Brandi Jones

Branch: Marine Corps

Duty Station: Naval Postgraduate School Monterey

Number of Deployments: 3

Number of PCS's: 5

Share your military spouse story:
I have been married for 15 years to my Mustang Marine. I believe this has giving me a unique outlook, and helped shape my ideas of how to be there for others. Seven years ago I walked away from something that I valued immensely, my education, and I didn’t look back. I’ve helped raise our children and have never left my husband’s side. I’ve devoted every waking hour to this Marine Corps way of life, my family, & my community which isn’t for the faint of heart! I'm excited to have graduated last Spring earning my B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Minor in Creative Writing from Liberty University. I also earned my Graduate Certificate from Cornell in Diversity and Inclusion. Six months ago my family & I were living in Arizona, 3 years before that Northern Virginia, and the year before that Orange County, California and now Monterey California! This is what being a military family is like. My greatest blessings are our children who are ages 12 & 14. They have attended three schools in three different states in a three year window and still maintained straight A’s, & joyful hearts! When it’s time to move as a family we view it as an adventure, a way to serve others & be a part of the local community.

Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
During my first PCS as a marine spouse our orders were changed in route & when we arrived at our duty station the new unit my husband was assigned to was already deployed to Iraq. He was given less than a month to help us find a home & unpack before he had to follow the unit there. After he deployed to Iraq our children and I had no friends or family for 1,000 miles. I didn’t know about the family readiness program and had no contact with the unit other than a newsletter that was published quarterly. I felt isolated, but slowly started to make friends. During the next few months I found the family readiness team & joined. I met other spouses and started a playgroup. Within a year I was contracted by the government & my playgroup I created became a preschool.I started my own business to help other military children & families.

Describe your involvement in the military community:
I have been recognized as “A Hero at Home”, as well as a recipient of the “Opening Doors Award“ from the Girl Scouts for serving an underserved community, military girls. I created the preschool playgroup, “Mommies Like Us,” to bring military spouses with toddles together for socialization & learning. I’m a member of The Spouses of Monterey Bay Club, as well as a contributing writer for Monterey Bay Parent Magazine.

Describe how you support your community:
My family & I were stationed in a community that had little military awareness. A place that many military children & families were stationed yet, the local school the military children attended, had no acknowledgement of them. A year went on this way, it made me sad. I joined the PTA & created a Veterans Day program, A Week of Military Child Appreciation & the 1st ever all military Girl Scout Troop in Orange County California. I’ve been an advocate for diversity & inclusion ever since! So proud to say these programs I created are still active! So glad to see the community needed a way to show their support, so thankful I could be that bridge. I’m a Transitional Kindergarten teacher and I love it! I have several military children & families in my class. I feature these amazing families in the article I write titled, “Military Mom,” that is featured in our local community magazine Monterey Bay Parent.

What do you advocate for? Why?
If I were accepted as Military Spouse of the Year, I would use my platform to advocate for military children & families through diversity & inclusion programs. I would use the model of the successful programs I’ve created in the past to showcase our lifestyle to all communities. I would advocate the inclusion of military children and families to be implemented in schools across the nation. I believe in my heart the more our military children & families are included in their local communities, the more successful the experience would be for them at school. I would continue to be that bridge in advocating for military families to be included & understood in their local communities at all stages of military life.

How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
In The Monterey Bay Parent Magazine I write a monthly articled titled “Military Mom,” in which I showcase military families, & share their stories with the local community.

What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year® title?
If I’m selected AFI Military Spouse of the Year I hope to be an advocate for the inclusion or military children and families in their community across the nation. I will use my experience and programs I created to serve as tools in accomplishing a diverse and inclusive environment for our children and families everywhere military service members are stationed.