Chances are, if you live in San Diego County, you know a friend or a family member who serves, or has served, in the military. San Diego is a military city—it has a rich military history, and currently is home to over 115,000 Active Duty Military and almost 230,000 veterans. Included with these service men and women are their families, as more than half of the active-duty force, approximately 56 percent, are married, and approximately 36 percent of families with active-duty service members include children. With so many military families in our county, it is exciting to see events like Women’s Week, that not only support bringing resources and opportunities to women in San Diego, but to military families, too!
In a survey conducted by Blue Star Families, military families described several lifestyle concerns associated with being in the military, yet 90% of military families also reported that they feel that the general public doesn’t truly understand the sacrifices that are made by their service members and their families, which is another concern in itself. These admirable military families not only have everyday responsibilities to take care of, but they carry the extra weight of serving our country. Military families know that they have to be strong. They have to be ready. They have to be prepared to move their family across the country at a moment’s notice, or leave their family for a long period of time. When this happens, their partners often pick up the extra responsibilities—temporarily transitioning from a dual-parent household to a single-parent household, managing household finances, or integrating into a new community. About 95% of military spouses are women, and these women and their family members exhibit honorable strength and leadership, and deserve to be supported and recognized for their extra sacrifice.
Fortunately, here in San Diego County there are a number of organizations and resources to help alleviate some of the additional hardships put on military families. In the summer of 2015, the County of San Diego opened the Military & Veterans Resource Center located at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido. This first-of-its kind resource center is home to several non-profit organizations dedicated to providing professional support services to Military, Veterans, survivors, and their dependents. Support services range from transition assistance, employment/career services, healthcare, legal, family and community services, and benefits counseling through non-profit Veteran support organizations and accredited County Veteran Services representatives. This collaborative effort is in alignment with Live Well San Diego, the County’s long-term vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities.
In addition to this great new resource in North County, many businesses and other organizations in San Diego County look for ways to support our many military families in the region.
This year, San Diego Women’s Week honors military and veteran families by providing FREE admission to the Opening Day events on March 14th (with Military ID). This day will be filled with connections from health and wellness resources to inspirational speakers—so reach out to your military friends, family members, and neighbors and encourage them to join us for this fun-filled, inspiring day!
For more information about the Military & Veterans Resource Center, please call (760) 740-5604.
Julie Vargas, MPH
Community Health Promotion Specialist
County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency