Tag Archives: militaryfamilies

30 Days of Saving Media Kit

The MFLN Personal Finance Team will be launching a 30-day savings challenge in July. The 30 Days of Saving encourages participants to make small savings deposits each day, July 1-30 to save $100 in just 30 days.


To participate in the challenge, simply share your savings goal, success or motivators on Facebook and Twitter with #MFLNPF. We’d love to hear how you’re planning to use your $100!

Interested in partnering with us to share the savings message? Download the materials from our media kit here:

Check Out Military Caregiving’s New Homepage!

We updated our MFLN Military Caregiving homepage making it more user-friendly and easily accessible. Check it out today!

You can:

  • Easily access our resources, publications and continuing education.
  • Quickly connect with us through social media.
  • Keep updated on our upcoming events.
  • And much more!

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This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on June 17, 2016.

Effective Military-Extension-Community Partnerships

Friday Field Notes

jim diedrick FFNFor this weeks Friday Field Notes we are offering some reflections by Jim Deidrick, Military/Extension Program Specialist, DoD-USDA Partnerships, Extension Center for Youth Development, University of Minnesota Extension.

For the past 11 years I have had the honor and privilege of working with USDA military partnerships: first as a State 4-H Military Liaison and then nationally with the Department of Defense and Army Child, Youth and School Services.  I have been privileged to see first-hand the value added benefit that can be achieved through this national partnership focused on supporting geographically dispersed school age children and youth through the deployment and reintegration of their loved one.

diedrick pic1Through partnerships with state and local military communities, Extension staff nationwide have expanded and refined their expertise in working with military youth and families.  And in true Extension fashion, built effective community outreach teams with non-military partners for launching local and statewide support efforts.   Working together with military partners, Extension staff trained and supported local outreach teams in creating and implementing strategies for supporting military youth and families within their own communities; i.e. offering training to public school teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and other youth organizations; developing local support programs; hosting recognition events,  etc.

As I reflect on and generalize some of my observations, seven important themes come to the surface in building and supporting effective partnerships:

  1. Community awareness of the need and of the partnership – It is important that the community be able to see that this is a need in their community. Why should they care?  Why is public support necessary? And they need to know that there is a team that they can connect with in addressing this need.
  2. Intentional recruitment of key community stakeholders – As a core group begins to form it is important to not only rely upon those that voluntarily come forward but to also develop an ongoing strategy for the recruitment of other key community stakeholders.diedrick pic4
  3. A champion to monitor and support a balance between partner relationships and outcomes – To sustain an effective team, it is important that healthy relationships are built among partners. Partners need to learn about each other, how to work together effectively, and that they can depend upon each other.  But having good working relationships is not sufficient.  The team needs to be actively doing something to address the reason they came together.  The partners need to know that their investment of resources is making a difference.  A skilled “champion” is needed that constantly pays attention to balancing team relationships and outcomes.  Swinging too much one way or the other will have an impact on team effectiveness and sustainability.  This balance is constantly changing as teams gain experience, new partners join, and as personnel change.
  4. Active commitment to common mission among all partners – It is important that all partners share in a common mission and see an active role on the team for themselves and their organizations. But, active commitment does not mean the same thing to each partner and the team needs to honor and respect what each partner is able to contribute.
  5. Leadership provided at some level by all partners – It is both highly effective and motivating for partners to provide leadership for team efforts within their area of expertise/resource.diedrick pic2
  6. Utilize existing and new resources to fill gaps, reduce duplication, and make a tangible difference – Effective teams systematically scan for needs, gaps and duplication of available supports for military connected youth and families in their community. They strategically assess and utilize resources at their disposal in planning and delivering impactful programming.
  7. Celebration of impact (in order to celebrate, need to evaluate effectiveness) – It is important that teams recognize and celebrate the good work they are doing. In order to know if programming is making a difference, some form of evaluation must be done.  Not every effort needs a formal quantitative evaluation.  Collecting comments, feedback and stories from participants are also effective.

One of the resources that we developed to assist teams in many of these areas was the Operation: Military Kids Ready, Set, Go! Implementation Guide 2nd DRAFT available on the 4-H Military Partnerships website.  Included are many tools that can be adapted for use with a variety of teams.

Challenge Yourself to Save

By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.edu

July is “hump month” for personal finances. Half of the year is already over but there are still five + months to make positive financial management changes such as saving money, reducing income taxes, and paying off debt. In an effort to help military families build wealth, the Military Families Learning Network Personal Finance (MFLNPF) team is sponsoring the 30 Days of Saving Challenge during July 2016. Professionals who serve military families are invited to participate and to encourage the military families that they serve to do likewise.

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 1.07.00 PM

The goal of the 30 Days of Saving Challenge is simple: save $100 in a 30-day time period through a series of gradually increasing deposits. July has 31 days so the last day, July 31, is a “day off.” As shown in the picture below, daily savings deposits start at $1 a day and do not increase beyond $5 a day. Once the monthly savings goal is reached, the Challenge can be repeated on a month-to-month basis for total annual savings of $1,200. When the Challenge starts to feel “easy,” it can be scaled up by doubling or tripling the daily savings amounts.

30DaysofSavingsGraphicJoin the MFLNPF team during July for the 30 Days of Saving Challenge. Save yourself and encourage others to do the same. You’ll have $100 set aside by July 31 and will be developing a positive lifetime habit. If 1,000 people save $100, that’s $100,000 of savings! Use the hashtag #MFLNPF to comment on your Challenge experience. For example, how did you “find” the money to save? Did you reduce expenses, increase income, or both?

For a print copy of the 30 Days of Saving Challenge worksheet, see http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/30-day-100-savings-challenge-0416

Comments and Resources for the webinar Nutritional Trends and Implications for Weight Loss Surgery

What a great webinar, Nutritional Trends and Implications for Weight Loss Surgery presented by Ashely McCartney, MS, RD, LD Bariatric Dietitian at Carle Hospital, Urbana, Illinois.  If you missed it you can still earn 1.0 free CPEU by listening to the recording and completing the evaluation by visiting the Learn page at https://learn.extension.org/events/2550.

The following are some comments on what was learned:

  • The pros and cons of different bariatric procedures.
  • What are the different trends in weight loss surgery?
    • Reasonable option for temporary weight loss
    • Very skeptical about long term weight loss efficacy
    • High potential for inappropriate use
    • Most beneficial indications are currently off-label
  • What are the newer procedures on the horizon?
    • Biliopancreatic diversion
    • Biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch
    • Silastic ring gastric bypass
  • The number of calories per day someone with bariatric surgery should consume.
  • Many patients may face spousal support issues.
  • The nutritional implications associated with bariatric surgery.
  • Supplements needed with various weight loss surgeries.
  • Effectiveness of a revision to a patient’s original procedure and the percent of weight loss.
  • Diet regime post-surgery and the pros and cons of each procedure.

Ashley also shared some of her resources.  You can access these from the Learn page https://learn.extension.org/events/2550, scroll down to Event Materials.  You will find the following resources shared:

  • ASMBS Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient
  • AND Complete Counseling Kit for Weight Loss Surgery available for purchase at Eatright.org
  • Post Op Foods
  • Pregnancy After Weight Loss surgery
  • Vitamin Tips for Gastric Bypass Patients
  • Vitamin Tips for Sleeve Gastrectomy Patients

This post was written by Robin Allen, a member of the Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the MFLN Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebookon Twitterand LinkedIn.


Upcoming Webinar – TRICARE® Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)

July 2016 Webinar Announcement

Join the MFLN – Military Caregiving concentration on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern as we host our FREE online professional development webinar, TRICARE® Extended Care Health Option (ECHO).

The webinar is part of a continual professional development opportunity to provide basic TRICARE® educational information for military service providers and families. The TRICARE® ECHO training will be geared to military helping professionals that work with exceptional families or individuals with special needs. Richard Hart, presenter and Senior Health Policy Analyst for the Defense Health Agency (DHA), will discuss a variety of ECHO services and resources offered beyond the basic TRICARE health benefits program. He will also be accompanied by two co-presenters: Theresa Hart, Nurse Consultant of Pediatrics and Special Medical Programs, and Dori Rogut, Senior Policy Analyst for Behavioral Health Benefits and Standards; both from DHA.

To prepare for next month’s webinar, view our recent training on An Introduction to TRICARE® for an overview of TRICARE® benefits for service members and their families. The training included details about eligibility, program options, priority access to military hospitals and clinics, the TRICARE® Pharmacy Program, how Medicare affects TRICARE ® and the Affordable Care Act.


Continuing Education Credit

The MFLN Military Caregiving concentration area has applied for 1.0 CE credit from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). A certificate of completion will also be available following the webinar.

Interested in Joining the Webinar?

To join the webinar, simply click on TRICARE® Extended Care Health Option. The webinar is hosted by the Department of Defense APAN system, but is open to the public.

If you cannot connect to the APAN site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on Ustream. Mobile options for Ustream are available on all Apple and Android devices.


This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on June 10, 2016.

Naive Realism: Thinking About How We & Our Clients Think We Know What We Know

Graphic for Practitioners CornerBy Jerry Buchko,  MA, AFC®

Another insight from the social sciences and the study of cognition and decision-making is one that I’ve found especially interesting, because it seems so ingrained in our experience that it’s hardly noticed at all. It’s called naive realism.

Naive realism is a strong general bias we seem to have in our day to day interpretation of the world. Specifically, we commonly behave in ways that suggest we believe that we see the world objectively, and, further, that people who disagree with us must be uninformed, irrational, or biased. This tendency seems to be founded on three fundamental, interrelated assumptions or beliefs about our experience of the world around us:

  • The belief that we see the world objectively and without bias.
  • The belief (and expectation) that others will come to the same conclusions and views as we do, so long as they are exposed to the same information and interpret it in a rational manner.
  • The belief (or assumption) that those who do not come to the same conclusions and do not share our same views must be ignorant, irrational, or biased.

Like most studies of cognitive biases, there’s a body of serious study and experimentation that methodically shows how these commonly held and comforting beliefs don’t hold up under closer scrutiny.

So what has this meant for me as a practitioner? Basically it drew my attention to how easy it is to fall into this way of thinking, even now when I’ve learned about all of this and should know better. It’s made me realize how seldom I have all the relevant facts, that much of what I can get ahold of is filtered through the lens of my own personal set of biases, and that others can filter the same limited set of facts and come to very different conclusions.

Understanding this has also reinforced the importance of dialogue and assessment throughout my time working with my clients. My knowledge of the subject matter of personal finance doesn’t give me awareness of the circumstances of my clients, and it doesn’t give me awareness of their subjective views and understanding of themselves and their circumstances. And both are important for me to understand clearly in order to be more effective supporting my clients.

So what do you think about this? Is naive realism something you’ve experienced or seen at work in your clients? Are there other ways in which this insight that naive realism offers is relevant in our work?


Further Study:

Wikipedia (2015). Naïve realism (psychology). Retrieved 10 December 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na%C3%AFve_realism_(psychology)

Youarenotsosmart.com (2015). YANSS 062 – Why you often believe people who see the world differently are wrong. Retrieved 10 December 2015, from http://youarenotsosmart.com/2015/11/09/yanss-062-why-you-often-believe-people-who-see-the-world-differently-are-wrong/

Expert Advice Series: Medication Holidays

Expert Advice Series

“Medication holidays” are often used by parents for children taking stimulant medications for ADD or ADHD. A medication holiday is when a child is taken off their medication for a specific amount of time, like the weekend or during the holidays. Often times, parents choose to take their child off of the medication to have their child’s appetite return if the medication reduced their appetite. Medication holidays are common during the summer months when children are out of school as well as during holidays.

 Question: What are your thoughts on ‘medication holidays?’ We have a lot of children that come to summer camp who are taking a break from their ADD medication (Military Service Provider).

Advice: Stimulant medicine is intended to help with concentration for children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); however it also causes a child to have a reduced appetite. If the child is not doing something that needs their concentration, then they can be off of the medication. Being off of ADHD/ADD medication increases the child’s appetite and since children are constantly growing, they need the nutrients from their food to aid in growth. There is a caveat however against allowing teens to have medication holidays if they’re old enough to drive. Being off of the medication decreases their ability to concentrate, resulting in distraction while driving.

Expert: Brian Dixon, M.D., Executive Director of Progressive Psychiatry, P.A. and Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

For more advice from Dr. Dixon, watch and listen to his professional development training on ADHD, Anxiety, and Autism: Practical Approaches to Child Psychiatry to learn about practical ways parents and caregivers can help manage these disorders, while reconnecting with the fun of parenting.

How do you feel about medication holidays? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section. Have a question for our military caregiving team? Let us know! Stay tuned for more from our Expert Advice series.

The new blog series provides monthly advice from subject matter experts on issues surrounding military caregiving for service providers and families. We take questions and concerns from military helping professionals and families and provide the necessary feedback from credible experts in the field of study. Whether you are a provider or a caregiver, what questions do you have? We want to hear from you.


This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on June 3, 2016.

How Do We Continue to Grow and Develop as Professionals?

Graphic for Practitioners Corner By Jerry Buchko, MA, AFC®

As a profession, it seems we spend a lot of time talking and writing about the technical fundamentals of personal finance how-tos, like the mechanics of budgeting, debt management, credit, etc. And why not? These are important topics that help lay the foundation for financial literacy and efficacy, and there always seems to be a steady stream of people who are new to the topic and benefit from learning it. And there are even new and interesting twists in these areas over time, like new budgeting tools, as well as changes in the credit, lending and debt landscape, etc.  

The thing is, after a few years of practice, I think most of us usually master these technical fundamentals and they can, on their own, lose much of their ability to hold our fascination and to continue serving as rich ground for nurturing further professional growth.

Photo by Alan Levine
Photo by Alan Levine

In my own case, much of my interest these days has shifted towards more closely exploring and studying the “soft” side of our craft. And for me, what’s ultimately kept these foundational topics and tools interesting and meaningful has been about how clients come to learn them, and with a bit of goal setting and the application of some basic math, can use them to transform their financial lives.

And the benefit in exploring these living aspects of the work, like cognition, learning, decision making, and behavior isn’t just in expanding my understanding of how my clients learn and make sense of the world; I expand my understanding of these aspects of myself as a practitioner at the very same time. Continuing to learn about learning and about how I also make sense of the world around me is a piece of continuing to evolve and grow in my work.

So how do you feel about this? Is it important to continue to grow meaningfully as a practitioner? Why? And how are you going about it, if you are? What part do other practitioners and professional colleagues play in this process of growth?

Memorial Day – A Brief History


Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War as a desire to honor those who fought and died.

May 5th 1868, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed “The 30th of May, 1868, is designed for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

In 1873 New York, became the first state to officially recognize the holiday and by 1890 it was recognized in all of the northern states. The south refused to acknowledge the day, instead honoring their dead on separate days. After World War I, both the northern and southern states recognized the date and changed the holiday from only honoring those from the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.

Memorial Day is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May. In December 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed, which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”

In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to half-staff, where it will remain until noon. The half-staff position remembers the men and women who gave their lives in service to their country. At noon the flag is raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day to symbolize our memory of those who served and paid with their lives as well as symbolizes the livings resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.

Other traditional observations include visiting cemeteries, placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes, visiting memorials and wearing red poppies.

In 1915, Moina Michael conceived an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. Inspired by the poem “In flanders fields,” Moina wrote her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies.

This memorial day please take a moment to remember what this day is really about.

Information for this article retrieved from http://www.usmemorialday.org/

This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on May 27, 2016.