'Connect and Join' Announces America Supports You Membership
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 19, 2006 America Supports You welcomed a new corporate team member today during the Joint Service Open House here for Armed Forces Day weekend.
The Connect and Join booth, part of the Joint Service Open House held at Andrews Air Force Base, offered some projects suggested on its Web site. Lindsey Stinger helps her daughter, Grace, 3, with a piece of sand art. Her other daughter, Caroline, 5 (left) and two sons, Jack, 8, and Michael, 5 (far right) also enjoyed peeling paper shapes off large sticker sheets and applying colored sand to make a picture. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Connect and Join, founded by Linda Dennis, is a 24-hour a day, 7-day-a-week Internet-based communications company providing a safe, secure way for families and deployed servicemembers to stay in touch.
America Supports You is a Defense Department program highlighting grassroots and corporate support for the nation's servicemembers and their families.
"Connect and Join is life at home, re-created for the families and the deployed serving," Dennis said. "We believe that by supporting our families, we're supporting the troops. We think America Supports You is a very positive program (and) that the troops need to hear & that we're back here supporting them."
The site offers suggestions for projects that families can make and send to their loved ones via the mail, as well as archival tools to make scrapbook pages to keep after a servicemember has returned home. It also includes a calendar system, which Dennis considers a key element.
"It allows you to journal every day," she said. "It's the family refrigerator. It's a re-creation of life at home that allows you to put all those little missed moments, keep them dear, just by using a calendar format."
With security being a top priority for the group, each registration is limited to five users, including the family editor, the deployed servicemember and three others of their choosing. Each site is unique to the family using it, and cannot be viewed by anyone else.
"They choose their own username and their own user password," Dennis said. "And from then on, it's between the soldier, the (servicemember) serving our country and their family back home. It's not for public viewing. It's all between the soldier, the family and the friends."
After just a couple weeks of the site being live, about 12,000 registration codes have been distributed, she said. The organization can handle up to a million users.
As part of its support for servicemembers, and in honor of Military Appreciation Month, Connect and Join is offering a free 90-day subscription to military families of deployed troops. Registration codes can be obtained by calling 1-888-729-9828, and there is no obligation to renew the subscription at the end of the 90 days.