Air Force program available to help cope with military life

Release Number: 200896

Imagine coming to a new town with few personal belongings, no house and no family or friends nearby.

This is a typical move for any military family.

A recent example of this is how a young military family found their way to the Airman & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) when a miscommunication in obtaining a passport left a young mother and her baby stranded alone in Tennessee for three weeks, while her husband reported to their new assignment overseas.

The A&FRC worked closely with other individuals and offices at Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) to ensure this family was well taken care of and quickly reunited with their loved one overseas.

In addition to helping Arnold's local military population, the A&FRC also receives family assistance referrals from other installations and branches of the military.

Specifically, referrals come from deployed guard and reserve members whose families reside in Tennessee. These families may not have any connection to an active-duty base and may be unfamiliar with basic military procedures such as getting a military ID card or enrolling in Tricare, the military health insurance. The A&FRC provides them with information and referrals.

In addition, the A&FRC lets them know about other services that are available such as activities sponsored by Arnold's 704th Services Division or counseling available through Military OneSource.

"The A&FRC provides military families with education and support through the implementation of a variety of Air Force programs and initiatives," Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) employee Mike Hollowell, Family Readiness lead, said.

"These are designed to increase the satisfaction of military members and their families."

Air Force families deal with issues common to all families, including child care, financial decisions, parenting concerns and career choices. Additionally, because of the military life-style they lead, they are also subject to unique stressors, such as frequent relocation and separation.

"The A&FRC basically provides a central location for information, referral and follow up," ATA employee Amanda Page, Family Readiness representative, said.
Like many Air Force bases, Arnold has a center to meet the ever growing needs of today's military families.

There are six primary programs and initiatives designed to help Air Force families adjust to and successfully meet the demands of military life: relocation assistance, transition assistance, family readiness, family-life education, financial management and Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) programs.

The relocation assistance program helps make moving as painless as possible by offering sponsorship training and support, newcomer packets, educational material and financial assistance. A fully stocked loan closet of basic household necessities is available to Airmen and their families whose household goods have been packed or not yet arrived.

The transition assistance program (TAP) prepares military members to transition into the civilian work force. Airmen learn about assistance they may receive through individual pre-separation counseling. The TAP seminar, an intense three-and-a-half day workshop, help members prepare resumes and cover letters, interview effectively and set goals for their post military careers.

The family readiness program helps Airmen and their families cope with separations due to deployments, remote assignments, natural disasters and evacuations. The A&FRC delivers pre-deployment briefings to Airmen and their families to inform them of available services and provide information to help reduce stress and hardship during these events.

Family-life education resources are also available for families at all stages. Informational material and classes are available on child safety, parenting techniques, healthy communication, anger management, child and family development and stress management. The A&FRC can also provide crisis assistance and referrals.

The personal financial management program provides education, information and
individual financial counseling on a variety of financial matters. The A&FRC just completed Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, a 13-week course on personal finance. Due to the success of the course, the A&FRC plans to offer the course again later this year.

The A&FRC is responsible for the administration AFAS programs offered on base. Airmen and their families faced with financial emergencies can receive emergency assistance such as interest-free loans for necessary living expenses, car repairs and/or emergency travel. Other AFAS programs include Bundles for Babies, Phone Home, Give Parents a Break, Car Care Because We Care and Youth Employment Skills.

For more information on these programs, log onto www.afas.org.
For more information or assistance from the A&FRC, call (931) 454-5729 or (931) 454-5730.

-AEDC-