STRENGTHENING AMERICA’S MILITARY FAMILIES THROUGH COMMUNITIES
by Emily Harrison, Blue Star Families Salt Lake City, Chapter Director
More than 105,000 service members, families and veterans call Salt Lake City home. For that reason, Blue Star Families (BSF), a national nonprofit that serves more than 1.5 million military and veteran family members nationwide, brought its support here with the launch of the Salt Lake City Chapter earlier this year.
Founded in 2009 by a group of military spouses, Blue Star Families works to build communities to empower military and veteran families to thrive by delivering evidence-based programs such as career development tools, local events for families, caregiver support and civilian engagement.
The Salt Lake City Chapter serves a 50-mile radius around the capital city, covering just about the entire Salt Lake Valley and Wasatch Front. With that expansive reach, it aims to carry out Blue Star Families’ mission, while joining the ranks of San Diego, Chicago, Missouri, Tennessee, Jacksonville, D.C., Baltimore and New York City.
The duo behind this particular community—Emily Harrison, Salt Lake City chapter director, and Mariah Morse, careers manager—seeks to put their experience in Family Readiness and Family Programs to good use for Salt Lake City’s military, veterans and their families.
Since its launch in July, the Chapter has implemented many of Blue Star Families’ signature programs including Blue Star Parks, Blue Star Museums, Corporate Engagement, and Spouse-force, the Blue Star careers platform. These programs help military and veteran families get out into the communities in which they live to bridge the civilian-military divide and establish a sense of connectedness and belonging. Moreover, the careers program aims to reduce military spouse unemployment and underemployment, two critical issues affecting our community not only here in Utah but also across the country.
More than 900 residents have already tapped into the various programs and events the BSF Salt Lake City Chapter offers. Membership is free and open to active, guard, reserve, veterans and their families located within 50 miles of Salt Lake City.
Additionally, civilian supporters of the military can sign up to be a Blue Star Neighbor, which provides access to events and volunteer opportunities. To become a member or a neighbor today, visit bluestarfam.org/join.