion of information and know that they have a mentor by their side from the time they become new spouses through the time they PCS for the first time," said Castillo. Mentors link the new spouses to information, resources, and supportive agen- cies at their gaining installation. MSAN is composed of a dedicated network of seasoned military spouses who volunteer their time, talents, and experience to mentor, educate, and empower new military spouses. 8 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / FEBRUARY 2019

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