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In this Issue...

Snowball Express 2019

Food Safety Tips For The Holidays


Ombudsman Moment Increasing Military Family Resilience With Increased Resources Help For The Holiday Blues

From December 7-11, staff from the Navy Gold Star Program has the honor of participating in the Annual Snowball Express event hosted in Orlando, Fla. Since 2006, Snowball Express, supported by the Gary Sinise Foundation, has provides hope and happy memories to the children of service members who have died while on active duty since September 11, 2001. The program brings children together from all over the world on a five-day experience filled with fun activities like sporting events, dances, amusement parks, and more. Snowball Express volunteers create a weekend of events to connect the children and surviving spouses of the fallen with others who going through the same experiences. Children who attend Snowball Express events know they are not alone, and the sacrifices their parents made while serving our country are not forgotten.

Visit us online at:

Navy Gold Star staff will join more than 1,700 military family members enjoying friendship, education and communal healing, helping connect these families to one another. Follow the Navy Gold Star Facebook page at https:// to see daily updates directly from Snowball Express. If you would like more information about this event, visit

Family Connection is a publication of the Fleet and Family Support Program. The Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Program promotes the self-reliance and resilience of Sailors and their families. We provide information that can help you meet the unique challenges of the military lifestyle. The appearance of external links in this newsletter does not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the U.S. Navy or Department of Defense. If you have questions or comments, contact the Fleet and Family Support Program,

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Food Safety Tips For The Holidays WASHING YOUR HANDS AND MORE… Feasting with family and friends is part of many holiday celebrations. Follow these simple tips to keep safe from food poisoning or foodborne illness during the holidays. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends: „ Wash your hands with soap and water before, during and after preparing food. Wash after touching raw meat, raw eggs or unwashed vegetables, before eating or drinking and before or after caring for someone who is sick. Wash hands before or after treating a cut or wound; after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after using the toilet or changing diapers; after touching an animal, their food or waste and after touching garbage. „ Cook

food thoroughly, especially meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. Use a food thermometer to ensure these foods have been cooked to the safe minimum internal temperature.

„ Keep

food out of the “danger zone” by refrigerating or freezing any perishable food within two hours.

„ Keep

foods separated. Keep meat, poultry, seafood and eggs separate from other foods in the refrigerator and prevent juices from dripping or leaking onto other foods by keep them in containers or sealed plastic bags.

„ Safely

thaw your turkey. Thaw your turkey in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes or in the microwave. A turkey must thaw at a safe temperature to prevent harmful germs from growing rapidly when the turkey is at room temperature.

„ Take

extra care if you are pregnant or preparing food for someone who is.

You can find these tips and more at the CDC’s website at https:// pasteurized eggs and do not eat dough or batter made with eggs or flour. Many holiday favorites contain raw eggs, including eggnog, tiramisu, hollandaise sauce and Caesar dressing.

„ Use



Ombudsman Moment MODULE 2 – MANAGING YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES A commanding officer selects an ombudsman after a careful and thorough recruiting process to ensure that he or she is the best candidate to serve the command families. An appointment letter is sent to officially recognize the relationship between the command and the ombudsman, as well as convey key information relative to the position. An important form for ombudsmen to complete is the DD Form 2793, Volunteer Agreement. This form has details about the certain protections for the volunteer during the performance of their role and states that the ombudsman will have access to personal information about the command member and family from the command roster. Last, but certainly not least, each ombudsman’s information is added to the Ombudsman Registry, which enrolls them for program and training updates. The volunteer position of command ombudsman comes with ongoing responsibilities after the initial training and paperwork has been completed. Ombudsmen are encouraged to introduce themselves to their Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) or Reserve Component Command (RCC) Ombudsman Coordinator, meet regularly with their command leadership, attend Ombudsman Assembly Meetings and participate in Advanced Trainings. Ombudsman can use varying tools to promote the program to their command families. Social media is the most popular application; however, email and newsletters are still widely used and effective. After identifying their target audience, the ombudsman and command leadership will determine the best way for the ombudsman to interact with families. This may involve different methods depending on the age, location and preferences of the individuals. It is important for the ombudsman to be able to reach all spouses or next of kin so that in the event of an emergency or crisis situation, she or he can deliver pertinent information regarding the situation. Remember, though, ombudsmen will NEVER share roster information with another entity without the express permission of the commanding officer and/or the person involved. The work ombudsmen do as volunteers saves the U.S. Navy millions of dollars each year – money that would not be available to pay staff to perform the same work. If you are interested in becoming a command ombudsman, talk to your commanding officer or contact your FFSC Ombudsman Coordinator or RCC Warrior and Family Support Specialist for more information about the role and responsibilities. To contact your command ombudsman, use the Contact Your Ombudsman feature on the Ombudsman Registry home page at https://ombudsmanregistry.

JOIN US LIVE! WEBINARS ARE OPEN TO ALL SAILORS AND FAMILY MEMBERS Organize Your Life December 10, 1 p.m. EST Effective time management is one of the hardest skills to master. Do you feel like there is never enough time to achieve the goals you set for yourself? If you attend this webinar, you will learn how to set priorities and feel more in control of the time you have. Twelve Ways to Cope with Holiday Stress December 12, 1 p.m. EST Welcome to the holiday season! While this time of year evokes love and cheer, it can also be bring holiday stress. We all feel stressed from time to time, but the holidays offer their own special stressors, such as a family get-togethers that turn ugly over politics or shopping for gifts that puts strain on finances. Here you can learn helpful tips to bust holiday stress and bring on the fa-la-la-la-la! Register Today! For a full list of topics or more information, visit Fleet and Family Support Program’s Live Well Resiliency Webinars Website. Do you have a suggestion for a Live Well topic? Send us an email:



Increasing Military Family Resilience With Increased Resources Dealing with frequent moves, long deployments and major transitions requires stamina and strength. Resilient families seem to handle the ups-and-downs better than others do. Building resilience, the ability to recover in the face of stress and the capacity to adapt to change, can help your family deal with the demands of military life. Resilient families are flexible, connected and great at using their resources to solve problems. Families show resilience by listening and showing affection, making connections, getting comfortable with change and staying positive. Resilient individuals and families make connections. Individual resilience is dependent upon the systems the individual interacts with, including one’s family and community. For example, military unit support and community connectedness are related to family well-being and adaptation to transitions. To build resilience among military families, it is important to offer resources that connect Navy Families to sources of sustenance and nurturance. By doing so, we can foster the building of resiliency through helping families to successfully navigate military life transitions.

GREAT NEW RESOURCES FOR MILITARY FAMILIES! The Navy has made it easier for us to learn all we need to navigate through military life – and it’s right in the palms of our hands. Introducing … Navy Family eLearning, found via the Navy Family Portal. You didn’t know you had a portal? Now you do! The Navy Family Portal is your gateway to four powerful resources: Navy Family eHandbook - When you are at the grocery store, do you ever flip through a magazine and skim the headlines or glance at articles that catch your eye? The Navy has created a magazine just for you! The Navy Family eHandbook is an interactive online magazine that provides information to all members of a Navy family, including Sailors, spouses, parents, siblings, partners and friends. This trusted resource can provide answers to families about the Navy and is accessible by anyone, anywhere, at any time. You do not even have to make an account to gain access. Simply click on the Family Login button for immediate entry to the eHandbook.

„ The

„ New

Spouse Orientation - Have you ever gone through a new employee orientation when you were hired for a job? Wouldn’t it be great if you got a similar onboarding experience when you became a Navy spouse? It’s your lucky day! New Spouse Orientation helps make the transition to the military life as smooth as possible. It can help guide you through the paperwork that needs to be completed when you marry a Sailor (much like completing paperwork for human resources at a new job) and introduce you to the military culture and lifestyle (just like learning about a company’s culture, benefits and traditions).

Navy Spouse eLibrary – Don’t you just love a good library? The Navy Spouse eLibrary is a one-stop online-shop with information for every stage of your military lifecycle, organized by subject areas including financial management, employment, parenting, relocation, deployment and transition.

„ The

„ Live

Well Resiliency Webinars – The Live Well Resiliency Webinars bring information to you live! You can connect with others from around the globe from the comfort of your own home, your office or the coffee shop of your choice. Webinars are about an hour long and provide tips, tools and resources to support the Navy lifestyle.

If you just want to access the Navy Family eHandbook, click on the Family Login button. To access other resources on the Navy Family Portal, go to to create an account. Also available is the MyNavy Family App. Go to your device’s app store to download it and discover a treasure trove of resources for Navy Spouses and Sailors’ families, combining official information from more than 22 websites. There you have it: Online resources brought to you by the Navy to meet your needs at your convenience! The more informed your family is, the better you are able to understand Navy life, plan for challenges and prepare for those last-minute emergencies.



Help For The Holiday Blues TRAVEL HELPS WITH STRESS MANAGEMENT Did you know that traveling could help with management of every day stressors? Scheduling time away from regular routines can have positive effects on overall health and stress management. The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) American Forces Travel program is dedicated to providing the best value and choice for online leisure travel for military and government members. Relieving stress is an imperative part of mission readiness, and American Forces Travel is able to help reduce the financial and trip organization stresses that come along with arranging a vacation.

DEPLOYED? Especially during the holidays, being deployed can be a difficult time for military families. As the official Morale, Welfare, and Recreation platform partnered with world leaders in travel, American Forces Travel is committed to supporting quality of life to help make tough times a little easier. The MWR American Forces Travel website offers member exclusive rates to help take the financial stress as possible off of traveling. Those families with a member who is planning to deploy soon can research travel rates on American Forces Travel to treat the family to a well-deserved distraction trip or to plan for when your loved one returns.

TRAVELING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS? American Forces Travel is a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) program that offers great travel rates for the military and government community to utilize as an affordable option to get home for the holidays. American Forces Travel offers economy airfare, rental car promotions through December 31, 2019 and thousands of hotels to choose from so families can spend less to travel more. If your family needs a little extra room for company, American Forces Travel offers 60% off hotels this holiday season. Depending on your travel destination, pet-friendly lodging is available so you do not have to leave your furry family members at home or have them boarded. Shop around today on to see what options best suite your needs for rejuvenating your mind and managing stress as the New Year rolls around.


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Family Connection Newletter December 2019  

Family Connection Newletter December 2019  

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