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By Jennifer Pilcher, Founder, Military One Click

People often ask me why I gave up my career as a speech-language pathologist to start my own company, MilitaryOneClick.com. The answer is simple: I didn’t give it up; it’s still a huge part of what I do as the founder and CEO of MilitaryOneClick.com.

I combined my 20-plus years of professional experience with my personal experience as a military spouse and mom to create MilitaryOneClick. Communication is the core of speech-language pathology and MilitaryOneClick is built with communication at the heart of its mission to provide the most comprehensive collection of military resources in one user-friendly platform. At MilitaryOneClick, our goal is to educate the military community about those resources through social media outlets and community outreach programs.

I spent a lot of time volunteering in the military community and saw so many people struggling to find resources. Information about jobs, education, moving and military family support is spread far and wide across the Internet and often difficult to access. I knew there was a need for a better system.

Yet, there is a huge difference between having an idea and actually executing it. The one thing remains constant on the path to success with MilitaryOneClick—communicating directly with our military community. From finances and health to relocation, education, jobs and military news, we’re passionate about improving and enhancing the lifestyles of our military families, as well as educating the community on how to connect with our military partners.

There was a specific moment when I discovered we were doing much more than a “resource website.”  In 2011, I was invited to brief members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon about MilitaryOneClick and how we are reaching our community. During the briefing, Sergeant Major Battaglia, senior enlisted advisor to the chairman (SEAC), asked me about our demographics, specifically the gender and age range we reach.

I explained that our numbers are typically even week after week, male to female, ages 18-85, however one specific group, males 18-24, always emerges as the highest demographic through our Facebook page. Sgt. Maj. Battaglia then asked me why did I think this was the case?

I admitted that I was also a bit surprised and I attributed the numbers to “millennials who are tech savvy.” He nodded and responded with words I will never forget, “the first thing I thought of was suicide.” He went on to explain that males 18-24 are the leading demographic of suicide in the military with an average of one suicide per day.

The SEAC acknowledged, while there is no way to prove this is why they are coming to MilitaryOneClick, we can show that we are a no login, no password site where the user has complete anonymity and feels safe in accessing information.

Our community can access the help they need both through military and non-military resources and connect directly with real people through our various social media platforms. I went home that night and designed the Crisis Support area on our Health and Wellness Category with this note:

Dear friend, if you or someone you know is sad, angry or feels alone, we want you to know that life can get better again. We’ve done our best to list available resources so that you may connect with the best resource for you. Sending hugs and hope.

If we are able to connect directly with members of our community through MilitaryOneClick to help make a positive difference in their lives, we are completing our mission. I feel so fortunate to be part of their journey.

This article originally appeared in University of Phoenix magazine.

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