Beyond everything they do to keep us safe, service members make the sacrifice of spending extended time away from family and friends.
Expensive international phone rates and service plans are often out of reach for forward-deployed service members, making connectivity one of the most frequently requested services from men and women in uniform feeling disconnected from the comforts of home.
Since July 1, DoSomething.org – one of the largest organizations for young people and social change – and Johnson & Johnson have teamed up with the USO and Charity Miles to encourage young people to move with a purpose, track their progress on a Charity Miles app and in turn unlock donations to the USO through its national campaign “Steps for Soldiers”.
“This program is a unique way for our nation’s youth to show they are a force behind our nation’s forces,” said Kristina Griffin, USO Senior Director, Corporate Alliances. “The national campaign allows participants to enjoy the health and wellness activities they love while supporting the service members and military families who give so much to our nation each day.”
Donations will support connectivity (internet, phones and wifi) for forward-deployed service members, helping connect them to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. At USO centers located in combat zones, service members use the USO’s private phone network to make free phone calls home, access computers with free, high-speed internet and free wireless internet for use with their own computers. In 2016, 607,000 calls were placed by deployed service members – that is more than 5.7 million minutes of free talk time for service members to reconnect with their families.
The “Steps for Soldiers” campaign serves as a message of solidarity with active military personnel and young people and places an importance on health and wellness and giving back in their communities.
“Through our work with Johnson & Johnson, we are supporting the health and wellbeing of not only our members, but those who fight for our freedoms and their families,” said Aria Finger, CEO and Chief Old Person at DoSomething.org. “By simply getting outside with friends this summer, our members will provide opportunities for service members to stay connected to the people they love.”
Carli Lloyd, a FIFA Women’s World Cup champion, and two-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year (2015 & 2016), has joined the campaign by recording a PSA encouraging young people to download the Charity Miles app, select USO as their charity of choice, and get moving.
“It’s an honor to represent my country on the U.S. Women’s National Team so I was excited to partner with Johnson & Johnson and the USO on this campaign” said Lloyd. “We’re all moving every day anyway, so why not turn those miles into support for the men and women who help keep us safe”.
Every “Steps for Soldiers” participant will have the chance to enter the Johnson & Johnson “Youth Champions of Care” competition. Eleven DoSomething members who explain why the cause is particularly meaningful to them will win a trip for two to a U.S. Women’s Soccer Team match and have a special meet-and-greet with soccer star Carli Lloyd.
From July 1 through August 31, DoSomething.org members who upload a screenshot of how far they ran on Charity Miles will be entered for a chance to win a $5K scholarship. For more information about the campaign and how to get involved visit DoSomething.org/steps or texting STEPS to 38383.