Home Front Hearts

6
Sep
2011


One of the wonderful aspects of The Confident Mom is the community of moms that I find myself amongst.  I love the interactions, unexpected meetings and stories that you all share.

Recently I had the opportunity to learn of an organization that provides support and resources to the families of service members.  I had mentioned ways families could serve outside the home in one of my newsletters, and a mom sent me a note to share her organization, because I had mentioned ways to help military families.

I would love to introduce you all to Randi Cairns.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of Home Front Hearts, Inc.  The mission of Home Front Hearts is to serve the families that serve our country by: providing support and resources to the families of service members, increasing public awareness of the struggles and sacrifices of military families, and engaging both individuals and businesses in building communities that are responsive to the needs of these families.

I hope you enjoy getting to know Randi and how she shares her heart in ways that help our military families!

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a proud military wife and mom to four great kids – Kate (15), PJ (14), Connor (7) and Sara (6).  I have 22+ years experience in the not-for-profit sector and have always enjoyed work that allows me to advocate for others.  I have my Masters in Human Services with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and love that Home Front Hearts allows me to combine my background and education with my personal experiences as a military family to serve our country’s service members and their loved ones.

How did you get involved with Home Front Hearts and tell me about the organization.

There is a discrepancy between the needs of military families and existing supports.  Inaccessibility, lack of knowledge about the kinds of resources available, and shame about admitting to difficulties are all barriers to families receiving the assistance they require.

Home Front Hearts, recognizing that there were gaps in the resources available for military folks and their families, is committed to filling those gaps with tangible forms of assistance.  Efforts are focused on increasing public awareness and engaging both individuals and businesses (both military and civilian alike) in building supportive communities.

Specifically, Home Front Hearts provides resources and referrals, linkages to existing services, and a wide array of other supports to our country’s service members and their loved ones.  In addition, the organization serves the additional function of acting as a “point of contact” for individuals and/or families who might otherwise have difficulty navigating the system.

Home Front Hearts is my 5th “baby” – born of my desire to honor those who serve and their families. Through this organization, it is my intention to give voice to the families who also serve when their loved ones are called to duty. And to call to action the communities in which they live.

How does Home Front Hearts help families?

We determine what existing resources might best meet the needs of those we serve and provide connections, information and referral, and follow up care. When established resources are not available, Home Front Hearts rallies communities across the country to give back to these families who sacrifice so much. When communities unite in this way there is the added benefit of giving others the opportunity to make a difference.

Home Front Hearts uses advocacy, education and outreach, to provide tangible ways for all of us to make a difference.

Less than 1% of our country and their families serve to protect and defend us and our way of life.  Home Front Hearts believes that we have an obligation to protect and support THEM.

Give one example of a family being helped through this organization.

We are currently working with a family in Arkansas.  They were referred to us by a nonprofit that specializes in providing military spouses with employment services.  While the wife had only been seeking a work-at-home job, and had not made anyone aware of the hardships the family was facing, it became evident very quickly that more than employment assistance would be necessary to help this family.

The husband is a wounded warrior who is 100% disabled as a result of his military service.  His medical needs make it impossible for his wife to seek work outside of the home.  We learned that they had no hot water heater and had to use their stove to warm up water for baths and such.

We were able to connect them with a generous donor who has supplied them with a new water heater. They will also receive electric blankets, bedding, etc.  in addition to the items on their holiday wish list.

Hot water won’t address all of the difficulties facing this family – but it’s a start.

What can readers do now to help make a difference?

We work 365 days a year to assist military families.  EVERYONE has the ability to make a difference.  They can spread word of our efforts, help us to network with community groups and businesses, share resources, share their time and skills, etc.  And of course as a nonprofit – we’re always very grateful for donations (which can be made securely via PayPal on our website at www.homefronthearts.org). The list is always growing/changing on ways families can help, so we welcome contact via the website http://www.homefronthearts.org/contact/, or by email/phone to discuss how each person can contribute in a way that serves our military families but also adds value to the lives of those giving.

Photo Credit

 

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