JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
Sometimes families face changes that affect the dynamic of the household. Parents may separate or divorce, or a spouse can pass away and the remaining provider has to navigate alone.
As life’s events evolve into a new chapter, the Military and Family Readiness Center steps in to offer single parents a roadmap to what happens next.
The Single Parent Support Group’s mission is to be a resource and education program for single parents, said Melissa Schmidt, 802nd Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant. The group was formed in November 2013 in response to requests from the JBSA-Lackland community.
“We were looking to develop a community of folks that could share resources, ways that we could communicate sources to them, identify what problems there were so we could figure out where we could go out and find some solutions,” said Kevin Keith, 802nd FSS community readiness consultant.
Many of the single parents are new to JBSA-Lackland and arrive with no networks in place, Keith added.
“We educate members on agencies with specific programs designed to meet the unique challenges of single parenting,” Schmidt said. “The group enhances resiliency by connecting members to a single parent network with a wide range of knowledge and experiences.”
Any single parent with base access can join the group. A variety of activities are offered based on the needs of the group and any requests the members have.
“They often feel alone, but there are other people, just like them, that have those same struggles and have those same issues,” Keith said.
Some of the challenges single parents deal with include co-parenting, childcare, access to community resources, base resources, financial changes and the everyday struggles being a single parent brings.
Outside experts are sometimes brought in to assist with topics that fall outside of the staffs’ expertise. An expert recently spoke with group members about tax changes that can occur when single parents file returns with or without dependents.
“We didn’t want to make it our meeting; we wanted to make it their meeting so they could take it over and identify the topics or issues and we could be more in a support role to find those answers to help them,” Keith said.
The group meets once a month at the JBSA-Lackland Youth Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., with the exception of the three summer months when children are out of school and families are taking vacations.
“This group has been a great source of help, understanding and love for all of the parents who have come to our meetings,” Schmidt said.
For more information call 210-671-3722.