Meg Flanagan and MilKids Ed is a champion and advocate for the education of military children. Changing schools is nothing new for military kids. My own husband attended 12 schools during his early years, and experienced every type of educational environment imaginable – from montessori, to japanese preschool, to coop, to public school, private school, Catholic School, and even homeschooling for two years in highschool. His experience is anything but unique. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard for many military kids – sometimes, especially where an IEP, 504 plan, sports ability, musical ability or any other need your child has is involved, an advocate can be the difference between making things work and months of frustration.
Meg Flanagan: An advocate for military kids and military parents
Meg Flanagan, founder of MilKids Ed, is a teacher, mom and military spouse. She is dedicated to making the K-12 education experience easier for military families. Meg holds an M.Ed in special education and a BS in elementary education. She is a certified teacher in both elementary and special education in Massachusetts and Virginia.
To get actionable solutions to common K-12 school problems, parents should check out Talk to the Teacher by Meg Flanagan.
Milkids Ed is an education resource for military families
MilKids Ed is an education resource for busy military families in need of support at school. I offer free and paid resources, as well as private education advocacy. Families can find advice and support to assist with PCS moves, special and gifted education, homework, parent/teacher conferences, and at home learning resources.
Meg saw a need in her community and has built a social impact business to meet the need. The Military Education Coalition is an organization that has worked hard to advocate for recent legislation to help military kids move around more easily. But that doesn’t mean all the issues are fixed or that every school district is implementing protections and support for students in the way that they are supposed to! That’s where people like Meg and Milkids Ed come in!
Interview with Meg Flanagan
Tell us about you? What attracted you to social entrepreneurship?
Meg: I honestly fell into this field by pure happenstance and a lot of amazing connections! I started MilKids as a tutoring company during the 2010 teacher layoff situation in SoCal. There weren’t any jobs in schools, so I made my own! After some time in the classroom, I decided to step back to be the at-home parent for our children.
At the same time, I felt the urge to help other military families when it comes to handling K-12 education. While there are resources out there, not all families know about them or have access to them. For other families, they need more than the free resources can provide. Through social connections, I was able to reach a wider audience (and flex my writing wings beyond education) on NextGen MilSpouse, Military Shoppers, ArmyWife 101, and MilitaryOneClick. I remain a regular contributor and provide education expertise on these platforms.
As I progressed, I discovered that many military families were not using ideal communication strategies at school or needed extra support when it came to advocating for their children at school. This lead me to write a book, Talk to the Teacher, to help families find real communication strategies that work with teachers. I also decided to launch private advocacy services. Since we move often, I opted to focus on virtual clients, with limited in-person slots available.
I really love working in a field that has such an impact on people’s lives. When I’m working with clients, I can see or hear the stress melt away as I offer them honest advice and actionable steps. Parents, especially parents of students with special education needs, often feel isolated and alone in their struggles. Providing support, guidance, and reassurance that they are doing their best is so needed!
Operating and building my business mainly on social media has been so fun! It’s nice to connect to other military spouses and families, in general, through social platforms. It really gives what I do a personal feel: I’m speaking to you and providing valuable services for you. I try to use feedback from my social connections to build and grow MilKids Ed.
Have you had a mentor or influential person in your life who encouraged you?
Meg: My editors, Michelle Volkmann and Joanna Guldin-Noll, have been so encouraging and supportive from day one. They took a chance on me when I hadn’t totally found my ideal platform and have pushed me to go farther than I thought possible.
I also find inspiration and motivation in every parent of every child I have ever taught or worked with professionally. I have seen how much educational resources provide to families and children. So many of my clients are checking in, even years later, to let me know that they are seeing success because of the work we did together.
If one of our readers is developing a social enterprise what one piece of advice would you give them?
Meg: Go for it! You never know what you are capable of until you try. And you’ll always fail at 100% of the things you never try. Worst case? If it doesn’t work this time, you’ve learned valuable lessons and skills for your next attempt or professional opportunity. Best case? You build a thriving and successful portable career opportunity the fulfills your passions.
What has been your greatest success?
Meg: Over the last four to six months, I have seen MilKids Ed grow by leaps and bounds! I feel like I am adding value to my community and my family through my work. Plus, I’ve grown MilKids socially and with clients after having a baby (and parenting a preschooler) in January 2017. My business and my son both turned one recently, and I’m so proud of both of them!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Meg: Marketing! I always feel like I have something new to learn to really make the most of my opportunities. I check out trainings and courses frequently to try to level up my game.
Time management is also a challenge. Being the stay-at-home parent, operating on a military schedule, running a business, and practicing self-care is difficult. I’ve learned to pass on things that really don’t fulfill me personally while making room for enriching opportunities.
How can people support your work?
Meg: If you have, or know someone with, school-aged children, please let them know about MilKids Ed. I value growing my business based on reputation, and would so appreciate a positive word or post from you!
Every Military child needs an Education Advocate
Takeaway #1: “I really love working in a field that has such an impact on people’s lives. When I’m working with clients, I can see or hear the stress melt away as I offer them honest advice and actionable steps.” – @milkidsed
Takeaway #2: “Go for it! You never know what you are capable of until you try. And you’ll always fail at 100% of the things you never try.” – @milkidsed
Takeaway #3: “I’ve learned to pass on things that really don’t fulfill me personally while making room for enriching opportunities.” – @milkidsed
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Friday Feature: Social Impact Entrepreneurs is an ongoing series of interviews where we feature a entrepreneur making a difference in their community.