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,

Welcome to our final newsletter from HomeFront Strong...for now. HomeFront Strong was first developed in 2012 with funding from the Ethel & James Flinn Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. In 2014, we received funding from the Department of Defense to expand the program to more communities in Michigan and to offer a web-based version of HomeFront Strong. 
Holding hands with service member
Our mission has always been to offer a high-quality resiliency program for military and veteran spouses and significant others, and to bring it to as many people as possible. With the end of our current funding, our focus will transition to making program enhancements, sharing our findings, and most importantly, seeking funds to share HomeFront Strong with military and veteran families across the country. Every member of the HomeFront Strong team remains dedicated to this mission and we are excited for what is to come!

In this last newsletter, we want to take time to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you. This program would not have been successful without you!

Most warmly,

The HomeFront Strong Team
Skills Reminder: HomeFront Strong
HomeFront Strong is more than a program; it is a collection of skills that you have learned to increase your resilience. It is a myriad of strategies to help you tell your story, own your story, and be proud of that story. These skills and strategies can be helpful in the moment, or can be useful as you reflect and heal from past challenges or prepare for future difficulties. You have done the work, and now can turn back to HomeFront Strong whenever you need to boost your resilience. 
HomeFront Strong resilience house
Each session of HomeFront Strong has been developed to guide you through various tried and true components to build a strong house, along with grounding strategies to shore you up when needed. Whether you are looking for ways to better manage stress, change your negative thinking, or build up your community, HomeFront Strong can guide you to success. Your workbook is a great resource moving forward, or the website will remain active and available to you. We hope you keep using and learning these skills!
Where in the Mitten?
Where We've BeenOver the years. our HomeFront Strong outreach team traveled across the state to share resources for military and veteran families. Here’s a look back at where we’ve been! 
Image of Michigan with stars marking cities
Where You Were: Our participants hail from across the state. Just look at all of the places in Michigan where YOU call home!
Image of Michigan with cities shaded a darker blue color
Staff Highlight

For this final Staff Highlight, we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Michelle Kees, who is the Director of HomeFront Strong and also of our overarching military programs at the University of Michigan, M-SPAN (Military Support Programs and Networks).
Hi! My name is Michelle. We first started our military and veteran programs at UM in 2008. In those early years, I spent many weekends traveling across the state attending Post-Deployment Yellow Ribbon Reintegration events hosted by the Michigan National Guard. I was honored to hear stories from military spouses about the challenges they faced during deployment and afterwards while re-integrating their families into the “new normal.” Many, many times, we heard service members and spouses ask for help for their families. Learning from these stories, I developed the first HomeFront Strong group in 2012 with 9 fabulous women. From there, we went on to be funded by the Department of Defense and to serve well over 300 Michigan families through in-person groups and web-based programs.
Image of Dr. Michelle Kees
Michelle Kees, PhD
The mission has stayed the same: support military and veteran spouses and significant others throughout the military life cycle – pre-deployment, deployment, post-deployment, veteran. My husband served in the National Guard many years before we were married, and it has been my pleasure to serve our Michigan military and veteran families. I have relished getting to know each of you and hearing your stories. And I have so enjoyed working with this fabulous team and connecting with providers and professional organizations across the state. While this chapter of HomeFront Strong may be coming to a close, we aren’t done yet! Stay tuned for what’s next…
Resource Corner
Each newsletter we have highlighted seasonally appropriate resources for military and veteran families. This quarter, we’d like to share some of the tried and true organizations that are available to support you and your family:

  • Blue Star Families is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening America's military families through community building.
  • Military One Source is a Department of Defense-funded program that connects service members, families, and survivors to resources, benefits and services.
  • Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including readjustment counseling to eligible veterans, active duty service members (including National Guard and Reserve components), and their families.
  • Michigan Veterans Affair Agency has a wealth of resources, and helps connect veterans to their benefits and other services.
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:  
Guided Mind
This simple, straightforward app provides guided meditations on various topics, such as visualization, affirmations, sleep, and motivation. Users can select between different voices to lead the mediation and can adjust the length of the meditation. While this is free to download, not all of the meditations are free. Available for iOS and Android.
Logo for Guided Mind app
Focusing on both meditation and breathing, MindFi has guided meditation and resources in four main categories: breathing, mood, focus, and various courses. MindFi includes meditations that focus on visualization, and meditations are also suggested to users based on time or day or mood. There is a free version with a lot of available content, but users can upgrade for $12/month or $92/year. Available for iOS and Android
Logo for MindFi app
Gratitude Garden
Gratitude practice is an important grounding strategy that was practiced each week in HomeFront Strong. Gratitude Garden is a fun, different way to practice gratitude. This app helps users identify three things they are grateful for. If the user has difficulties with this task, questions and prompts are given to guide the user through even the most difficult days. Users can earn gratitude points that can be used to build a garden. The app also has gratitude cards with suggestions for positive activities. Free (with in-app purchases). Available for iOS and Android.
Logo for Gratitude Garden app
HomeFront Strong is part of Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN), a collection of military mental health programs within the University of Michigan Eisenberg Family Depression Center.
HomeFront Strong
4850 Plymouth Rd. | Ann Arbor | MI | 48109