PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — November is Military Family Appreciation Month. It’s a time to focus on families, service members and veterans who need our help. In a newly-created position, a local military spouse is working to ensure other spouses of service members feel like they have a home here in Virginia.
Thousands of military families live here in Hampton Roads, and Kayla LaFond is making sure military families across the commonwealth can thrive.
“Military spouses tend to be overlooked when it comes to employment, and we are actually a force to be reckoned with,” said Kayla LaFond, military spouse liaison for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.
She tells WAVY the position was created by Senate Bill 1150 (sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Kiggans) due to the high demand of Virginia’s military spouses struggling to find employment, childcare, and other resources. It’s a first-of-its-kind position in the commonwealth.
“The ultimate goal of this position is to make Virginia the most veteran and military spouse friendly state,” she said.
In this position, LaFond conducts outreach and serves as an advocate for military spouses throughout the Commonwealth. She also works with Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and the VDVS Commissioner to provide legislative and policy recommendations to the Governor and members of the Virginia General Assembly.
For LaFond, this is personal. She and her husband were stationed in San Diego. During that time, she worked at the Fleet and Family Support Center teaching a transition program to retirees. She transferred to a similar position at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in 2018.
“My goal is to basically share all of those resources that I knew from my previous experience with fleet and family and helping those military find employment and help them with their licensure and credentialing then also childcare resources,” she said.
“We have dozens of military installations in Virginia and every year thousands of service members establish a home in the Commonwealth,” said Commissioner of VDVS John Maxwell. “It is vitally important that we do everything possible to welcome the spouses of service members and guide them to pathways towards rewarding employment in Virginia. With her experience and energy, Kayla LaFond will be a strong advocate for all military spouses throughout the state.”
LaFond wants to make it clear she helps families in all branches of the military across the entire state. If you need her assistance, click here.