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Building strong military family networks

OneOp helps professionals improve their practice and the lives of military families they serve.

Extension Educator Jennifer Garbow standing with her son Isaiah Moore
Extension Educator Jennifer Garbow with her son, former U.S. Navy sailor, Isaiah Moore

Military family navigates transitions and uncovers opportunities

Loading up the U-Haul and heading west in the summer of 2020, University of Minnesota Extension Educator Jennifer Garbow, proud mother of former U.S. Navy sailor and Cryptologic Technician Isaiah Moore, recalls her son's journey.

After serving four years in the military and transitioning to college, Garbow wondered where her son’s next steps would take him. Little did she know her son would discover a passion for live theater and develop a fascination for the lost art of sword fighting.

Now enrolled at San Diego State University, Moore is excited to graduate from his theater arts program in the spring of 2024 and join a live theater company in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City.

From a mother's perspective, Garbow shares that the military is a challenging yet rewarding path for young people. "It provided opportunities for Isaiah to learn and grow as a young person," she says.

Each family's journey is unique

For many military families, the art of navigating transitions presents its opportunities and challenges. Whether transitioning to a new home, deployment, loss, separation or adjusting to civilian life, each family's journey is unique.

In a podcast conversation between Garbow and her son, Moore explains, "Every service member has a different situation when they separate from the military."

For Moore, it was relocation and seeking financial assistance for his education.

When navigating challenges and opportunities along the way, military family service providers play a crucial role in connecting families with support and resources within the systems and communities surrounding them.

OneOp offers free support to military family service providers

Military family with young children holding hands
OneOp works to foster knowledgeable and networked communities to better support the needs of military families.

To strengthen these networks, OneOp, a collaboration between Extension, the Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides free support, training and resources to military family service providers.

Joining the OneOp project in 2015, Extension Center for Family Development has offered professional development to military service providers working with military families.

OneOp works to foster knowledgeable and networked communities to support the needs of military families. They offer learning opportunities, events and research-informed resources from experts in the areas of community capacity building, family development, military caregiving, network literacy, nutrition and wellness, personal finance and family transitions.

Having connections to resources and support during Moore's transition out of the Navy was critical. For Garbow’s family, it helped ensure her son had the support to continue to pursue his educational endeavors. By building strong networks for service members, veterans and their families, OneOp helps professionals improve their practice and the lives of those they serve.

Cassandra Edlund, Extension communications and public relations

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