Awesome USO Programs For Service Members and Military Families
We know firsthand how difficult it can be as a military family! One of my passions as a military spouse is to help support other families who walk the same path we do. If you even spend a few minutes on this blog (or even read the title!), you’ll know how important this mission is to me.
That’s why I would love to highlight the work done by the USO (United Service Organizations) and help emphasize the incredible benefits and USO programs they provide. If you are part of a military family; I would love for you to make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the programs and services available to you. If you’re not part of the military, you may just feel a spark of passion within you, and want to get involved in this volunteer driven organization yourself!
What is the USO?
The USO is not a governmental organization, and it’s primarily run by volunteers. It’s a congressionally chartered, private organization, and this allows it to nimbly create programs and services that will truly benefit our military.
The USO takes the perspective that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep the military strong. They’re present in over 250 locations around the globe, and they operate with a team of 30,000 annual volunteers. President Franklin D. Roosevelt recognized the need to unite several different non-profit organizations dedicated to supporting military into one common entity, and just before World War II, the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board joined forces to become the USO (United Service Organizations).
Since 1941, this incredible organization has been coming alongside military families to support and encourage them as they defend and uphold our nation and freedoms.
Support Starts at Enlistment
As military recruits sign up, the USO is strategically stationed within Military Entrance Processing Stations to welcome them into this new, challenging, yet rewarding, lifestyle. USO volunteers help new service members understand how they can be supported by this incredible organization throughout their military careers.
Support During Deployment and Combat
Service members around the globe can benefit from USO Centers stationed right where they are. Within these centers, soldiers can rest and relax with movies and even cots. They can enjoy a welcome distraction with video games or a snack, and they can reach out to loved ones far away via phone or internet. Having a place to get away is truly life saving when your job is demanding and stressful.
Connection with Family
The USO realizes that in order to perform at their best, service members must know that their family is taken care of, and they need to have regular, quality ways to connect with loved ones. Because of the frequent moves that characterize military life, it can be difficult for military spouses to build or maintain a career.
The USO provides networking for military spouses that prioritizes their skills and talents and helps connect them with companies that will be able to work with relocation. Especially in this time in history, with remote work more productive than ever, military spouses can create a meaningful path toward career fulfillment, and the USO can help. To further help inspire military spouses, Discovering Your Spark is a USO program that uses tips, tools, and resources to promote personal growth and development. USO Coffee Connections are networking opportunities that connect military spouses for friendship and community.
USO programs such as Operation Phone Home® allows service members to quickly and easily connect with family over the phone for free! Started as a calling card service in the ancient days of technology, Operation Phone Home® now uses telephone network and connectivity over the internet. When service members are stationed around the world, it can be confusing, expensive, and time consuming to figure out how to call home, and the USO makes it easy.
Education and Support for Military Kids
Some of my favorite elements of the USO’s support have to do with military kids. In particular, the Bob Hope Legacy Reading Program checks all the boxes for me! The USO helps military personel read a story to their child or loved one back home, then ships the recording home to them! It’s a fantastic way to promote education and connection at the same time.
USO Special Delivery presented by Johnson and Johnson makes it possible for the more than 100,000 military babies each year to be celebrated with a baby shower! What a special way to give a heroes welcome to these babies and their families!
While deployed, service members find that space is at a minimum, and they often need to be restocked on essential items. Through the USO Care Package program, you can send holiday items, hygiene products, snacks, and even internet services to help ease the burden of those serving our country.
Transition USO Programs for Service Member
The transition from active duty service member to civilian life can be a rocky one, and the USO is there to support during this phase as well. The USO Pathfinder® Transition Program works with military members and strategic partners to cover employment, education, financial readiness, mentorship, and increased access to veteran benefits.
As you can tell, the USO has thoughtfully created options for all stages of military service. Our family is so grateful for the benefits we’ve been able to take advantage of, and we love supporting their work for others as well!