July 2011

July 2011

PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

July 2011 - Salute to the Military

This July, Ashford University offers a Salute to the Military. Sacrifice, dedication, and commitment are characteristic of service members and their families, and this month we pay tribute to them.

Supporting Military Families

In April 2011, the federal government launched a national initiative called Joining Forces to raise awareness and to honor the sacrifices of America's service members and their families. This initiative's broad scope aims to engage all sectors of society, including the government, non-profit organizations, religious groups, charitable organizations, and individuals with the common goal of providing support for service members and their families. America has been at war for over a decade and these new initiatives call for all Americans to get involved and support the military families whose sacrifices often go unnoticed.

Maintaining the well-being of military families is vital because these individuals are the principal line of support for service members who are put in harm's way. If a service member is worried that the basic needs of their family are not being met, the service member is more likely to be distracted from the critical work at hand. The relationship between the service member and the family must be strong and mutually supportive if both parties are to survive and thrive. As President Obama explains, "The strength and the readiness of America's military depend on the strength and readiness of our military families. This is a matter of national security. It is not just the right thing to do. It also makes this country strong" (Baker, para. 2).

Because Joining Forces aims to support the unique challenges and needs of military families, Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden travelled to military bases across the country and abroad to talk to service members and their families. Their goal was to pinpoint what issues are important to military families. Those conversations, as well as research conducted by White House staff, have produced areas of focus for the Joining Forces initiative, including employment assistance for spouses, psychological services for the family, childcare assistance, and wellness initiatives.

A Mobilized Effort

The initiatives of Joining Forces include government-wide efforts to support the well-being of military families through more coordinated and specialized services. Government departments that have not traditionally been of service to military families are now getting involved and coordinating with the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs. One new coordinated effort being put forth is between the Health and Human Services Department and the Department of Defense. These departments are teaming up to improve mental health services for military families. They will be creating new programs to combat the increasing number of suicides among service members, as well as improving support services for the entire military family. New, more specialized departments will also be created to address military-specific problems like emergency financial concerns and protection from businesses that prey on military families.

While these new initiatives are calling on government agencies to do their part, they also recognize that caring for military families is the responsibility of all Americans. Therefore, the initiatives encourage participation by private sector companies, community organizations, and religious groups. Already, community organizations and religious groups have pledged their support by opting to assist and support families of deployed service members in rural areas that are not near major military installations. It is this kind of unified support that impacts lives and strengthens families.

Homefront Heroes Scholarship Recipient Sheila Cabuco-Butler

As part of Ashford's commitment to the military and their family members, the 2010 Homefront Heroes Scholarship was awarded to five spouses or surviving spouses of service members throughout San Diego, California. One deserving recipient is Sheila Cabuco-Butler.

Sheila's life has not followed the beaten path. Born in Cavite City in the Philippines, she grew up as a small-town child of blue-collar parents. Her father worked on a US Navy base. Her mother was a seamstress. Sheila moved to the United States in 1980 and became an American citizen in 1986. In 2001, she met her husband on a blind date - he took her to the Marine Ball.

"Since my emigration from the Philippines, I have been a very proud American," beamed Sheila. "But the experience of being the wife of a US Marine has given my patriotism a deeper, more personal meaning."

Sheila's quest for advanced education would need to dovetail with her career at UCSD Healthcare, so she decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Her husband, Gunnery Sergeant Patrick Butler, began attending Ashford University upon returning from his third tour, and his educational plans spurred his wife into action; Sheila soon joined him as an Ashford student.

Sheila's desire for a business degree is all about growth. Interested in a management role at work, she began her Bachelor's degree on a MyCAA grant. Ashford University's Homefront Heroes Scholarship, offered in partnership with Cox Communications, will allow her to build upon the successes she has seen in her first eight classes. To date, those successes include a spot on the Dean's List, membership in the Golden Key International Honour Society, and her professors' praise.

With her plans for an advanced degree underwritten by the Homefront Heroes Scholarship, Sheila is investing in herself: "I consider education to be a form of human capital, and it is an important determinant of an individual's earning capacity and success. My education at Ashford is a very good investment. I believe it will open new doors in my career and my future."

Become Involved

At Ashford University, we take considerable pride in our efforts to educate and support the men and women who serve in the US military and their families. We work hard every day, determined to do our part by providing access to high-quality education so that military personnel and their families can enrich their lives.

You, too, can support service members in your community. Visit Joining Forces to find information about service opportunities in your area, to send a message of thanks to a military family, or to share stories of support.

How can I get involved in the Clinton, Iowa area?

Ashford campus students may also wish to lend their support to the American Red Cross, Gateway Area Chapter, which has a volunteer initiative called Connect Military to Family. The initiative helps family members send messages to US service members in times of need or celebration. If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please visit their website and click, "I want to help!" You can also visit the Gateway Area Chapter's webpage for additional volunteer opportunities.

Special Thanks

Ashford University recognizes and supports our employee and student military population, and we thank you for your service and dedication.


Baker III, F. W. (April 12, 2011). Military family support a 'national priority,' Obama says. Retrieved June 10, 2011 from The US Air Force's website, http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123251358

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Launch Joining Forces (video). (April 12, 2011). Retrieved June 6, 2011 from the White House website, http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/04/12/first-lady-michelle-obama-and-dr-jill-biden-launch-joining-forces

The Increasing Role and Influence of Military Spouses. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from The New York Times' website, http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/13/the-increasing-role-and-influence-of-military-spouses/

Levin, A. (May 20, 2011). Leading Ladies Work to Improve Military Families' Mental Health. Psychiatric News.46(10), 1. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from The Psychiatrists' Program's website, http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/content/46/10/1.2.full

Peterson, K. S. (October 8, 2010). Long Deployments Stress Military Families. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from USA Today's website, http://www.usatoday.com/life/2001-10-09-military-families.htm

President Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Launch National "Joining Forces" Initiative to Support America's Military Families. (April 12, 2011). Retrieved June 6, 2011 from The White House's website, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/04/12/president-obama-vice-president-biden-first-lady-michelle-obama-and-dr-ji

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden speaking at the White House to launch Joining Forces (video). (January 24, 2011). YouTube. Retrieved June 13, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng5AWgIGRVs

Runningen, R. (January 24, 2011). Obama Outlines Enhanced Support for Military Families. Retrieved June 13, 2011 from Bloomberg Business Week's website, http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-01-24/obama-outlines-enhanced-support-for-military-families.html

Support for Military Families (video). (2009). Retrieved June 6, 2011 from Entertainment Industry Foundation's website, http://www.iparticipate.org/cause/support-military-families

Trace, B. (n.d.). History of Military Families. Retrieved on June 6, 2011 from http://www.historymj.com/students/trace/History.htm

VA History in Brief. (n.d.). Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved on June 6, 2011 from http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf [PDF 1.5 MB]

Wilson, E. (January 24, 2011). Obama Announces 'Unprecedented Commitment' to Military Families. Retrieved June 6, 2011 from US Department of Defense's website, http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=62554