Military Spouse Magazine

FEB 2019

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HERE'S WHAT ONE MILITARY SPOUSE HAD TO SAY ABOUT HER NMSSP MENTOR: She was wonderful, full of experience and knowledge and so easy to talk to. On my birthday, there were less than three weeks until his homecoming date and I was over the moon excited until I got an email that the deploy- ment had been extended. I was totally blindsided and, in that moment, I reached out to my mentor. She was great, responsive, empathetic, and had a ton of resources to direct me to. She helped me to realize that as lonely as I'd been feeling, I was far from alone. Not only did she connect me with some wonderful base resources, she also was just a listening ear and someone who understood, personally. Photos provided by Whitney Armstrong HOW TO GET CONNECTED! In order to be paired with a mentor, new military spouses are asked to take a short survey so that MSAN can identify some of their specific needs, as well as branch and location. The NMSSP Team reviews the results and personally pairs the new spouse with a trained volunteer mentor. At that time, new spouses may interact with their mentor through video call, email, and participate in the MSAN New Spouse Support Forum Facebook group, where they have access to all mentors across every branch. New spouses also receive free exclusive access to various toolkits and workbooks on behalf of MSAN sponsors. The NMSSP currently has more than 50 military spouse mentors from every branch of the military who are located all over the world. These dedicated volunteers have assisted hundreds of new military spouses and plan to help thousands more. "I joined MSAN to help new milspouses know they aren't alone in this world, to let them know that we've all had to start some- where. What I found was my milspouse tribe that I probably would not have met other- wise," said Sarah Otto, NMSSP director. WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A MENTOR Mentors are trained volunteers and fellow military spouses with at least five years of experience. These men and women are leaders in the military spouse com- munity and possess significant knowledge on the resources available. Mentors must complete an application process that includes an official volunteer ap- plication, resume, and an interview. Upon selection to join the MSAN NMSSP Team, the mentor must com- plete a series of trainings, attend virtual meetings, and meet a monthly hourly volunteer requirement. "Since finding MSAN, I have found my family. I have found a judgmental free group of men and women who work endlessly to support and encourage each other. The programs aim to do things no one has attempted to do before, and I believe the success is evident to anyone," said Kaycee Greninger, NMSSP coordinator. If you're interested in learning more about MSAN and the New Military Spouse Support Program, visit militaryspouseadvocacynetwork.org. H Verenice Castillo, president and founder of MSAN FEBRUARY 2019 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 9

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