By Brian Hagberg
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Airmen and Family Readiness Center is a quality of life resource available to Schriever community members that they may not know how to use properly.
Active-duty members are given a briefing on the services available at the A&FRC when they arrive at Schriever; however, their spouses are also eligible to take advantage of those services and that’s where A&FRC staff feels there is a disconnect with the community.
“Spouses can utilize programs, any program or class offered,” said Andrea Hernandez, community readiness consultant. “We don’t get as many spouses as we’d like.”
The A&FRC exists to “improve the quality of life for military members and their families by providing resources and services to achieve work/life balance, and strengthen links to the community in order to optimize readiness and retention in support of the Air Force mission.”
Regular program offerings include courses for Transition Assistance, Relocation Assistance, Personal Financial Management, Volunteer Resources, Community Assistance, Family Readiness and Employment Assistance.
“This is one of the first places a spouse should stop when they arrive, just to see if we have anything for them,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez added that there are a number of programs and services offered by the A&FRC that people might not be aware of. Books and electronic resources are available through the Discovery Center, parents just arriving on base can get information about local schools and new military spouses can take advantage of Heartlink courses.
Heartlink courses are offered one to two times per year as a way to introduce spouses new to the military, five years or less, to the base leadership and benefits available to them as a military spouse.
“It’s an informal meeting with the wing commander and all leadership to explain the spouse’s role in executing the mission,” said Kendra Humphrey, community readiness specialist and relocation manager. “They get a coin from (the wing commander), take a tour of the Restricted Area and meet with key spouses.”
“It’s so well worth it, just to get a feel for what’s on the installation,” Hernandez said.
The next Heartlink course is scheduled for April 2. Anyone interested in attending should contact A&FRC.
Another initiative sparked by the A&FRC during the last two years is the Key Spouse program.
“Key spouses act as a liaison between military and civilian life, keeping lines of communication open,” Humphrey said.
Key spouses work with the base commanders, first sergeants and the A&FRC to inform, support and refer family members to appropriate base agencies. Humphrey explained that this can mean anything from offering deployment support to a listening ear when necessary. The program began with just 13 members and has expanded to 60 spouses.
A&FRC also has programs for those looking to expand their family. Bundles for Babies classes are offered monthly, which give expecting parents assistance with planning for their new arrival. The classes cover topics such as financial planning, dealing with stress and where to find resources both on and off base.
For those with children, Give Parents a Break and Parents Day Out are offered monthly for those needing some respite care. Give Parents a Break is available through referral only, while Parents Day Out is available without a referral.
The A&FRC also offers specialized programs throughout the year to assist customers with specific needs and areas of interest. Some of the programs offered during the past year included LinkedIn seminars, which serve as a way to help both active duty and their spouses learn to navigate the social networking site in their search for employment.
“That’s the way employment, professional employment searches are trending,” Hernandez said. “It’s also a good way to see what’s out there.”
Military spouses looking for employment might want to stop in at the A&FRC before heading to recruiting or temp agencies.
“The Air Force has developed a career committee specifically to help spouses every time they relocate,” Hernandez said. “We’re big on information and referrals, and we get spouses connected to the community.”
Life’s little stresses got you down? A&FRC has an answer for that too.
Military and Family Life Counselors are available, by appointment, to meet with military members and their families to assist with short-term life skills and military lifestyle issues. These non-medical counseling services are available at no-cost to military members and their families.
“You need to call for an appointment, but they can meet you anywhere,” Hernandez said. “They’re a good resource for life issues.”
For more information, visit the A&FRC in Building 101 or call 567-3920.