NORFOLK, Va. — Making military members and their families feel welcome once they get to their next duty station is the goal of Blue Star Welcome Week 2022.
The organization says it is "committed to strengthening military families by connecting them with their neighbors to create vibrant communities of mutual support."
Next week is the second annual Blue Star Welcome Week.
There will be two "Blue Star Families Welcome to Hampton Roads" community expos:
- on Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chartway arena in Norfolk
- on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Riverview Event Center in Hampton
Additionally, there will be three "Red, White & Brew" social mixers on Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Reaver Beach Brewery in Virginia Beach, Tradition Brewery in Newport News, and at O'Connor Brewery in Norfolk.
Organizers say it's important to make military members and their families feel like they belong.
"We know it can be difficult to move into a community where you don't have any family, where you don't have any friends and that can put you at risk for mental health issues and not having access to communities of support," said Ashley Scott, Blue Star Families Policy Coordinator.
"If we can create a positive experience for them once they get here that service member or spouse is going to want to stay here, so, it's huge," said Sultan Camp, who is the director of Hampton Roads Veterans Employment Centers at Hampton Roads Workforce Council.
According to the Soldier's Project, a military family moves on average every two to three years.