JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The staff of the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Military & Family Readiness Center hosted Military Spouse Appreciation Day May 4 at the Arnold Hall Community Center that served both as a community outreach event and opportunity for spouses to showcase their personal talents.
As May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month, the M&FRC sought to not only celebrate spouses of military members, but provide a platform for them to promote their personal businesses, said Danielle Dennis, JBSA-Lackland M&FRC community readiness consultant.
“Many spouses move with their military sponsors all around the world which makes it difficult for them to have their own careers,” said Dennis. “By discovering entrepreneurial ways to use their talents and interests, they can continue to be employed and financially support their family no matter where the military takes them. This not only gives them a sense of empowerment, but also opens doors for them by allowing them to connect with other entrepreneurs; all while doing something they enjoy.”
From services for children experiencing developmental difficulties to a personal concierge, a vast selection of goods and services were displayed, conveying the diverse talents and skillsets military spouses display. Col. Jonathan Wright, 502nd Installation Support Group commander and his wife, Lisa, addressed the audience and Mrs. Wright shared some of her experiences as a 20+ year military spouse.
“We support you and we care about you, because you are always there on the home front holding things together,” she said after sharing a poem dedicated to military spouses. “There is not one person in this room who doesn’t understand what it’s like to have to start all over again, get settled, and then start again. We are your community.”
“We could not do what we do without you,” remarked Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, 502nd Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio commander. “You make immense sacrifices every day to support your family and we are forever grateful for you.”
As the unemployment rate for military spouses continues to rise to almost 26 percent, three-times the national average due to factors such as frequent moves, licensing requirements or lack of opportunity due to location, the M&FRC staff remains committed to helping prepare spouses, both professionally and personally, who would like to find employment.
“The JBSA M&FRCs host many educational and instructional classes/workshops on various topics to include employment, finances, and emotional well-being for military members and their families,” said Dennis. “All are encouraged to visit our joint Events Calendar which can be found on the Joint Base San Antonio home page for more information.”
In addition to assisting with career placement, resumes and interviewing techniques, the M&FRC staff also hosts various programs, socials and other events to help military spouses find friends and a sense of community, which sometimes can lead to employment opportunities. Dennis encourages all military family members to find connections in the JBSA community, because there is bound to be someone to relate.
“Don't be shy - get out and get connected,” Dennis said. “Ask questions. Visit the Military & Family Readiness Center to gather information and search for ideas on social media. There are many different groups supporting different causes/organizations/hobbies – they’re sure to find people who share the same interests. We encourage them to delve into something new, try something never tried before and be assured that many spouses feel the same way…and they too desire to make friends and connections.”
Through the Military Spouse Appreciation program and the other activities the M&FRC hosts throughout the year, the staff hopes to be the first stop for any military spouse or family member looking for employment, skill building, volunteer opportunities or just support navigating military life.
“The Heart Link spouse orientation is offered at the Military & Family Readiness Center on a quarterly basis and is a venue for new spouses (new to the military and/or new to the area) to come out and learn more about the base/local area and connect with similar spouses,” Dennis said. (The 502nd Air Base Wing) also hosts multiple Town Hall meetings each year and spouses are encouraged to attend. Other referrals include the unit Key Spouse, the Lackland Spouses Club and even information on volunteer opportunities – all of which assist the military spouse to become a part of the community.
To view upcoming programs or events at all JBSA locations, visit their webpage at http://www.jbsa.mil/Resources/Military-Family-Readiness/ or call 671-3722.