Be Like Water: Go Around the Financial Obstacle in the Way of Your Career

By Marinelle Reynolds, LCSW

Frequent moves, underemployment or unemployment, and financial strains are just some of the obstacles that many military spouses face when trying to grow their career. Investing in education or your own business is one way that military spouses develop meaningful employment and contribute to their family’s financial security. But, paying for school or a business is expensive.

So, where do you go for help when you are trying to invest in your education or your business and finances are a barrier?

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There are a number of scholarships and assistance organizations that are available for military spouses. The National Military Family Association (NMFA) is one. 

NMFA offers educational and employment resources for military spouses that are in the mental health, teaching, nursing, and STEM professions. They have access to sponsors that offer funding and discounts for degrees, career and business development. If you need money for your education or career advancement, they can help.

Twice a year, NMFA awards scholarships like these (based on averages):

  • $500 for career funding
  • $1000 for degrees
  • $2500 for clinical supervision to go towards licensure
  • $1000 to build your own business 
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it,
all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you.
But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end
can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that. Remember that you are half water. If you can’t
go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
— Margaret Atwood

As an NMFA Military Spouse Scholarship award winner myself, the money will help me invest in my online private practice so that I can build something that is meaningful, portable and help my family’s financial security.

The application process was straightforward. It included some general questions to determine eligibility and a 300-600 word essay. If you are married to an active duty, reserve, guard retired, medically retired, wounded or fallen service member you are eligible to apply.

The next application period is open from May 1- June 30, 2018. To find out more and apply Go to:
https://scholarships.militaryfamily.org/offers/nmfa-spouse-scholarship/ 
 

Another MSBHC member, Jessica Nicholas-Salter, who has had the occasion to process scholarships for various organizations (NMFA among them) shares some characteristics she looks for in applications.

These “rules” align nicely with MSBHC’s Mission: Connect, Achieve, Impact!

Does the applicant stand out more than just a name, degree, and position? Share your story.
What are your struggles and what do you eat while solving them?
That personalized touch goes a long way, so CONNECT!

Does the application stand out in their accomplishments already? Spell it out to the organization – what do you feel you have ACHIEVED already to earn the award for more resources?

Do you have a “giving vibe” to your essay? Inspire the reader and show them how you will IMPACT your community with your gifts. Tell them how you will make your piece of the world better.

Frequent moves, employment struggles, and financial strains don’t need to block us completely from building meaningful and impactful careers. There are organizations like the National Military Family Association and Military Spouse Behavioral Health Clinicians that can help connect us with resources while advocating for our military families and us.

Remember we are half water. With the support of organizations like these, we can go around.

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Marinelle Reynolds is a LCSW who graduated with a Masters in Social Work from Michigan State University. She has over 15 years of experience helping individuals & groups learn to find their authentic self, thrive in life’s transitions & build resiliency against stress. You can connect with this proud military spouse (with two active littles and a sweet but stubborn dog) and her small private practice here online.