Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Peterson CDC gives parents a break

by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Parent Lenie DeCastro was feeling a little stressed out.
A working wife with a son, she just wanted a night out with her husband. But, finding a reliable babysitter for her son was nerve-racking, she said.
“Especially, because my son has allergies,” Ms. DeCastro said. An employee at the Peterson Child Development Center referred her to the “Give Parents a Break” program – a free Friday evening or Saturday afternoon child care service.
So, one Friday night, just for a few hours, the DeCastros went on their date.
“I like the program because I needed to get out with my husband,” Ms. DeCastro said. “It’s good because my son is having a good time too with the other kids.”
Give Parents a Break is sponsored by the Air Force Aid Society. Once a month, the society pays for CDC staff members to work a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon. The program is designed for military families who are under unique stress, with deployments, remote tours and long work hours. The purpose of Give Parents a Break is to offer eligible parents a few hours break from the stresses of parenting, said Hugo Escobar, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant.
Parents qualify if they have a spouse who is deployed, on remote tour or on extended temporary duty. The program also is open to parents with other stresses, like a new baby, a serious illness in the family, a child with special needs, or extended duty hours.
Parents are referred to the program by a squadron commander, a first sergeant, a chaplain, a doctor, a family advocate, the Airman and Family Readiness Center or a CDC employee. The referrals are between the person referring, the parent and the CDC, said Ruby Belton, CDC director.
“At first, parents were skeptical because they had to be referred,” Ms. Belton said.
It sounded negative to some parents. But, once a few parents tried the program, they felt good about it, she said. There is nothing negative about using the program, she said.
“This program is to assist you,” Ms. Belton told parents.
Sometimes parents just a need a break, “even if they just go out to eat, they need some me time to just relax,” she said.
The next Give Parents a Break sessions are 1 to 5 p.m. March 27 and 7 to 11 p.m. April 30. For details, call the A&FRC at 556-6141.

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