April 2022 eNews
A Community of Volunteers Serving Veterans, Military, and their Families
NVCAF returns to in-person event
The 41st annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) is April 20-25 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The stage show will be closed to the public, but participants will be performing in person. You can still support the Festival virtually. Starting Sunday, April, 24, you can see veteran artwork, writing pieces, and performances here. Please note the link will not be live until April 24. 
You can also support these veterans with a gift to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation Veterans Creative Arts Festival fund. 
NVCAF is co-presented by the American Legion Auxiliary and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Join the VA for VetServe 2022
The Department of Veterans Affairs invites you to participate in VetServe 2022 during National Volunteer Week — April 17-23. In observance of the week, a National Day of Service will be April 21. 

In addition to volunteering, here are some ways you and your ALA unit/department can get involved:
  • Join the VA on RallyPoint to share your service success stories and organizational recognitions.
  • Share your volunteer work and volunteer opportunities on social media and use #VetServe2022.
  • Encourage veteran volunteerism by highlighting veterans currently serving their communities.
April: Month of the Military Child and Purple Up! Day
Military children face unique challenges and make sacrifices. To recognize this, April is designated as the Month of the Military Child (#MOMC). 

Purple Up! Day — April 15 — is part of the monthlong celebration. To show support for military children and raise awareness about their sacrifices, people wear purple on this special day. Purple symbolizes a combination of the colors of each branch of the U.S. military: Army green, Navy blue, Air Force blue, Marine red, and Coast Guard blue. 

As a major supporter and advocate for veterans, the military, and their families for more than a century, the American Legion Auxiliary appreciates and celebrates these children who give up so much as their servicemember parents work to protect and defend America, its people, and its principles. Many members of the Auxiliary and other parts of The American Legion Family participate in Purple Up! Day.
ALA year-end impact reporting coming soon
Year-end impact reporting is approaching! It’s time to make sure your members have a Year-End Member Impact Report form to complete and submit to their unit. Year-End Impact Report forms for members, units, and districts are available on the national website by signing in to the MyAuxiliary member portal and going to forms, then scrolling down to the bottom. These forms match up line by line (kind of like your tax form but not as painful!) so the numbers easily transfer from the member form to the unit form to the district form. 

You’ve worked hard, so let’s count those hours and dollars to show our love for veterans, military, and their families.

For due dates, check with your unit president because deadlines vary in each department.
It’s time to prepare for National Poppy Day (May 27 this year)
Do you have an event planned for this special day? Make sure people know about it by advertising! Be sure to promote it on your social media, reach out to your local media outlets, include it in your post home newsletter, and more! 

We have resources available to help you promote your American Legion Family National Poppy Day events and activities:

If you have questions on how poppy funds can be used, we encourage you to watch a recording of the ALA Academy webinar Using Poppy Funds to Serve Our Mission
You’re invited to our 2022 Virtual National Poppy Day event
We’re putting together the pieces of our back-by-popular-demand Virtual National Poppy Day, and we’d love your fingerprints on it.

We hope to feature all generations in our presentation! There are several ways you can participate. Of course, we’d love for you to submit items for all of these segments, but if you can only do one, that’s fine too!

  • Submit a photo for In Memoriam
  • On Memorial Day, who will you be remembering? Send us a photo of someone in your life who made the ultimate sacrifice, along with their name, rank, and branch of service. 
  • Thank a veteran:
  • Who is the veteran(s) you are thankful for? Send us a photo, along with name, rank, and branch of service. 
  • What does the poppy mean to me?
  • Send us a video telling us what the poppy means to you.
  • Record yourself, or have someone record you, and email it to us. If the file is too big, use the site www.WeTransfer.com to send it to PR@ALAforVeterans.org.
  • Videos must be filmed in landscape mode (hold your camera horizontally.)
  • Tip – avoid having a window or busy background behind you.   

Submit photos and videos to PR@ALAforVeterans.org by Monday, April 25, and watch our Virtual National Poppy Day presentation on May 27 at noon ET!
Project Stuff Sack is underway! 
Supplies, which include ALA branded sling backpacks, ALA coloring books, and crayons have been distributed to departments. Departments are now hosting events to assemble, and backpacks then will be distributed to identified outlets where children will benefit.

The goal of this project:

  • to put The American Legion Family in front of youth throughout the country
  • to further instill American Legion Family values represented in the coloring books
  • to teach youth about the importance of the poppy and safety tips for Halloween
This project, conceived by the national ALA Children & Youth Committee, is funded by a grant from The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation.
ALA learning from the comfort of home and on your schedule
Check out the recorded ALA Academy Live courses, and remind your fellow members about these educational offerings. Do you have other members in your unit who would benefit from taking a course?

Our live webinars are always recorded and can be viewed in the MyAuxiliary member portal. ALA Academy Live webinars currently available:

  • Using Social Media to Your Unit's Advantage 
  • Using Poppy Funds
  • Unit Fundraising Panel
  • ALA Junior Leadership Training (includes four webinars)
  • Mission Delivery Series (includes four webinars)

The ALA Academy also includes self-paced courses:

  • ALA 101
  • ALA Branding and Why it Matters to Me
  • ALA Communication Methods
  • Establishing an ALA Culture of Goodwill
  • ALA Fundraising
  • How to Deal with Conflict
  • ALA Leadership: Living Our Motto of Service Not Self
  • ALA Juniors eLearning Course

Get started today! Log in with your member ID here
Good to know
Order ALA poppy coloring books. As you’re making plans for National Poppy Day, consider ordering ALA poppy coloring books — a great way to educate kids about the meaning behind the poppy. The books are available for purchase from Emblem Sales or can be downloaded for free.

Have you renewed your American Legion Auxiliary membership? Renew for 2022 by phone, online, or mail. Go to www.ALAforVeterans.org, call (317) 569-4570, or mail in your renewal notice. 

Do you shop Amazon Prime? If you do, be sure to use AmazonSmile! Through Amazon’s charitable program, AmazonSmile, you can support the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation. Simply sign in through this special link and select the American Legion Auxiliary. Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase you make to the ALA Foundation. It may seem small, but a little can add up to a lot.

The ALA in numbers. Paid Up For Life (PUFL) memberships are available for all ages! Our youngest-ever PUFL just joined in 2022 at 27 days old! In 2015, a 48-day-old baby got her PUFL membership. And in 2020, a 55-day-old a baby girl became a PUFL. See how you can get involved.
Find ALA program 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
Connecting the visual image of the poppy with the sacrifice of service made by our veterans has been an important goal of the American Legion Auxiliary. During the month of May, members of The American Legion Family distribute poppies to help raise funds for veterans, active-duty servicemembers, and their families. On the Friday before Memorial Day — National Poppy Day® — wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living who have worn our nation's uniform.
Start getting ready now for all of the unit events, activities, and fundraisers happening in May. Below, we provide a few projects that can be completed by younger members, older members, and everyone in between. 
Poppy button craft 

Looking for a simple craft project for members of your unit? This poppy button is a creative way to offer a team-building activity for members while also refreshing them on the significance of the red flower. The buttons can be worn on your shirt, glued to a hat or headband, or worn as a brooch. Consider distributing the poppy buttons for donations on National Poppy Day. 
Toni Kettner came across a quote one day that stuck with her, and she tries to live by it: “God found some of the strongest women and made them veterans’ wives.”
In 2006, Jason Kettner became really sick from service-connected disabilities. Much of what he has falls under Gulf War Syndrome. He also has fibromyalgia and was recently diagnosed with early stages of dementia. Kettner and Jason weren’t married at the time, but good friends who stayed in touch over the years. As a veteran, he even spent three and a half years homeless. The two reconnected in 2012. 
“That’s when he told me he needed me,” she said. “He was so sick.” 
She left Michigan and moved to Arizona to help care for him. She lived there for a year before they decided to go back to Michigan to seek better care. 
In 2016, she and Jason married. The following year, she left her nursing job to take care of her husband full-time. 
“I knew I would be home and wouldn’t get to see a lot of people,” she said. “That’s the rough thing about it — you don’t have all the social interactions if you are working full-time.”
Not sure if you need to update your Constitution & Bylaws? Here are some examples of wording you may not want to have in your constitution, bylaws, and standing rules: 

1. “Organization of women” or “the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization.” As of 2019, the membership eligibility changed to “spouses.” 

2. Membership eligibility that still lists “wives.” It might be easier to just align with the national wording: “Eligibility for membership in the American Legion Auxiliary is determined by The American Legion. The eligibility requirements from The American Legion governing documents shall be provided as a footnote to this Constitution for information purposes and shall be updated as appropriate.” See page 6 of the ALA National Constitution on the MyAuxiliary portal of the national website at www.ALAforVeterans.org

3. National Executive Committeewoman. See No. 1. Try “member” instead. 
As members of the American Legion Auxiliary, we are committed to honoring the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families. Cameron Cruse and Lisa Bradley, co-founders of R.Riveter, created a company that echoes this commitment. Co-recipients of the 2017 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year Award, and both military spouses, Cruse and Bradley experienced firsthand the struggles of finding employment while supporting their military spouses and families through constant relocation. Out of that struggle, R.Riveter was born with a mission to help military spouses and their families find employment that was both stable and mobile. The company makes one-of-a-kind handbags, each with a unique story stemming not only from the process of crafting each item, but also from the materials used. 

“R.Riveter doesn’t hire military spouses to make handbags. We make handbags to hire military spouses and create a greater sense of mission,” reads a description from the company’s website at www.rriveter.com
Don't miss out on ALA member benefits!
Liberty Mutual

Customized auto insurance so you only pay for what you need. Liberty Mutual has partnered with the American Legion Auxiliary to offer members special savings on quality auto and home insurance. More benefits you’ll love: Multi-Policy Discount, Personal Property Replacement and 24-Hour Claims Assistance.

Learn more or get a free quote.
Save the date!
April – Month of the Military Child 
April 15 – Purple Up! Day for military children 
April 17 – Easter Sunday 
April 17-23 – National Volunteer Week 
April 20-25 – National Veterans Creative Arts Festival 
April 21 – VetServe National Day of Service 
April 22 – Earth Day
April 30 – National Military Brats Day 
May – National Military Appreciation Month 
May 6 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day 
May 8 – VE Day 
May 8 – Mother’s Day 
What is the most valuable thing you've learned from being part of the ALA?
All members have special talents that should be utilized, recognized, and praised. We are all here for one reason.” 
— Joanne Valletta, New York 
Legion Family News
Each month, during The American Legion 100 Miles for Hope challenge, the top fundraiser will receive a special incentive. For March, top fundraiser and American Legion member Chris Yates received an autographed shirt from legendary race car driver Jimmie Johnson. 

All money raised through registration fees and donations goes to The American Legion Veterans & Children Foundation. In turn, those dollars fund programs that provide services that help disabled veterans receive free assistance in getting their earned VA benefits, as well as creating grants for military families who have fallen on hard times. 

The challenge runs until Sept. 5 so there is plenty of time to sign up and compete for incentives. The April participant with the highest fundraising total will receive their choice of an autographed Tony Kanaan shirt, hat or die-cast model car. At the conclusion of the challenge, the top overall fundraiser will receive the top incentive — four tickets to the INDYCAR race of their choosing during the 2023 season. 

For more about the special incentives, visit this page.  
Tips for fundraising success 

It’s understandable that some fundraisers may feel hesitant to ask family members, friends and others for donations. Yates admits he struggles with that but offers this advice: 

  • People don't know unless you ask. Don’t assume that someone has made all the donations they can afford. “We don't decide how much they give, they have to decide what they want to give. So we have to let them know what we're doing so they have the opportunity to donate.” 
  • Make it fun. Yates, a Green Bay Packers fan, was watching a football game last fall with a friend who’s a Washington Commanders supporter. They placed a friendly wager that the loser would donate $100 to the winner’s choice of charity. Once 100 Miles for Hope began, Yates contacted his friend for the $100 donation. 
  • Reach out beyond the Legion Family. Yates said he was talking with someone he has a working relationship with who had not heard of 100 Miles for Hope previously. Yates wasn’t comfortable bringing it up in the workplace, but his friend said, “You need to let us know, we'll decide whether we have the resources to contribute or not." Yates provided the information and his friend donated $250 on the spot. 
  • Share the story. “The best way is to share the story of The American Legion, share the story of brotherhood and sisterhood among veterans, and share the story of the power behind having a foundation that helps disabled veterans and their families. As a society, how can you not be behind that?” 

Yates has actively participated in each of the first three editions of the 100 miles challenge. “What makes 100 Miles for Hope such a genius idea is the concept of personal fitness and wellness while getting out there and raising funds to support veterans and military families,” Yates said. “How does that not resonate well with anybody, with any American? And not to sound selfish, but when we put ourselves first, we put ourselves in a position to serve others, and that's not a selfish thing that's a servant thing. And when you can show that and when you can do that on a regular basis, and you're genuine about it, people gravitate to that.” That authenticity is appealing to donors. “When people see that on social media, they see a trust, they want to be part of something, and they're willing to contribute whatever it is that they have at the time to a good cause.” 
Last call for entries in The American Legion Media Alliance annual contest. Deadline is April 15.
ALA Membership
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Legion Family Merchandise
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American Legion Flag & Emblem Sales.
The American Legion Legislative Alerts
The ALA supports the legislative agenda of The American Legion.
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.