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NEWS | Dec. 12, 2022

'Five & Thrive' initiative builds resiliency in military families

By Andrew C. Patterson 502d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Joint Base San Antonio Workforce & Transition Alliance announced a new initiative that will help military families as they transition from duty station to duty station during their community partner meeting Dec. 6, 2022, in Live Oak, Texas.

The Five & Thrive initiative began in 2021, headed by Sharene Brown, spouse of the 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., with a goal of improving quality of life issues directly tied to military family readiness, resilience and retention of the force.

The initiative aims to improve the quality-of-life challenges in five key areas -- childcare, education, healthcare, housing, and spouse employment -- by highlighting preventative measures, promoting best practices, fostering community partnerships and encouraging Department of the Air Force families to thrive.

“If we can come together with community partners to form solutions to these problem areas, we benefit as a whole,” said Janet Driggers, spouse of Brig. Gen. Russell Driggers, Joint Base San Antonio and 502nd Air Base Wing commander, who was also in attendance. “This initiative will provide our active duty service members the ability to focus on the mission of preserving and protecting our country, knowing their families are being taken care of.”

The JBSA Workforce and Transition Alliance announced the rollout of the initiative at a weekly meeting where community partners were briefed on the status of what JBSA needs help to provide support in these five focus areas. The military community relies on these non-competitive partnerships to augment support and services to mitigate these challenges.

Serafina De Los Santos, 502nd Force Support Group executive director, chaired the meeting, held at Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union, hosting more than 102 attendees, including the mayor of Live Oak, a representative from the Texas Veterans Commission, and San Antonio’s Military and Veteran Affairs Department director, Juan Ayala.

Ayala briefed attendees on how the City of San Antonio is addressing the areas of military housing and military childcare and discussed a military spouse fellowship with the city which has proven successful over the first two years of its existence.

“We are committed to supporting these efforts -- committed within our city government to supporting this and our military community,” Ayala said.

As the meeting continued, partners discussed each of the five focus areas, and organizations from within JBSA discussed successes, challenges and gaps in support. 

The Military Family Readiness Centers at JBSA are the one-stop shops for information, referrals, and resources for military families, including relocation assistance, the Exceptional Family Member Program and the Spouse Employment Program.

“We're the first stop, and one of the final stops, when families arrive or depart Joint Base San Antonio seeking those supporting resources,” said Amy Maness, Military Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. “We are always interested and eager to find new and innovative ways to leverage our partnerships to meet the support needed for our military spouses and families.”

Col. Travis Mills, 502nd Force Support Group commander, ended the meeting by thanking the community partners who attended.

“Thank you for what you do and the support you provide,” he said in closing. “We know that you don’t have to be here, that you volunteered your time and you volunteer your services, which all demonstrates the care for the military and the JBSA community your organizations have.”

The JBSA Workforce & Transition Alliance strives to build relationships among government and non-governmental agencies, as well as veteran nonprofit organizations, to provide opportunities for transitioning service members, military spouses and dependents seeking assistance with employment, education, credentialing, and entrepreneurship.

If you are or know of a military spouse who needs assistance or wants to get involved in the program, visit one of JBSA’s three Military and Family Readiness Centers for more information.