Military Moms Rock!

by Linda Franklin

They are right!  One picture is worth a thousand words.  This is why Shining Service is devoted to helping women in the military.

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life.

Military Families and Financial Resiliency

 Janine Boldrin, Military Spouse

Military Families and Financial Resiliency  Shining Service WorldwideOver thirteen years as a military spouse, I’ve messed up a lot. Most of the time my mistakes were because I just didn’t know any better. For instance, I bought a huge couch that was hard to fit in every house from the day we bought it. We moved that couch to five different states and (finally!) just got a new set that is much leaner and more easily fit into the many places we call home. That first couch may not seem like a big deal to most people but a poor decision made me anxious to buy something new because I was tired of reconfiguring every living room we lived in around that one piece of furniture. The choice to buy a big sofa cost my family money.

Then there was six years ago, when my husband went back to school. We moved to a college town where the mass transportation system was awesome. He could ride the bus to school every day and I could walk to the grocery store and local playground. It was ideal situation for us to own only one vehicle for two years and cut down on car payments and insurance costs.

Too bad I only found this out several months into living at our new home. And it was really too bad that we already purchased a huge SUV and a new station wagon within weeks of arriving.  This decision was one of the biggest financial errors our family has made and it cost us for several years afterward.

All of these lessons were ones that I wish I had learned early on in my life as a military spouse so I could have saved our family some financial heartache. There are certain subjects we share as military spouse friends but financial suggestions seem to be one that we often skip or, even worse, may inadvertently lend some bad advice.

If we bought a house, we often recommend to a friend that buying is a good option for them. However, each military family has a unique situation that requires a huge amount of evaluation. If we buy a new car, a friend may start thinking about buying a new one too because you got yours at a military sales event that only goes on until Friday. Your neighbors have puppies and she says there are two more in the litter and they are moving in two days, can you take one? Maybe you decide to get a dog.

As military families, we need to think differently plus be making better decisions than we have in the past. Why do I feel this is an urgent need? There are too many of us drowning in debt. Too many of us with houses we can’t sell. Too many of us in foreclosure or operating as accidental landlords. There are too many shelters filled with pets that are abandoned around military installations.
We are facing a huge amount of uncertainty with the drawdown in Afghanistan, the looming budget issues, the present day budget cuts, and the possible change in troop composition and distribution. Our families need to become more financially resilient in anticipation of change. Whether you are a new spouse or a seasoned one, examine how you make purchasing decisions that impact your financial well-being. If you’re not considering your mobile, military lifestyle when making a purchase, start now. Change is coming. Will your financial house hold up to a storm?

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life.

Shining Service Veterans Day Makeover

by Linda Franklin 

Here are more pix from our Veterans Day Makeover at The W. Hotel Times Square.  Thanks again to the W Hotels,Room Hair Service and Rose Callahan for their help in making this day a huge heart-to-heart experience.

Shining Service Veterans Day Makeover Linda Franklin Shining Service Worldwide

This was taken outside the W Hotel right in the heart of Times Square.  Don’t you love Uncle Sam Mickey?

Shining Service Veterans Day Makeover Linda Franklin Shining Service Worldwide

 

Making Over The Military – One Woman At A Time

by Barbara Hannah Grufferman

I have witnessed firsthand the sheer and unfiltered joy that a woman who has been to hell and back can express when she feels pretty. I’ve seen the glow that comes with the understanding that her service to America is acknowledged and appreciated. To celebrate Veteran’s Day, several women veterans were pampered with new hairstyles and makeup applied to accentuate their gorgeous eyes and brilliant smiles at the special Veteran’s Day Military Makeover event hosted by Shining Service Worldwide.

Shining Service was founded by post-50 former Wall Street executive Linda Franklin. Linda is better known right now as the woman who started “The Real Cougar Woman” blog and website a few years ago as a way to give women the tools to feel empowered, not realizing her blogs were a hit with women in the military, too. Turns out, quite a few military women in active duty were reading her blog every day, leaving comments on the site, thanking Linda for keeping their spirits up. They even called themselves “Combat Cougars.” Seeing an opportunity to help women in the military — including those in active duty, veterans, military wives and mothers — Linda started Shining Services specifically to support the reintegration of military women back to civilian life with a multitude of programs and events, including the extremely popular Makeover Missions, all of which take place in high end salons which donate the time and services of their staff to make these brave women feel special and beautiful.

There are myriad challenges women, specifically, can face when they make the transition from ‘woman in uniform’ to ‘veteran’… including unemployment and a high incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Defense Department found that 1 in 3 women in the military have been victims of sexual assault or rape. Marcia Yerman wrote in a Huffington Post blog:

For women in the military who have been raped, the rate of PTSD is higher than for men who have been in active combat. According to Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, 40 percent of homeless female veterans were raped while serving and as a result, “can’t hold their lives together.”

It’s a daunting task, but Linda Franklin is determined to give these women the tools and encouragement they need to feel good about themselves, the first step toward reintegrating into civilian life, which includes looking for jobs and housing, and learning to cope with thepsychological setbacks that can frequently occur. The unique “The Power of Ten Life Skills Program” is three-month mentoring program offered by Shining Services designed to help women veterans with jobs, health and financial management, and a house in Brooklyn is being renovated to serve as a transitional home for women veterans (and their children) until they can find jobs and start their new lives outside the military.

Helping a woman re-connect with her feminine power is just as important, however, especially as a tool to build self-esteem and confidence. And giving these women, who are so incredibly deserving of our thanks and appreciation, a day of beauty and pampering is powerful, indeed.

Here I am with a woman vet who served in Afghanistan at the Veteran’s Day Makeover event at theW Hotel at Times Square in New York City.2012-11-09-PhotoatShiningServices.jpg

Mary was absolutely glowing (as were all the other women) after Michael Duenas, founder of Hair Room Service styled her hair and Ashleigh B. Ciucci (both of whom usually work with visiting dignitaries and stars who are staying in NYC hotels, but graciously donated their time and skills for this lovely event) gave her a whole new look with the magic of makeup. Participants had photos taken by professional photographer Rose Callahan (who also donated her time and expertise for this worthy cause) as a reminder of how truly beautiful they are.

Each woman I met at the event, many of whom were mothers and grandmothers, told me they had served in the military for over 20 years — including stints in some of the most dangerous places in the world — and now it was time for them to forge new lives.

This was a beautiful start.

I salute you, women in the military, veterans, wives, mothers, girlfriends and daughters. We all salute and thank you. Happy Veteran’s Day!

Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family.  Our goal is successful re-integration back into civilian life