Greetings, and welcome to our quarterly newsletter for HomeFront Strong!

HomeFront Strong is continuing to work with participants to identify and make program enhancements as needed to move our program to the next step but we are not enrolling participants into the program. 

Nonetheless, we would love to continue to hear from you. We continue to receive referral requests and we couldn’t meet the needs of the romantic partners of service members and veterans without YOU! Hearing what your programs are doing through COVID or updates that you might have to benefit spouses/partners are always passed on to those who need it!

We are pursuing additional long-term funding for HomeFront Strong and we hope to keep you posted on this!

All the best, 
The HomeFront Strong Team
Dear Friends,

The arrival of Michigan spring is always worth celebrating! This year, spring brings with it an extra dose of hope and reflections on how far we have come this year.  

Last spring, our team unexpectedly transitioned to working from home – which really meant dining rooms, basements, and bedrooms became our new offices and kids, dogs, and spouses became our new co-workers. What started off as a brief interruption has turned into a new normal for most of us. But we kept going! 50 new military and veteran spouses joined the HomeFront Strong web-based program this past year, connecting with our team and learning new strategies for resilience. It seems that now more than ever, we’ve all had to dig a little deeper to remind ourselves of those skills and to keep practicing gratitude, self-care, and positive thinking. 
Field of pink tulips
Since HomeFront Strong started in 2012, more than 300 families in Michigan have participated in our program. And we have connected with over 400 professionals and organizations dedicated to supporting military and veteran families. We are so thankful for each of you!

We encourage you to refresh your memory on some of the skills you learned in HomeFront Strong. What was your favorite Grounding Strategy? When was the last time you practiced it? Today is a good a day to focus on you and your resilience!

Happy Spring!

The HomeFront Strong Team
Skills Reminder: Mindfulness
When you think back on your day today, can you remember ALL of it? Did you pay attention to what you ate for breakfast? Did you notice the first rays of sun peeking through the window? If you closed your eyes, would you remember what color your socks are? Oftentimes, we go through our days on “autopilot” performing tasks while thinking of something else and not really paying attention to the moment. When we do this, we can miss out on so much! Practicing a more mindful approach to our day can help us find nuggets of good that we otherwise might have missed.

Mindfulness is the practice of bringing our awareness to the present moment and accepting our thoughts and feelings without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can be calming for many people. It can also help us learn to act, rather than re-act, to life’s many situations.

The HomeFront Strong workbook (Pages 66-68) and online module (Week Seven) offer a full mindfulness practice along with ideas for how to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Whether you use the HomeFront Strong website/workbook or check out one of our featured apps in this newsletter, we encourage you to take a moment to practice mindfulness today! 
Where in the Mitten?
Where We've Been: Over the years we have traveled throughout the state to bring you information about HomeFront Strong. Our outreach efforts to support military and veteran spouses really show when we look at where YOU live. Just look at all of the places in Michigan where our HomeFront Strong participants call home!
Image of Michigan with cities shaded in a darker blue color
Staff Highlight

It’s been a while since we last saw each other. Let’s get to know more about our team!

Do you ever wonder about the surveys you complete for HomeFront Strong? A large part of our program is finding out your thoughts on HomeFront Strong and how the program may have helped you. Our fantastic research team helps to make sure that your information is kept confidential and anonymous. Then, combining all the surveys across the program together, they analyze the results to help us improve the program and to share with our funder how the program is doing.

Our research staff has a combined 12 years of experience with HomeFront Strong. Although Chrysta and Stephanie are often “behind the scenes,” many of you may recognize Iris and Emma from our child team that was offered for in-person programs. If you’d like to learn more about our team, check out our website.
Images of HomeFront Strong staff members
Changes in HFS
Please join us in sending our Program Manager, Jennifer, and our Program Therapist, Holli, off in style! 

Jennifer has been with HomeFront Strong since 2016, first as a program therapist and then as the manager of the program. Jennifer has recently taken a new position at Michigan Veterans Affairs Administration (MVAA) and will have a key role in expanding outreach services to veterans across the state of Michigan. 

Holli has been with HomeFront Strong since 2019 as the program therapist. Holli led several of our in-person groups and has continued to support our research team this past year. 

Thank you for your wonderful contributions, Jennifer and Holli! We will miss you dearly. 
Images of Jennifer and Holli, two Homefront Strong staff who have left the program.
Resource Corner
Each month we highlight a few resources that military and veteran families might find helpful. Here are a few that may be of interest to you:
  • If you or your veteran are waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, you may qualify to receive it through your local VA. Families who are registered for healthcare can call their local hospital and schedule an appointment. 

  • If you are NOT currently registered for VA healthcare, you may qualify for healthcare benefits. The VA offers veterans a full spectrum of healthcare services, including inpatient, outpatient, pharmacy, dental care and others. If your veteran served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, but your family is not registered, you can get all of your questions answered by contacting the Health Benefits Service Center:  or call 877-222-8387.

  • Are you wondering what your children will be doing this summer? Summer camps for military/veteran children might be an option. Although many camps have not released information for the 2021 summer yet, it’s a good time to start looking and planning for when dates are released!

  • Looking for COVID resources? University of Michigan compiled a comprehensive list of potential resources in the Michigan COVID-19 Resource Guide. Even if you have visited this site recently, it is updated monthly and may have some new resources available.
Helpful Apps
Mobile Apps
With so many apps out there for smartphone users, it is hard to know which ones are helpful. Our team has reviewed many different apps and these are some of our favorites. Check them out and let us know what you think!

  • An app developed specifically to help plan and organize the often unpredictable life of military families? Yes please! Organized Chaos is fully customizable and helps you keep every detail in line even when life is stressful. Free on iOS.
App logo for Organized Chaos

  • Whether your family is planning for a deployment, preparing for a drill weekend, or thinking ahead towards annual training, this app might be perfect for you! United Through Reading has long been around but is new as an app. The app is even more user friendly than the online version and helps service members record themselves reading a story for their kids to hear as many times as they would like. Available for iOS and Android.
Logo for United Through Reading app
Logo for United through Reading app
Mindfulness Apps
If you radiate towards mindfulness as a grounding strategy (see our skills reminder in this newsletter), there might be an app or two for you! 
  • Go Particles: Designed to provide users with a relaxing experience in mindfulness, this app provides a visually beautiful experience. Particles of various size and colors move and are controlled by touch. This simple and basic app helps develop your ability to use mindfulness in a simple and elegant way. Free (with in-app purchases). Available for iOS.
Logo for Go Particles app
  • Insight Timer: This app offers thousands of meditations in various categories, such as: learning to meditate, coping with anxiety, managing stress, and improving sleep. Meditations range in length from a few minutes to one hour and can be guided or self-directed. Free (with in-app purchases). Available for iOS and Android
Logo for Insight Timer app
  • Calm: This app is expensive, but it has won several awards and is widely used, which is why we wanted to include it. Calm helps users improve their sleep, learn to meditate, and improve relaxation. The app encourages users to complete a daily mood check and offers options for various meditations, mindfulness, calming music, and sleep stories. For those wanting to learn more about meditation, the app provides education on what it is and how it is helpful. There is also a section of the app devoted to children. $69.99 per year. Available for iOS and Android
Logo for Calm app
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Homefront Strong Facebook post showing two large dogtag decorations on a front door that read "Welcome Home".
HomeFront Strong is part of Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN), a collection of military mental health programs within the University of Michigan Depression Center.
HomeFront Strong
2025 Traverwood Dr., Suite C | Ann Arbor | MI | 48105