Duty Station: Naval District Washington
Number of Deployments: 7
Number of PCS's: 0
Share your military spouse story:
It all started on Facebook (famous last words anyone?) Simply put, our story is like most - we met, became friends, spent time together, began dating and fell in love and did the long-distance thing. Before we said "I do" Nick deployed to Afghanistan and we managed, we adjusted and we grew. Since saying I do in 2013, we've found a home in Maryland. We've welcomed three beautiful children, life-long friends that have become family and have grown as a couple and as individuals. Nick has pursued his passions and hobbies, as well as built on skills and knowledge throughout his career. I fostered my love for volunteering, education and building community. I've always had a longing for helping, including, and building - something I have worked so hard for in the last 10 years. Much like many military spouses, my career has shifted over the years. I started out volunteering in NYC at a Juvenile Detention Center for Adolescent girls while studying my undergrad. When we married I was a substitute teacher turned Preschool/Daycare Teacher.I used my MyCaa benefits to obtain a certification in Wedding Planning and went on to study and complete my Masters in Early Childhood Education. I've worked at a boutique gym where we focused on female empowerment, wellness and fun. Finally settling into volunteer work where I am my most happy - sitting on boards providing the guidance and help I so willingly want to give and helping wherever I can in any way that I can. One thing I can say in this winding journey is that the mission and passion stayed true - helping. Because we all really do need a little help from time to time.
Share an example of your leadership experience within the military community:
I joined the US Naval Academy MOPS group as a last hoorah to finding my people in 2017, before the birth of my second and in the trenches of parenting a toddler. I began as an attending mom, jumped into the MOPS Kids Coordinator and Coordinator. From 2017 to 2022, I was able to provide love, support, guidance and resources to our moms and their families. I transitioned into a Coordinator role in the Fall of 2019 and soon after the world shut down. At the height of the pandemic, our group stayed strong and we were able to meet virtually, much different than what we wanted but nonetheless, everything that was needed. "Together" we were able to cheer each other on in milestones, welcome babies, say goodbyes, and go and grow in our everyday. Without skipping a beat, my co-coordinator & team and I found a way to connect our moms, provide support and be the community we so desperately needed through a global pandemic. While knowing without a doubt we would do it again if we needed.
Describe your involvement in the military community:
To date, I have volunteered with COMPASS, MOPS, Naval Services FamilyLine, The Post Thrift Shop and the Fort Meade Spouses' Club both in supportive roles as well as in a leadership capacity. I have been able to apply any and all skills to improve the communities they serve and find ways to improve. I currently serve on the Executive Board for the Fort Meade Spouses' Club as the Outreach Treasurer for the 2022-2023 year. In this role, I see the impact in all that we do. Scholarships, Back to School, Children's Holiday Party, Food Pantry, USO Partnerships & so much more. Our team has taken servant leadership, community and support to a standard that is unmatched. I also serve as the Publicity Chair for the Post Thrift Shop where proceeds go back to the FMSC Scholarships. On the opposite end, I work with a tiny but mighty group of fellow active duty & veteran spouses to support military families through their PCS seasons via resources & education, and, as always, community!
Describe how you support your community:
My biggest goal and joy is to be a resource. Helping bridge the gap in the military community, to help others build their inner circle, know where to find help, build on their knowledge and so much more is something I love being able to do. If I can walk away from one connection and build someone's confidence in their ability to be able to do something, my job is done.
What do you advocate for? Why?
I advocate for change - in any direction, community, and opportunity. I believe in growth and standing up for yourself and others. I light on fire when talking about the need for continuous improvement and growth in the Mental Health aspect for mothers and families in the military. As someone who struggled with my own mental health, particularly postpartum, it was because of the communities I was involved in that I felt the support, love and guidance I needed while living far from family. I want that feeling of warmth for everyone - regardless of their situation, journey and I believe it can be done. We have the resources, the people and the opportunities to ensure that military families, service members and veterans find the support and community they need. They deserve to feel safe and comfortable to seek out help, to seek support and hope in those of us that are around them.
How have you spread the message of your platform/advocacy?
I would have to say I am my biggest platform. I am a walking billboard for Spouses' clubs, MOPS groups, COMPASS, USO, and MWR. Word of Mouth, taking the time to stop and have a conversation with the parent in the snack aisle just because, seeing a group of spouses and just saying hi. It's how I found out about both of the organizations I have loved so much and it's how I've been able to say I've found a home in friends I've gained from them.
What do you hope to accomplish with the AFI Military Spouse of the Year®
Community and Inspiration. Each year I find myself perusing the list of the amazing Spouses nominated and all of the beautiful things they've done and the nominations. This year, I am humbled to be among that list. It wouldn't be possible without the community I so desperately sought after. That is my hope - to inspire community, to inspire the next spouse to step out of their comfort zone and build on something, to try something new and to know that there is space at the table for them too! The nomination alone has inspired me to continue to strive for it, the opportunity to run will allow me to connect and build with likeminded individuals who, ultimately, want the same thing I do.
Sasha is an amazing Navy spouse, and frg leader, a thrift store volunteer, , a fantastic PCS mentor to our military community, and an amazing friend to all! She is always finding a way to volunteer to make military life easier for others, and is a stellar human being in the process! She more than encompasses the spirit of the MSOY and absolutely deserves the recognition!
- by Ashley Williams
Sash is a joy to everyone she meets. She has a giving heart and is never afraid to jump in with both feet and get things done. Sash shows up every day to support and educate her community every single day. When she isn’t at work helping make sure military families have the support and education they need to have a smooth PCS you can find her helping with her local spouse groups and education platforms she is always finding new ways to help a fellow spouse. At the end of the day we could all use more Sasha’s in our lives. She is truly an amazing and an amazing spouse.
- by Kayla Clark