White House military mom, First Lady Jill Biden, turns her FLOTUS spotlight on a cause that has been close to her heart for years: ensuring military and veteran families, caregivers and survivors receive the support they want. need.
Biden will announce the next phase of one of his initiatives, Joining Forces, on Wednesday during a virtual meeting at the White House with U.S. military families, advocates and stakeholders from around the world.
Then, she will cross the Potomac River to Arlington, Va., To visit the Military OneSource Call Center, a Department of Defense program that provides 24/7 support to service members, their families and survivors.
After a month of listening sessions with military families, Biden’s priorities, according to a draft copy of his words obtained by USA TODAY, will focus on employment and entrepreneurship, the education of military children and health and well-being.
Joining Forces will work with employers to create more flexible, portable and remote employment opportunities for military spouses; with military-related children in their classrooms to ease the burdens created by the mobile military lifestyle; and with civilian mental health service providers to ensure families, caregivers and veterans have access to services.
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Biden says military readiness and national security depend on the well-being of military families.
“Much of a ship’s power is invisible under the waves: the engines, the anchor, the rudders that give it direction and purpose,” Biden plans to say at the virtual meeting. “You are the rudder that directs our armed forces, and supporting your physical, social and emotional health is a national security imperative.”
Biden has caught the attention of military families through several virtual events and in-person tours. Last month, she traveled to Washington State to visit two military bases, where she spoke about the challenges military families face.
In February, she joined Presidential Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci and senior military officials in a virtual town hall to urge serving military personnel, veterans and their families to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Military families face the same challenges as all other working families, but with additional stressors associated with multiple deployments, frequent moves, child care and family separation. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated many of these challenges.
“How can we hope to keep our armed forces strong if we don’t give our families, survivors and caregivers what they need to thrive? That’s what Joining Forces means, ”Biden plans to say.
Joining Forces began during the administration of President Barack Obama, when Biden served as Second Lady and joined First Lady Michelle Obama in leading efforts to support military families.
The Bidens are such a family: Their son Beau joined the military in 2003, served in the Delaware National Guard, and deployed to Iraq in 2008. He died of brain cancer in 2015.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden vowed that Joining Forces would be at the top of her to-do list if she became first lady. Even before President Joe Biden was sworn in, she made it known that she intended to keep that promise by appointing an executive director for her staff’s efforts in the First Lady’s office.
Biden’s other causes relate to her personal history and previous work as a Second Lady: she intends to focus on cancer research and, as an English teacher at the college known as the name of Dr B at Northern Virginia Community College, on the promotion of community colleges and education in general. .
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