America Supports You: Foundation Gives Back to Military Families
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2007 Military families have a new partner in their efforts to understand and cope with having a loved one in a battle zone.
The Blewitt Foundation focuses on helping children experiencing loss, serious injury or related anxiety or fear.
“Our primary mission is to provide special comfort, enjoyment and enrichment opportunities for U.S. military families … through partnerships with unique recreational and educational programs,” said Joe Cantafio, the foundation’s vice president of programs.
“The cornerstone of our family-based program is fun, but not just any kind of fun,” he said. “The Blewitt Foundation provides all-expense-paid resort-style fun.”
The Virginia-based Blewitt Foundation recently held its first “Destination R&R,” its main effort. The week-long program centered on recreation and leisure activities for family members of all ages, Cantafio said.
This inaugural event, held in August at Maryland’s Turf Valley Resort, included activities like computer training, European spa treatments, Baltimore Orioles baseball games, and trips to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It also included swimming, pony rides, arts and crafts, and games for the children.
The foundation has partnered with the National Military Family Association, University of Maryland University College, and the Josephson Institute of Ethics in its troop-support endeavors. “Our collective support transforms fun into sharing, connections and healing for families and among families,” Cantafio said.
The Blewitt Foundation recently became a supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that connects citizens and corporations with military personnel and their families serving at home and abroad.
“The Blewitt Foundation will benefit tremendously from our relationship with America Supports You,” Cantafio said. “As a new foundation, the exposure, along with the credibility America Supports You (lends), will be a tremendous asset to what we are doing for our servicemembers and their families.”
The National Military Family Association also is a supporter of the America Supports You program.