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Living in the New Normal

LINN engages the civilian community in supporting military-connected children and familiesIn May 2011, for the first time in Massachusetts, the Home Base Program co-convened more than 100 civilian leaders statewide to develop a plan to support the needs of military-connected children in our state.

The Massachusetts Public Engagement, called Living in the New Normal (LINN) was presented in collaboration with the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), and involved leaders in health care, government, education, non-profit child and youth-serving, business, and the faith community. Partially funded by the Bob Woodruff Foundation, LINN is part of the Home Base Program’s commitment to engage the civilian community in supporting the mental health needs of military families.

Visit our photo gallery to see pictures from the Living in the New Normal Massachusetts Public Engagement.

The Need is Great

The need is great, as LINN founder Patty Shinseki and Home Base’s Paula Rauch, MD, wrote in The Boston HeraldCurrently, more than 13,000 children in Massachusetts have a parent who is serving in the United States military, including the Massachusetts National Guard. And thousands more Massachusetts children have a parent or sibling who has been deployed during the past 10 years as part of the Global War on Terror.

Because Massachusetts has a large contingency of National Guard and Reserves without a central base, military-connected children are often isolated in our communities. Military kids move and change schools frequently, and they may have a tough time academically or emotionally in school. They may be deeply affected emotionally or physically by separation from a family member, death, injury, or illness of a loved one in service to our country.

Support for LINN Public Engagement

The Massachusetts LINN Public Engagement was a powerful, eye-opening and important contribution to President Obama’s Joining Forces Initiative, launched in April 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. Esteemed leaders from the civilian community in Massachusetts set aside their personal politics, awoke to the urgency of the need, and eagerly embraced their role as civilian leaders, parents, neighbors and active community members to raise awareness of the needs of military children and families. The entire Massachusetts Congressional Delegation as well as Governor Patrick and Lt. Governor Tim Murray supported the effort as honorary steering committee members.

Watch the welcome videos from Senator John Kerry (left) and Senator Scott Brown (right) below.

 



Meet the Brown Family

Massachusetts National Guard Staff Sergeant Michael Brown and the Brown family’s teenage daughter spoke movingly about their deployment experiences (including not having their dad at school graduations), and helped to spur the urgency of the Living in the New Normal (LINN) Public Engagement Initiative.

Results from Living in the New Normal MA Public Engagement

All over Massachusetts, educators, health care providers and community members are translating the lessons from the MA Public Engagement to their own constituents.

In November 2011, Home Base partnered with the MA Department of Public Health to train school nurses and with the Department of Education to train early childhood educators.

Our caregivers also presented to the annual conference of school superintendants and school committees in Massachusetts. We have been honored to help in creating a deeper understanding and acknowledgement of the role civilians play in supporting the 1% who serve.