November is Military Family Appreciation Month

Imagine leaving behind a successful career and a loving family to move 7,000 miles away. The language is new, the culture is vastly different, and the only person you know is your spouse. For Maureen, a military wife born and raised in the Philippines, this is her reality.

For many military spouses, feelings of loneliness and isolation are common, but as someone brand new to the United States, Maureen had to overcome additional challenges. “At home in the Philippines, I was very independent. I provided for my family and looked out for everyone else. Here in the United States, I’ve had to learn to accept help from others.” A critical source of help and support is SAY San Diego’s Healthy Start Military Family Resource Center (MFRC) and First 5 First Steps program.

Maureen learned about SAY’s programs through the Balboa Naval Medical Center when she was pregnant with her daughter, Amelia. She was connected to her case manager Debbie, who became an immediate source of support and guidance. “For the first two years, Debbie visited me at my home every week. She was my only confidant. She checked on Amelia’s development, provided me with resources, and helped me to get to know the area and what was available to me.”

These days you can find Maureen at the MFRC every week. She brings Amelia to playgroup so she can interact with other children, and Maureen participates in yoga classes taught at the center by volunteers. For Maureen, the MFRC is a safe space where she is supported by SAY staff and a community of military wives who she can lean on.

Appreciation for our military extends beyond those in uniform. Military spouses also make sacrifices in service to our country, often parenting children solo and managing frequent moves that keep them far from familiar support networks.

SAY San Diego is proud to support military families through a variety of services and a place to connect with others. The MFRC serves active duty, transitioning, and veteran military personnel and the families. Located in Murphy Canyon, which has one of the largest collections of off-base US military population in the world, the MFRC strengthens families and communities by offering connections to resources such as food, housing, counseling, financial assistance, parenting classes, support groups, and more.