Targeting Unmet Military Community Needs: Recommendations to the Central North Carolina Red Cross for Improving the Outreach Capacity of its Service to the Armed Forces
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Policy Question: How can the Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Red Cross improve its capacity to support local service members, veterans, and their families? Recommendation: I recommend the Central NC Red Cross focus on increasing support services to less visible members of the local military community, specifically National Guard and Reserve families and extended military family members who may fall outside of more traditional support networks. This can be accomplished through: 1. Implementing an undergraduate Service to the Armed Forces (SAF) internship program; 2. Forming a local, volunteer-led Military Community Learning Series; 3. Raising public awareness of military Reserve and National Guard service. Problem Statement: The Central NC Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces department is seeking meaningful ways to expand its support to the local military community within a limited budget. Traditionally, SAF is known for sending emergency communications messages to troops, but now that this service is housed at a national level, smaller chapters, such as the one in Durham, are looking for new ways to serve the military community. To improve the department’s capacity to support service members, veterans, and their families, the Red Cross needs to identify appropriate military-related outreach projects; increase SAF-specific volunteer participation; improve networking with, and knowledge of, other military support organizations; and more effectively communicate the types of SAF services they offer locally. Given the varied region the chapter covers, which includes rural, suburban, and metropolitan areas, SAF also needs to broaden its target audience to include more vulnerable or nontraditional members of the military community who might otherwise be overlooked. Criteria: The following five criteria were applied to ensure that the alternatives proposed would: 1. Help the greatest number of people possible; 2. Provide a unique and useful service; 3. Reach an underserved audience; 4. Maximize financial and logistical feasibility, including marketability; 5. Inspire increased volunteer interest and ongoing engagement. Alternatives: the above criteria were used to assess the appropriateness of the proceeding six alternatives: 1. Implement a Triangle-wide SAF undergraduate internship program; 2. Provide free child care vouchers to military families with children; 3. Offer comprehensive SAF resource and referral casework services; 4. Create support groups for extended military family members; 5. Form a local, volunteer-led Military Community Learning Series; 6. Raise public awareness of military Reserve and National Guard service.
DepartmentThe Sanford School of Public Policy
Subjectmilitary family support
nonprofit military outreach
Service to the Armed Forces
Reserve and National Guard
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Rights for Collection: Sanford School Master of Public Policy (MPP) Program Master’s Projects