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NEWS | Nov. 29, 2011

A&FRC programs help families during the holidays

By Senior Airman Anthony J. Hyatt 628th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The staff at the Airman and Family Readiness Center understands the stress families of deployed service members go through during the holidays and are offering programs to assist families during all phases of the deployment cycle.

"Holidays are stressful in general and then you add this huge stressor on top of it [family member deploying]," said Kaitlyn Zito, 628th Force Support Squadron A&FRC community readiness specialist. The A&FRC provides information, support and services to help military families balance the demand of family and the military lifestyle.

One of the services A&FRC provides is pre-deployment education briefings, which are held twice per week.

"We highly encourage spouses to attend these briefings with the deploying member," said Zito.

Some support programs the A&FRC also provides include:
· Hearts Apart Morale Calls
· Deployed Give Parents a Break
· Car Care Because We Care
· Discovery Center
· Key Spouse Program
· Little Heroes
· Deployed Spouse Appreciation Dinner
· PLAYpass program

The Deployed Give Parents a Break program offers parents free child care one Saturday a month at the Child Development Center or Youth Center, according to Zito.

Families may also receive a free oil change from the Auto Hobby Shop through the Car Care Because We Care service.

Families can also use the A&FRC's Discovery Center, located in Bldg. 500, for e-mail connectivity, video phone and web camera connectivity and morale calls.

The PLAYpass Program gives deployed members with families and returning single Airmen a break from the rigors of deployment through learning, recreation and leisure programs. It offers more than $500 in discounts, classes, programs and activities.

The Key Spouse Program appoints individuals to serve as links between leadership and families and ideally they are there to support spouses throughout their deployment, said Zito.

The Joint Base Charleston Honorary Commanders Advisory Council is also hosting its second annual Deployed Children's Holiday Party at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 17 at the Base Chapel. The event is open to all children of currently deployed Airmen and Sailors. Participants must R.S.V.P no later than Dec. 7 by calling the A&FRC.

These services can benefit families by providing them with a much needed break as well as helping them connect with other spouses of the deployed, according to Tech. Sgt. David Godley, 628th FSS A&FRC readiness non-commissioned officer.

"It's not just about the military member being prepared, it's also about the family being prepared," said Zito.

For more information on the resources, contact the A&FRC at 963-4406.