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November 2023 eNews

A Community of Volunteers Serving Veterans, Military, and their Families

To our heroes: Thank you for your service!🇺🇸

Supporting the first Veterans Day of Giving is a great way to honor the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes and to support initiatives of ALA entities around the country. Make a gift to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation’s Veteran Projects Fund in honor of a veteran or servicemember in your life. The ALA Foundation Board of Directors will match the first $6,000 received. You can give online or text VETERAN to 1-844-940-3450.

Time for the American Legion Auxiliary to celebrate!

On Nov. 10, the American Legion Auxiliary will celebrate 104 years of service! We thank our members, volunteers, and donors for all they have done to help our organization serve veterans, military, and their families for more than a century. Because of your commitment, the ALA will continue our legacy of Service Not Self.

Understanding the difference between ALA National Security and VA&R 

Do you find yourself wondering if an activity falls under ALA National Security or Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation? Are you looking for guidance on how to properly report these activities? 

 

Join us Thursday, Dec. 7, at noon EST for a 30-minute informative webinar on the differences and similarities between our National Security and VA&R programs. Led by Pam Ray and Ann Rehbein, the ALA national committee chairs for VA&R and National Security, this webinar will explore similarities and differences between the two programs. 


Whether you volunteer at a local VA, military installation, or in your community supporting military, veterans, and their families, this is a must-attend event. Attendance to this webinar is FREE, but pre-registration is required. Secure your spot today

 

We look forward to having you join us Dec. 7! 

Apply by Dec. 15 to serve on a 2024-2025 national ALA committee 

The application process for 2024-2025 national committee appointments is now open. National committee chairs and members are appointed annually and confirmed by the National Executive Committee to serve on a wide variety of ALA committees for you to explore. The goal is to match skill sets and talents that best complement the Auxiliary’s mission of serving veterans, the military, and their families. You need not have served as an officer in your district or department to be eligible for an appointment, and our male spouse ALA members are welcome to apply. The application window is through Dec. 15. Apply now

Nov. 28 is the last day to sponsor a wreath for 2023! 

Wreaths Across America Day is Dec. 16. On that day, more than 2 million wreaths will be placed on veterans’ graves across local, national, and military cemeteries, as well as veterans’ memorials and historic sites. We encourage members of The American Legion Family to participate.


American Legion Auxiliary and Wreaths Across America have entered a partnership that supports both organizations’ common missions.


There are two ways you can take part in Wreaths Across America Day:

  • Sponsor wreaths. Help us honor and remember as many fallen heroes as possible by sponsoring remembrance wreaths.
  • Volunteer as a Sponsorship Group. ALA units can take part in the Wreaths Across America Sponsorship Group Program. Units that register as a “$5 back group” will earn $5 for every $17 sponsorship earned — allowing the donor to essentially “do good twice” and support both programs and missions. As a volunteer Sponsorship Group, you will be responsible for networking within your local community to gather wreath sponsorships. You will select at least one cemetery to support as a group, whether that’s Arlington National Cemetery or another cemetery in your state or within your local community.


Wreath sponsorships must be placed by Nov. 28 to be guaranteed for delivery.


‼️Important note: ALA poppy funds cannot be used for wreaths.

We are thankful for you!

Your membership has made a difference in the lives of veterans, military, and their families. Continue showing your support by renewing your membership before it expires on Dec. 31. We know the holidays can be a busy time, so renew today and cross it off your to-do list. You can renew your membership in three easy ways: by phone, online, or mail. Go to www.ALAforVeterans.org, call (317) 569-4570, or mail in your renewal notice. Help your ALA unit keep your membership strong by reminding fellow members to renew before the end of the year.

Something to get excited about in the new year! 

Need something to look forward to after the holidays? We have the perfect idea! 


We have only three Mission Trainings left! Don’t delay: Register for these interactive, fun days of service to the ALA mission all while making new friends! 


Break the winter blahs by going to Las Vegas on Jan. 27!


On Feb. 3, you have your choice of Nashville, Tenn., or Lincoln, Neb.


Past attendees have returned home with a renewed sense of purpose, creative ideas, and new mission-related activities to initiate in their communities. 


Register for an ALA Mission Training today! When you sign up, register your Juniors too!

A gathering just for ALA Juniors

While ALA Mission Training is underway, ALA Juniors get an exclusive event of their own! 


Don’t let the word “meeting” fool you! It’s more like a fun day camp than a meeting. Juniors will learn about the ALA mission by playing games, making crafts, singing songs, and much more. And for those who love animals (who doesn’t?!), therapy dogs 🦮🐕‍🦺 and their handlers will be on site to talk about how canines assist veterans. 


Don’t let your ALA Junior member miss out on this opportunity. Plan to bring a Junior (or as many as you can fit in your car) with you to Mission Training — register now!


**BONUS: Every ALA Junior member who registers gets a FREE T-shirt designed by a fellow Junior!

Fundraising 4-1-1

Save the date for GivingTuesday, Nov. 28

In a time when people are preoccupied with material consumption and holiday shopping, it’s important to remember that there are opportunities to serve and do good. One of the easiest ways to do that is by giving a financial gift in honor of someone who inspires you to make a positive change in the world. You can donate to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation on GivingTuesday by visiting us online here or by texting HONOR to 1-844-940-3450.

A special holiday shipping message from Santa Claus

ShipThrifty was paid a surprise visit from Santa, reminding us that holiday shipping is right around the corner. While we are all thinking about sending packages to our families and loved ones, we're also thinking about how care packages are a great way to boost the morale of our military members and show appreciation for their service. 


Like the American Legion Auxiliary and all of the elves at the North Pole, ShipThrifty is passionate about supporting those who serve and supporting your shipping this holiday season. 


Here are a few tips for merry shipping:

  • Your free ShipThrifty account will save you time and money on your personal and care package shipping this holiday season. Plus, with prepaid labels, you can skip the lines and handwritten customs forms. Create your account at www.shipthrifty.com/rf/ala or type ALA in the affiliate code at signup.
  • Get ideas for care package items servicemembers love.
  • Be aware of holiday shipping deadlines to make sure your packages arrive on time.
  • As an ALA partner, when you create your shipping labels with ShipThrifty, a percent of the dollars you spend is donated back to the organization to support the mission. Be sure to type ALA in the affiliate code at signup.


ALA members get expert support, processes, and technology to make their care package packing parties fun and simple with a trusted partner that supports thousands of care packing events each year.


Create your free ShipThrifty account today! 

Good to know

The November issue of Auxiliary magazine is hitting mailboxes. If you haven’t received your copy yet, you can view it online. In this issue, get to know 2023-2024 ALA National President Lisa Williamson, learn more about our history-making first male ALA department president, look back at two of our largest national events, and much more! Did an article stand out to you, or did you learn something new in this issue? Let us know

Junior Patch Program update! We are excited to announce a new level of ALA patches for Pre-K through Kindergarten. Purple level patches can be earned for Americanism, Membership, and Poppy. This is a great way to get younger Juniors involved and gives older Juniors a chance to be great mentors. Patches can be ordered in the MyAuxiliary member portal here.


Additional scholarship funds available for ALA Juniors. Starting in 2024, the national Junior Member of the Year will receive a $5,000 scholarship, in addition to coming to ALA National Convention to bring greetings. There will also be four division Junior Members of the Year who will receive a $1,000 scholarship.


Scholarship applications are available for 2024, and there are few updates. The ALA Spirit of Youth Scholarship now includes 47 department winners who will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Five national winners (one in each division) will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Eligibility for the Non-Traditional Student Scholarship has been expanded to include all veterans, spouses of all veterans, and military spouses. All Legion Family members are still eligible to apply. Apply online by March 1, 2024. 

Request to join the official ALA program and committee groups on Facebook

Discover what your fellow ALA members are saying in the committee Facebook groups! These easy-to-access forums provide an arena for organic discussion about your local programs or services and present the opportunity to cultivate brand awareness. Find the list of groups here.
On the ALA Blog

Ideas to get your community involved in Veterans Day events

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a great opportunity for ALA members to fulfill our mission of supporting veterans, the military, and their families. Read the ALA blog for numerous ways to extend your sincerest thank-you to those who served so selflessly and courageously.

Military spouses finding more remote work opportunities

When Lydiah Owiti married a U.S. servicemember in 2012, she had practiced law in her native Kenya for seven years. Shortly after the couple married and moved to Delaware, Owiti’s husband, Geofrey Otienoh, was deployed with the U.S. Army to Kuwait. She was left behind with no job and a law degree that her new country did not recognize. Now, after years of struggling to find work in the United States that would fit with her experience while accommodating the nomadic lifestyle of a military spouse, Owiti has found her professional calling with a role that allows her to help military spouses experiencing many of the job-seeking challenges she has encountered.

Save the date!

Nov. 10 – American Legion Auxiliary’s 104th birthday

Nov. 10 – U.S. Marine Corps birthday

Nov. 10 – ALA National Headquarters office closed in observance of Veterans Day

Nov. 11 – Veterans Day

Nov. 13-17 – American Education Week

Nov. 23-24 – ALA National Headquarters office closed in observance of Thanksgiving

Nov. 28 – GivingTuesday

Dec. 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dec. 16 – Wreaths Across America Day

Quote of the month

“When I decided to make the commitment to join the ALA, it was for life. Veterans gave their lives for this great country and our freedom, and the least I could do was commit to serve them for the remainder of mine.”


— Kat Kessler, Illinois

Legion Family News

Do you want to volunteer at the 2024 National Oratorical Finals?


American Legion National Headquarters is looking for volunteers to help with the 2024 National High School Oratorical Contest Finals in its new location, Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Mich., May 18-19. Needed volunteer positions include judges, escorts, and holding room, and assigned topic room monitors.


Please note that National Headquarters will not provide any financial compensation for time or travel expenses associated with volunteer support. All expenses related to volunteering with the contest, such as travel, housing and food, are paid for by the volunteer.


The contest features more than 50 high school youth from across the country who deliver prepared speeches on the U.S. Constitution. The support of many volunteers is needed to conduct the contest, which will provide more than $203,500 in college scholarships.


Apply to volunteer

How you can Be the One


What: The American Legion’s Be the One mission encourages American Legion Family members, veterans, servicemembers and others to take action when they believe a veteran is at risk of suicide.


Why: To reduce the alarming number of veteran suicides.


How: Our goal is to destigmatize asking for mental health support, provide peer-to-peer support and resources, and educate everyone on how they can Be the One.


Who: 

Veterans

  • Talk with fellow veterans about how you are feeling.
  • Ask for help when you think you need it.
  • Know there are millions of people ready to help you. Remember: Your family and friends care.


Non-veterans

  • Ask veterans in your life how they are doing.
  • Listen when a veteran needs to talk.
  • Reach out when a veteran is struggling.


Resources are available at www.BetheOne.org.


For urgent help: Veterans experiencing a crisis can call 988 and press 1 for mental health assistance. Counselors are available 24/7. They may also text 838255 or visit the VA crisis line website www.veteranscrisisline.net.

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In the spirit of Service Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security.
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