Military News

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Military Family Support hosts quarterly spouse orientation

by Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson
JBER Public Affairs

7/7/2015 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hosted its quarterly Joint Spouse Orientation program June 25 at the Military Family Readiness Center.

The orientation is designed to expose military spouses to the opportunities, benefits, and resources available to them while they are here, said Jeri Romesha, a community readiness consultant at the MFRC.

"The purpose behind it is to strengthen military families and enhance mission readiness," said Romesha.

The program is six hours long, and participants engage in a variety of activities, briefings, and communication designed to equip spouses with the tools they need to acclimate to JBER's unique environment as seamlessly as possible. Lunch is provided.

"Our spouses' orientation does not just bombard them with information," said Barbara Hopkins, a community resource consultant with the MFRC.  "We actually give them tools and resources they can utilize."

During the orientation, more than a dozen agencies come to explain the services they have to offer to JBER families, Romesha said.

"We have a mini information fair where we have all kinds of agencies to come and talk about what they have to offer," Romesha said.

"It's not just picking up and leaving with brochures; we actually give you a knowledge of how things work."

JBER has several unique characteristics which make this orientation uniquely important, even to experienced spouses, said Hopkins.

JBER has some unique wildlife dangers that many spouses may not have encountered before. To offer their expertise, representatives from the JBER Wildlife Education Center will provide basic wildlife safety instructions.

"Even if they are familiar with the [military]," Romesha said, "JBER is a little different than they may be used to because it is a joint base."

Many people arriving in the summer may not be used to the constant daylight, and during the winter could be thrown off by the unrelenting darkness, Hopkins said.

Additionally, many common services one would find on a military installation are still offered here, but operate by different names - such as the Military Family Readiness Center, which serves the same capacity as Army Community Service and the Airman Family Readiness Center.

The orientation also serves as a bit of a translation session to make sure everyone is on the same page, Romesha said.

"This is a joint venture; Air F                     orce or Army can come to either side for what they need," said Romesha.

"We can help either branch out at either of the centers."

"As a spouse, they have a big role in the success of their own spouse and the mission they are trying to accomplish," Romesha said.

The next orientation is scheduled for September 17 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

To register, or find out some of the information presented in these orientations, contact the Military Family Readiness Center at 552-4943, or 384-1517 for the JBER-Richardson location.

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