Military Spouse Programs
USO COVID-19 Response: In response to CDC guidelines regarding social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, all USO Military Spouse Programs will now be delivered virtually.
The average military spouse moves 8-12 times in the span of a 20-year military career, which often results in starting over in each new location and dealing with the struggle of meeting new people, sustaining meaningful employment, and feeling a sense of community where they live.
The USO has supported military spouses for many years and in 2016 launched a worldwide initiative focusing on programs to strengthen and empower military spouses by connecting them to their social, professional, and community networks.
The USO Military Spouse Networking Events debuted in May 2016. The program provides military spouses with an opportunity to have face-to-face interaction with up to 50 other spouses in their same situation, instantly making connections with one another and to their greater communities.
The USO also invites local hiring employers, community/military leaders, and organizations that want to support military spouses. Spouses leave the networking event with customized business cards, a personal and/or a professional “elevator pitch,” and a collection of 15-25 new connections.
In addition to USO Military Spouse Networking events, spouses are also encouraged to attend monthly Coffee Connection gatherings to connect with new friends or reconnect with old ones. Coffee Connections are a great way for military spouses to meet friends, share advice and learn about local events. These monthly gatherings allow spouses to relax in a comfortable setting, share advice, learn about local events, and make new friends over a cup of coffee and pastries. Spouses are encouraged to come as they are or bring other military spouses with them to join in on the friendly conversation.
In 2019 the USO hosted more than 200 events that connected more than 7,500 military spouses. In 2020, the USO plans to host more than 500 events that connect over 8,000 spouses with other military spouses in their local communities and networks.
Coffee Connection Live kicked off in February 2019. This program was created in response to requests from Military Spouses who might not have ready access to a USO location but expressed interest in participating in USO spouse programming. This virtual event is an hour long “coffee chat” between a USO military spouse and an influential guest where they discuss topics that are relevant and trending within the military spouse community.
Topics such as The Backbone of our Military research, marriage and the military, PCSing, employment, wellness and many others have been discussed. Guests include Ellyn Dunford, Carla Hall, Brittany Boccher, Brian Alvarado, Kellie Artis, Evie King and Corie Weathers. All episodes can be found at uso.org/campaign/coffee-connection-live.
The USO has teamed up with Brittany Boccher, the 2017 Military Spouse of the Year, to launch a series of workshops around the world. These three-hour workshops, led by Mrs. Boccher and hosted at a USO center, allow spouses to find their passion and purpose and to approach life’s challenges with a more positive and proactive outlook.
Through our research conducted in 2018, The Backbone of Our Military, we found that spouses around the world felt a feeling of loss, uncertain identity and a lack of purpose caused by the rigors of military life. This workshop helps fill that gap with the determination of empowering, encouraging and inspiring military spouses to find their identities and live their lives with purpose. In 2019 we piloted the program through 21 events and reached nearly 400 spouses.
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