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Airman and Family Readiness Centers: There to help Airmen, families

Posted 3/14/2011   Updated 3/14/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Monica Mendoza
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer


3/14/2011 - PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- This is the time of the year when Airmen across the wing are receiving orders for permanent change of station.

Community Readiness Consultants at the Peterson Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center are ready for "PCS Season" - that period between May and September when many Airmen will move in and many will move on.

"From the view point of families, it's an unsettling time because here you go again packing up the dog, the kids, the wife and car and you are off onto the next journey," said Paul Smith, A&FRC chief. "It can be a stressful time."

That's what the A&FRC is all about - helping Airmen and their families be ready for anything, a PCS, a new house, a new school or a new career, said Beverly Price, A&FRC community readiness consultant. For those who just received orders to their new duty station, and even for those who know those orders are coming, Ms. Price has some advice:

"Come see us as soon as possible," she said. "Even if you have not received official orders, you can start the process now."

Airman and Family Readiness Centers have existed for years, sometimes by different names, but always to help Airmen and their families, Mr. Smith said. In 2010, the A&FRC on Peterson Air Force Base held 3,640 formal consultations and made informal contact with nearly 80,000 Airmen and their family members.

The A&FRC also runs the Emergency Family Assistance Control Center, which serves as the focal point for victim and family assistance services in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

Of the dozens of programs and services offered at the A&FRC, relocation programs are among the most attended.

Airmen preparing to PCS should check out the "Smooth Move" program, which gives Airmen a checklist and a calendar of all the items they need to take care of before they move, Ms. Price said. If the move is overseas, the Airmen will receive "culture grams" with details about the geography, schools, climate and currency.

In-bound Airmen and their spouses will want to attend a newcomer's orientation called Right Start where family members can meet representatives from local schools, the business community, and members of local non-profit agencies.

Moving can be stressful, Ms Price said. If the stress becomes too much, there are Military Life Family Consultants available at the A&FRC. Military and Family Life Consultants are licensed clinical counselors assigned to Peterson AFB to work with families, individuals, couples, and children to provide non-medical problem identification counseling services. Non-medical counseling services include anger management, conflict resolution, parenting, relationship issues, homesickness, deployment stress and decision-making skills.

"Even if they PCSd five times, the sixth time might be something completely different," Ms. Price said. "Life circumstances change."

Here are a few of the programs offered at the A&FRC to assist with PCS season:

·Relocation: Newcomer's Orientation, Information Fair, Smooth Move and Sponsorship
·School Liaison Officer: provides local school district information; and, works as a liaison between military community and school administrators
·Exceptional Family Member Program Coordinator: provides special needs families with accurate, up-to-date information and resources, local resources/support and disability-specific news
·Career Focus/Employment/Transition: array of workshops such as Transition Assistance Program and resume writing; open to all DoD ID cardholders
·Personal Financial Readiness: financial counseling to help maintain financial stability/ reach financial goals. Seminars offered in the areas of budgeting, credit and debt management, home buying, car buying, saving, investing, and consumer protection
·Air Force Aid: interest-free loans and grants on a case-by-case basis to assist with a financial emergency. Also funds "Give Parents a Break" and "Car Care Because We Care"
·Family Readiness: support programs for families of deployed members
·For information about programs offered at the Airman and Family Readiness Center call 556-6141, or visit www.21fss.com
·Catch the Peterson Airman and Family Readiness Center on Facebook



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