Celebrating 100 years of patriotic service
The American Legion Auxiliary is a patriotic service organization which has served millions of hours to enhance the quality of life for veterans, military, and their families. The organization acts as an advocate for veterans, educates citizens, mentors youth, and promotes patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security. On November 10th, the ALA celebrates a remarkable 100 years of service.
The ALA was established to help widows and orphans who suffered loss. Today, many service members survive their war injuries but must face living with new challenges. The ALA strives to help these individuals. Because of the ALA, members and volunteers are able to advance their mission of service to veterans, the military, and military families.
Over the years, the American Legion Family has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans, helped military families through transition, and produced many important programs for the country’s youth. The Auxiliary’s efforts are focused in three primary areas: Veterans/Military Support & Advocacy, Family Support, and Youth Development.
In addition to several events hosted throughout the year honoring Veterans, some of the ALA’s initiatives include the following.
Homeless Women Veterans
Women veterans are a fast-growing demographic serving in the U.S. military, and they are six-times more likely to die by suicide than non-servicewomen. To help combat these issues, the American Legion Auxiliary National Executive Committee passed a resolution in 2018 to partner with U.S. VETS for the Women Vets on Point project. The goal of the project is to bridge the gap in effective care and support for women veterans.
The American Legion Auxiliary is among 13 groups nationwide to receive a grant from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Campaign. The grants are for innovative and evidence-based programs that address the long-term needs of military caregivers, spouses, parents, and loved ones caring for service members and veterans at home, helping to fill the gap that exists for this population. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, more than 44 million Americans are caregivers.
Employment of Veterans and Military Spouses
Employment is among the many key areas in which the American Legion Auxiliary and the American Legion try to help military heroes and their families. The nation’s veterans and service members often experience difficulty finding jobs in the civilian world — and so do many of their spouses. According to Blue Star Families and Military Officers Association, the military spouse unemployment rates range from 20% to 25%. Under-employment rates may be as high as 35% to 40% among military spouses. The American Legion Auxiliary is in the early stages of creating an employment toolkit. This toolkit will assist American Legion Auxiliary units in creating local job fairs and providing employment resources in communities.
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State & ALA Girls Nation
American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is among the most respected and selective educational programs of government instruction for U.S. high school students. The Girls State program is a fictional, self-governing state where young women elect their own leaders, write bills for debate, and run a legislative session. In the process, these leaders meet with State Representatives and Senators. The American Legion Auxiliary Hoosier Girls State is June 23-29, 2019 at Trine University.
Following American Legion Auxiliary Girls State programs, two girls are selected from each state to advance to the national program. American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation is a weeklong event in Washington, D.C. that gives participants a firsthand experience of how the federal government works. Each participant is called a senator. While in D.C., the senators visit Capitol Hill and meet with their state Senators and Representatives.
Members in more than 8,000 ALA units across the country are making a difference in the lives of veterans and promoting patriotism in communities. The value of all members’ volunteer service exceeds $1 billion to help the country’s veterans, military, and their families. Some examples of activities at the local level include assembling care packages to send to troops, volunteering at VA medical centers, and educating children about the American flag.
The ALA Junior Activities Program is open to girls from infancy through age 17. This program prepares girls to become active adult members of the American Legion Auxiliary. The girls develop leadership skills while having fun.
For more information on the ALA programs and services and to find out how you can get involved, visit www.alaforveterans.org or contact your local American Legion