JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —
The Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Exceptional Family Member Program and the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind & Vision Impaired teamed together at JBSA-Lackland Aug. 4 to provide no-cost backpacks and back-to-school supplies to Reserve Citizen Airmen with the 433rd Airlift Wing.
The venture was an opportunity not only to help Reserve Citizen Airmen and their families to prepare for the return to school, but also to promote other available services for military families, including those with special needs.
“We reached out to the Exceptional Family Member Program to talk about children they were serving who could benefit from our services,” said Tiffany Walker, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind & Vision Impaired senior director of rehabilitation services. “When we heard about this opportunity to partner and give back to these children with backpacks and supplies, we knew we could introduce ourselves and offer for some children to take part in our programming.”
“We saw that as a natural partnership because of our employment contracts and our children programming, which helps to support families of children with vision-impairment,” Walker said.
One hundred backpacks stuffed with school supplies were given out on a first-come, first-served basis to Alamo Wing members. For those who missed the backpacks, there were boxes fill with school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils and other supplies that was also passed out to the remainder of the military members.
Valerie Barber, EFMP family support coordinator, who planned the event, visited with some of the members who came to pick up supplies and discussed the mission of the EFMP, which provides support to all branches and components of the military.
“This year, we wanted to reach out to the Reserve and to support them as well,” Barber said. “Typically, what we do is support the school liaison office, but the Lighthouse for the Blind wanted to partake in this event as well.”
“Our program supports the total force (Army, Navy, civilians) including Reserve families,” Barber said. “We do a lot of outreach for military families. We don’t only support families of special-needs children; we support all military family members.”