I’ve mentioned before that the reintegration process is one of the hardest parts of a deployment for the entire family. Your service member is learning to live within a family unit again, the spouse is learning to give up the reigns, and children need to learn to live in this changing family dynamic. Needless to say, it’s extremely challenging, and it’s one of the harder processes to navigate. After struggling a lot during our first reintegration from Ryan’s Iraq deployment in 2017, we sought out reintegration resources for military families. We needed to know we weren’t alone.
This time, our reintegration has been somewhat smoother, in large part because we were expecting it to be a transitional period of adjustment. And, thankfully, we are aware of the many reintegration resources for military families. Today, I wanted to take the time to share some of the best resources out there for military families from all walks of life because I promise you, you do not have to walk this path alone.
The Come Home Project
The Come Home Project is a Marine Corps veteran-run non-profit organization designed specifically to strengthen and solidify that warrior/spouse relationship. Run by husband and wife duo, John and Samantha Commins, this unique online community space works with couples around the country (and the world) to help military couples grow in their personal relationships to not only strengthen their bonds, but also build better connections before, during, and after service.
Military Kids Connect
Designed specifically for the children of service members and military families, Military Kids Connect is an online community resource geared towards children ages 6-17. It provides age-appropriate resources to help children dealing with the many psychological aspects of military life, not the least of which are deployment, reintegration, and PCSing. From videos to activities, online forums, and beyond, it’s a monitored resource where children can learn and see firsthand that they’re not navigating the challenges solo.
The Army introduced a program in 1997 called Building Strong and Ready Families. Over the years, the program has evolved and grown into what is now known as Strong Bonds. In the course of a single year, more than 130,000 soldiers and family members participated in over 37,000 Strong Bonds events nationwide. Programs are individually geared to different phases of military relationships, and there’s something for everyone. From single soldiers to couples, families with children, families facing deployment and reintegration, it’s a fully-funded, Chaplain-led program for the whole family.
Geared towards military and first responder couples and families, Stronger Families is an organization designed to offer hope, strength, and tools for families in some of the most challenging situations. For more than 20 years, this unique organization features the renowned OXYGEN Program used by more than 76 military installations in 34 states and seven countries to help service members navigate stressors from the service to the home front. Participants can enjoy in-person sessions from local chapters, as well as online master classes to find what helps them best.
Comfort Crew Program
Uniquely designed for the children within military families, Comfort Crew is an organization that provides resources for families to aid younger children through the difficult reintegration process. Their Together Again! Helping Military Families Reconnect Program offers a full kit including a journal for children, a guidebook for parents, video, coloring resources, a membership to Tuk-Tuk Media, monthly motivational speaking, monthly follow-up support, and more.
There are dozens more reintegration resources for military families, but these are some of the best that we’ve seen and found through our years as a military family. I hope these help you, and I hope to share our own personal experiences with these resources soon!
Have you heard or used other resources you’d like to share?