SCOTT AIR FRCE BASE, ILL. – Being separated from a loved one during a deployment can be tough, so the Airman & Family Readiness Center team runs a “Hearts Apart” program, designed to keep families active and engaged with each other throughout the separation.
The program is also a venue for leadership to express their appreciation for the sacrifices that service members make. But this isn’t the only thing this team of 21 does to support Airmen and their families.
With the adaptation of virtual services during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve worked hard to provide services like this in the safest way possible and also still enable “the development and sustainment of resilient and ready Airmen and families.”
They’ve continued providing programs such as Survivor Benefit Plan counseling, personal financial counseling, pre and post-deployment briefings, HeartLink, Exceptional Family Member Program and Military Family Life Counselor just to name a few. These services have been especially critical during these times of struggle and isolation, according to Monica Stouffer, A&FRC flight chief.
“The use of the virtual platforms [like Zoomgov] has opened many doors for us to be able to continue services to large numbers of people that would otherwise not be possible,” she said. Not to mention its ease of use and accessibility across all service populations she added.
Their highest volume programs, Transition Assistance and Relocation Assistance, serve around 600 members a year who are preparing to transition out of the military and around 1500 - 1700 who are arriving and departing each year. Without their ability to adapt, these programs would have come to a halt.
Although it has been a challenge to adapt for everyone, the A&FRC is continually evolving. They now also offer drive-through events and material pick-ups and drop offs, as another way to engage with service members and families.
Master Sgt. Matthew Gniotczynski, A&FRC readiness non-commissioned officer added that “It’s a balancing act to find and host events that the whole family want to participate in and have fun.”
The team at the A&FRC considers it a privilege to serve all of our Scott service members and their families, DoD civilians, and retirees. Even with the dispersal of the COVID-19 vaccine, the A&FRC will continue to support programs like Hearts Apart with their augmented services as they work to engage meaningfully with Airmen and their families.
“Knowing that our efforts are making a difference to those we serve helps us stay resilient during the challenges of the pandemic,” said Stouffer. “We continue to explore new and meaningful ways to provide all of our A&FRC programs and services. On the road ahead, we look forward to the time when we can engage in more face to face interactions with our customers.”
For more information regarding the Scott Airman & Family Readiness Center, visit www.scottafrc.com or follow them on Facebook: Scott AFB: Airman & Family Readiness Center.
To request an appointment, call (618)256-8668 or email email@example.com.
Register for workshops through Appointment Plus accessible through www.scottafrc.com.
Please see a list of services provided by the A&FRC below.
Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) provides emergency assistance, education programs, and a variety of community enhancement programs enriching quality of life for service members and families.
Air Force Families Forever (AFFF) provides family members of deceased Airmen immediate and long-term bereavement care and support. Base access cards are provided to Surviving Family Members.
Casualty Assistance provides prompt reporting, dignified and humane notification, thorough and compassionate assistance to next of kin. Survivor Benefit Plan counseling is provided to retiring members.
Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC) is established at the direction of the installation commander to provide one-stop assistance to the community during disaster, crisis and evacuation situations.
Employment Assistance supports customers in achieving short/long-term employment/career goals through individual appointments, resume assistance, workshops, networking events, and job postings.
Exceptional Family Member Program – Family Support (EFMP-FS) offers needs assessments and service plans, support and information to families with special needs through workshops, events, activities, and individualized assistance.
Information, Referral (I&R) and Follow-up assists individuals and families with identifying and clarifying needs, determining appropriate forms of assistance and providing linkage to resources.
Military Family Life Counselor (MFLC) provides short-term, non-medical counseling services to service members and their families at no cost.
Personal & Family Readiness provides mobility and deployment support to members and families to meet pre-deployment, sustainment, and post-deployment challenges. Monthly Hearts Apart Program events are open to all family members experiencing a separation due to deployment, extended TDY, or unaccompanied (remote) assignment.
Personal & Work Life (P&WL) enhances the individual’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to anticipate and meet challenges throughout various stages of the military family life cycle.
Key Spouse (KS) Program is an official Air Force unit family readiness program designed to enhance mission readiness and resiliency and establish a sense of community.
Personal Financial Readiness (PFR) offers information, education, and personal counseling to help individuals and families maintain financial readiness and stability, and achieve their financial goals.
Relocation Assistance provides relocation information and settling-in support for inbound and outbound members and civilian employees as well as support to those serving as sponsors to inbound members.
Transition Assistance Program (TAP) conducts pre-separation counseling, TAP seminars, VA Benefits briefings, and Capstone to ensure service members and spouses transition successfully to civilian life.
Individualized support provided to wounded, seriously ill/injured members.
Volunteer Resources collaborates with on and off-base volunteer agencies to offer volunteer opportunities.
Voting Assistance Program educates base personnel regarding absentee voting and submitting Federal Post Card Applications, Federal Write-in Absentee Ballots, and National Voter Registration Forms.