By Michael Golembesky
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Sometimes everyday life can be stressful enough, but when you add the responsibility of caring for a family member that has special needs like cerebral palsy or autism; things can become overwhelming.
The Peterson Chapel and Exceptional Family Member Program office have teamed up to help ease that stress by offering a one-day retreat workshop for the parents and guardians of special needs family members. The workshop will be held at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs Aug. 1 and is available free of charge to anyone stationed at Peterson AFB who currently has a family members enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program.
“It’s going to be just a fun day away from the base where parents can really work on their communication with each other. We are also in the process of trying to coordinate daycare so that the parents can come on their own and really focus and benefit from the event,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Timothy Porter, 21st Space Wing chaplain.
The Department of Defense created the Exceptional Family Member Program in the early 1980s. EFMP is a mandatory program within all branches of the DOD that work with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical, and personnel services worldwide to military families with special needs.
Peterson has more than 100 families enrolled in the EFMP, which means there are a lot of parents who can benefit from this type of unique event.
“The training is going to focus on the four lenses — it’s also called colors — which is really fun and looks at personalities and identifies how it effects your relationship and your ability to work together as a team to support each other during stressful times,” said Porter. “Bringing the parents together so they can network and know they are not alone, that is so important for them.”
This is an event for service members and their spouses to spend some quality time together, meet other couples dealing with the same issues in a relaxing and beautiful setting. The Glen Eyrie Conference Center is located on the north end of Garden of the Gods park and has been host to past Team Pete retreats and activities.
To register for this event, contact Jackie Wickham, the EFMP coordinator for Peterson AFB at 556-6141.
The goal of the EFMP (information and referral) is to provide special needs families with the most accurate and up-to-date information and resources regarding EFMP, local resources and support, disability-specific news and anything that may be of interest to the families.
For more information about the Exceptional Family Member Program at Peterson AFB, visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center in building 350, call 556-6141 or DSN 834-6141, or go online to http://www.21fss.com/about/airman-family-readiness/exceptional-family-member-program-efmp-coordinator/.