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Gold Star family connection & support

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Gold Star extended families
Gold Star spouses
Gold Star children
Gold Star parents
Gold Star siblings
Suicide survivors
Other connection & support organizations
Stories
Memorial event
Organizations, speakers
Widow tips



Gold Star extended families

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
http://www.taps.org/family/


Gold Star spouses

American Widow Project (AWP)
www.americanwidowproject.org
The American Widow Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to the new generation of those who have lost the heroes of yesterday, today and tomorrow, with an emphasis on healing through sharing stories, tears and laughter…Military Widow to Military Widow. Site features include at 75 minute video, resources (songs, poems, books, do-it-yourself, finding support), newsletter, a hotline, and events.

Gold Star Wives
www.goldstarwives.org
Gold Star Wives Of America, Inc. is an organization of military widows/widowers whose spouse died while on active duty or from service connected disabilities.  This military survivors organization has been serving war widows from all conflicts and service connected disabilities since it was founded in 1945.

Real Widows (Blog Talk Radio)
www.blogtalkradio.com/realwidows
Military widsters Deb Petty and LaNita Herlem host an engaging show for, about and by widows. These "Wise Owls" as coined by a fellow widster tackle the issues and topics faced by today's military widow. Join them in their new journey as BTR hosts.

Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
www.sslf.org
The Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation will be recognized as the leading worldwide resource for providing peer-based grief support programs.  With five different Internet based programs, a vibrant community of widowed people, a large list of grief support resources in cities all over the country, and a positive forward looking energy cultivated at every level of our organization Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation is creating a network of support that is available all around the world. 

The Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation is committed to providing compassionate community support to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one; through the creation and implementation of programs dedicated to the ideals of hope and healing.

Society of Military Widows
www.militarywidows.org
This organization benefits widows of members of all branches of the uniformed services of the United States. 
  • Gives moral support, advice, referral service and, in general, help the widows of career military members to return to the main stream of normal living. 
  • Educates the American public concerning the problems and needs of military widows in today's society, and 
  • Preserves the basic truths and enduring principles on which the government of the United States is founded. 

After the casualty officer and the caseworker have gone home and the paperwork is finished, how do you get through the lonely hours? As a military survivor, you very often face problems your civilian counterpart does not. The death of your spouse may be followed by a change of residence and separation from the network of support you have come to expect in the armed forces. You need someone who can help you through this difficult time.

Grief is a natural healing process that must be lived through. As military widows, we are here for you -- to help with your problems, as a support network, as friends, and, sometimes, simply a shoulder to cry on.

If you have specific questions related to your spouse's death or about your rights and benefits as a military survivor, please contact us.

Surviving Spouses Support Group
https://www.facebook.com/SupportGroupForSurvivingSpouses/
Surviving Spouse Support Group (SSSG) is a dedicated group of widows who lost our military spouses while serving in the military.  SSSG has only one goal - to reach out and offer friendship and support to other military families who have lost a spouse after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

SSSG is for all military widowers post 9-11, from all the Armed Forces (active and reserve) including the National Guard and Coast Guard.  

SSSG is a support group focused on military surviving spouses in the southwest region, including all southern California, and Yuma, Arizona.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) - Gold Star spouses & significant others
http://www.taps.org/widow/

The Widowed Pen Pal Program
http://www.widowsbond.com/
The SSLF Widowed Pen Pal program, formerly known as Widow Match, can connect you with a peer with whom you can share the ups and downs of the widowhood journey. You may choose to connect by email, phone, or whatever feels comfortable.

Peer support can be an invaluable resource for widowed people of all ages. You might talk about things other people don't understand, air feelings that are overwhelming, or just discuss what happened during your day. Most of all, you will know that you are not alone. Note: Peer support does not take the place of professional counseling, is not a forum for spiritual guidance, or financial or legal advice. These friendships should not be a burden on either party.

The SSLF Widowed Pen Pal program is the only program like this anywhere, with a track record of outstanding friendships since 2009. The SSLF Widowed Pen Pal program is just one of Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation’s innovative and lifesaving programs for widows and widowers. Our other programs include:

The Soaring Spirits blog, a diverse and daily dose of hope each day.
Camp Widow, a twice-a-year weekend of events.
WidowedVillage.org, with Forums, secure Chat, and other services.



Gold Star parents

Gold Star Dads
www.goldstardads.org
Quite often I get letters and emails from gold star mothers, daughters or other family members who tell me they are so glad we started this organization for dads. They tell us how hard it has been on their husbands and their fathers and how they worry about them. For so long the fathers of soldiers have felt left out....With that in mind, we have opened the GSD Patriot Forum for members to help each other work those kinks out, brag about our sons and help with our loneliness. The GSD Patriot Forum is located in a members only section of the site and requires that you register. This Members Section is open to Gold, Blue & Silver Star family members as well as American Patriots who want to be part of this growing community.

Gold Star Fathers
www.goldstarfathers.com
We are the fathers of the fallen, who are seeking to assure that those who become Gold Star Fathers in the future always have someone by their side. This website was created because of a fallen soldier.

Gold Star Moms
www.goldstarmoms.com
Welcome to American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. We're an organization of mothers who have lost a son or daughter in the service of our country. If you've lost your child and would like the community of others in your situation, we invite you to join us. No one knows how you feel like another mother who has lost a child.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
http://www.taps.org/parent/

Umbrella Ministries
www.umbrellaministries.com
A support ministry reaching to the hurts and hearts of mothers who have experienced the loss of a child.



Gold Star children

Sons and Daughters in Touch
http://sdit.org/
Our mission is to locate, unite and provide support to the Gold Star 'sons and daughters' and other family members of those who died or remain missing as a result of the Vietnam War; to produce a periodic e-newsletter providing important information to all SDIT stakeholders; to promote healing via networking and special projects, to regularly address other Gold Star family organizations, high schools and college classes in hopes of providing education on the historical and emotional legacy of war.

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
http://www.taps.org/adultchild/
http://www.taps.org/child/


The Fallen Soldiers Children Support Page
https://www.facebook.com/The-Fallen-Soldiers-Children-Support-Page-131388663539688/
This page is for kids who have lost a loved one in war. We want to help kids get through the loss of a loved one.



Gold Star siblings

American Gold Star Siblings
https://www.facebook.com/TheGoldStarSiblings/
American Gold Star Siblings', Inc. mission is to first support our fellow bereaved brothers and sisters of our sibling who made the supreme sacrifice while in the service of the United States of American Armed Forces. Secondly, we pledge to educate the American community about the history and meaning of the Blue Star Banner, Gold Star Banner, Gold Star Lapel Pin and Gold Star Next of Kin Pin. We will support and uphold all federal regulations on the aforementioned banners and pins. Finally, in continued support of our active troops and veterans we will assist reputable registered 501(c)3 organizations in their mission to assist those who serve this country.



Suicide survivors

TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors)
http://www.taps.org/suicide/
In the aftermath of a death by suicide, there may be confusion and questions circling in your mind. What if? Why? What could I have done? These are questions often asked by people who experience the death of a loved one, but they take on expanded meaning to people facing grief when their loved ones have died by suicide. You are not alone. TAPS is here to walk alongside you and offer comfort and help. Suicide survivors are welcome at all TAPS events for families of our fallen. There is a special suicide loss chat each month and we hold an annual gathering for suicide survivors in the fall.



Other connection & support opportunities

Courage Beyond
https://couragebeyond.org/
Courage Beyond (formerly Not Alone) started in 2008 when a group of warriors and professionals discovered a significant gap in the government's capacity to help warriors and their families come home from war. There needed to be a confidential online community where those warriors could congregate to help each other. Our personal experiences with war trauma led us to reach out to those that need help.

Courage Beyond has formed partnerships with various organizations to create new ways across the nation to help those returning from war.

Courage Beyond draws on a unique group of individuals with personal experience in the Iraq and Afghanistan war. We have been in your shoes. We have struggled to regain our lives and to find the new normal at home. Professionals, warriors and experts have been vital in helping to bring the Courage Beyond vision into reality. We've been through the experience of war and returning home from war and hope that our persistence, experience and passion can help others in their journey as well. We understand. We get it.

Gold Star Family Support
www.goldstarfamilies.com
"Gold Star" is a generic term used to describe a family member who has lost a loved one in military service. There are many organizations using the term "Gold Star". MarineParents.com, Inc. offers services to Gold Star Marine Corps Families. We offer grieving parents, spouses, and family members a Place to Connect & Share™ with one another. 

Grief Net
www.griefnet.org
War and Combat Losses: GriefNet creates new support groups based on the interests and needs of those who come here. We began this section with two groups for adults, grief-vets and lost-in-service and two groups for children. We will create new groups as requested, including groups for vets only where they can talk freely about their losses and experiences with the only other people who can really understand: other vets.

Grief Share
www.griefshare.org
GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.

GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.

There are thousands of GriefShare grief recovery support groups meeting throughout the US, Canada and in over ten other countries. There’s one meeting near you!

Also features A Season of Grief daily e-mails: 365 daily e-mails to help you through the grieving process.

Special Ops Survivors
http://specialopssurvivors.org/index.php?page=emotional-support
Survivor Transition Assistance Recovery Team (START) - Special Ops Survivors understands that in the immediate days following a casualty notification, the new surviving spouse can become overwhelmed with the barrage of information and decisions that need to be made. The new survivor might not know anyone else who has been in a similar situation, a person who could make all the difference in the world during this difficult time. To respond to this need, we can provide seasoned survivor liaisons to the new survivor to lend dedicated emotional support during this period of transition.

Peer-to-Peer Mentorship - Our peer-to-peer mentorship program pairs new survivors with more experienced survivors (“mentors”). Peer-to-peer mentorship offers the new survivor a safe and understanding ear while, at the same time, helping the mentor progress in her/his own healing process. All peer mentors undergo training in grief counseling and must have a minimum of two years to grieve their own spouse’s death prior to becoming a mentor.

"Forget-Me-Not" Outreaches - Special Ops Survivors recognize that after the memorials are over, family, friends, and neighbors go back to their everyday lives – often leaving survivors feeling forgotten and alone. Our mission is to let surviving spouses know they are not alone. We do this by sending quarterly outreaches to our survivors throughout the year to let them know that they remain in our thoughts and hearts.

Other outreach activities take place throughout the year based on our survivors’ needs – whether it be celebrating a birthday, remembering the anniversary of a spouse’s death, letting someone know we are thinking about them when they are ill, or welcoming the birth of a baby.

Survivor Outreach Services (SOS)
www.myarmyonesource.com/FamilyProgramsandServices/
SurvivingFamilies/SurvivorOutreachServices
Our Fallen Warriors have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The army has a commitment to their families. Families deserve our respect, gratitude and the very best we can provide. The purpose of SOS is to deliver on that commitment:
  • By providing access to support, information and services
  • Closest  location to where the Survivor resides
  • When and for as long as they desire

The Compassionate Friends
www.compassionatefriends.org
Whether your family has had a child die (at any age from any cause) or you are trying to help those who have gone through this life altering experience, The Compassionate Friends exists to provide friendship, understanding, and hope to those going through the natural grieving process.

Through a network of more than 625 chapters with locations in all 50 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico, The Compassionate Friends has been supporting bereaved families after the death of a child for four decades. The National Office and its staff also provide many levels of support to our chapters, as well as individual responses to those who call on the phone, contact us through our website, or send an e-mail that simply says, “My child has died. Help me!” We will be here as long as you need us. That is our commitment to you.

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
www.taps.org   or 1-800-959-8277 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Remember the love, celebrate the life, share the journey

Welcome to the home of America's front line resource for all who are grieving the death of a loved one serving our country. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, whether it is just to talk, or meet others with shared experiences and understanding, or to find support and information from our professional network of resources.


Stories

American Widow Project
www.americanwidowproject.org/stories
The American Widow Project, a wonderful site for military widows, has numerous stories that include these topics:
  • Combat
  • Non-Combat
  • Suicide
  • The 1st Year
  • The 2nd Year
  • Holidays & Anniversaries
  • Moving Forward
  • A Good Laugh
  • Parenting
  • Their Belongings
  • Other

Stories of love, tragedy- survival (American Widow Project Documentary DVD)
http://americanwidowproject.org/product/american-widow-project-documentary/
On May 21, 2007, 21-year-old Taryn Davis lost her husband, Michael, to a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq. Feeling lost and alone in the new life she’d been thrown into, she began traveling around the country to hear six other stories of love, tragedy-and survival. The film will start being distributed FREE of charge to all Military Widows/Widowers. If you are not a Military Widow, you have the ability to purchase one in our AWP store, with the contributions making sure another widow/widower receives the film.

Widow's Voice (Soaring Spirits International)
http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog
Seven widowed people, seven days of the week, seven different perspectives on the journey of widowhood.



Memorial event

Time of Remembrance (September 2017)
www.timeofremembrance.org
Time of Remembrance was founded by Shirley Schmunk in 2006. Shirley lost her son, Jeremiah, in Baghdad, Iraq just two years earlier. Shirley envisioned an event that would provide families an opportunity to honor their fallen loved ones while finding a place of support and camaraderie within each other.

Now, in 2017 as we prepare for our 11th annual event there are many non-paid volunteers who lovingly give of their time and talents to make this event a successful one. Our hearts are often full as these events have provided long-lasting relationships and healing to the families that at one point felt very alone in their loss.


Organizations, speakers

Grief Solutions (Teaching America to respond to military loss)
www.griefsolutions.net
Grief Solutions tackles the tough subject of sudden death and traumatic grief with knowledge, experience and compassion.

Grief Solutions teaches America how to respond to traumatic loss, particularly a military line of duty loss -- We deliver relevant knowledge and practical skills through customized training solutions in a variety of formats to professionals, volunteers, and all caring individuals who work with people who have experienced a traumatic loss and are coping with traumatic grief. 

Grief Solutions produces self-help materials for those who have lost a loved one in the line of duty -- We provide compassionate, yet insightful survival-guide materials for grievers who seek the roadmap to survive, cope, and live again after a traumatic loss.

Grief Solutions provides a full array of training solutions on military loss, delivered in a format consistent with standard military training. Our training modules deliver professional knowledge, no-nonsense skills, and valuable lessons learned on how to respond to sudden loss and traumatic grief in the military. Customized, user-focused training is available for professionals, volunteers, and all caring individuals who work with those who are coping with the traumatic grief of military loss.


Widow tips

American Widow Project
http://americanwidowproject.org/story_categories/tips/
The American Widow Project, a great site for military widows, has numerous tips given by military widows for military widows with topics such as: Things You Should Know...to Survive, Telling Your Children, Christmas Spirit, So You've Met Someone and Now You Feel Guilty, Too.
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Connection & support for Gold Star families, spouses, parents, children, siblings, suicide survivors