The holidays are a great time to do good things for others and, when it comes to supporting military families, there are lots of options to support our troops. Ruth, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares her experience in helping International military families today on the blog. Take a look…
Holiday Giving 2017: Help International Military Families
Living close to a military base, I have been exposed to a lot of different cultures, religions, and traditions. I have made military friends from all over the world, sponsored officers from a variety of countries, and shared my holidays with them. In turn we learn a little bit about them too! For the last several years our family has participated in the International Military Sponsorship Program. It is a program designed to give foreign officers some companions to make their year at Fort Leavenworth a little bit easier. Each officer involved in the program is provided with a Kansas City Area Sponsor, a Leavenworth Area Sponsor and a Fort Leavenworth Sponsor.
What does the program entail?
As a sponsor, your role is to help them get acquainted with your sponsor area, socialize with them and assist them with important services and needs if they have not set it up already. They may need assistance setting up a bank account, obtaining a cell phone, obtaining furniture for housing, getting a car, choosing a school for their child and so on. Other services you can provide to them can include introducing them to area events, fun activities, joining them at military social engagements, sharing holidays and traditions and helping them to make new contacts.
Each officer that comes to Fort Leavenworth arrives with a new class of officers in the spring or summer semester to attend twelve-month training program at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Many officers have their families join them for their time here. The sponsorship webpage states that “Sponsorship” does not involve financial support, but does include the commitment to develop and nurture a personal relationship with officers and their families. Simply put, sponsorship is spending time with officers as their time allows and extending hospitality to their families.
What’s in it for you?
I have found sponsorship to be very rewarding and I have made many life-long friends over the last several years. My own kids have gained new friendships and though each family is only here for a year we always have a great time getting to know each new family. As a sponsor you have the opportunity to make a request for countries that you are interested in sponsoring. There are 120 countries to choose from and some are more popular than others. Our family has sponsored those from Bulgaria, Morocco, Pakistan, Ukraine, Mexico to name a few. If you are not particular, those from the Middle East sometimes have a more difficult time getting sponsorship due to the stigma associated with them. I encourage you to help sponsor this coming Spring or Summer. Be sure to get your application in early if you have a preference for a particular country. Applications and requests are first come, first serve.
How can you get involved?
Go online to learn more information on becoming an International Sponsor. Becoming a member of the Greater Kansas City People to People Program is free and only takes a bit of your time to get started. Once you have become a sponsor and assigned to an officer or a few if you choose, then you will have an orientation meeting to discuss your responsibilities based upon your role and during the year there are a few events that you can attend with your officer. It is a great program!
From iFamily to Yours,