141st - Family Programs: Are You Ready? by Mary Thomas

Are You Ready?
Family Readiness Is!

by Mary Thomas
Family Readiness Program Manager

The first question people ask me when I tell them I am working for the Air National Guard as a Family Readiness Program Manager is: What is family readiness? I generally reply something about my job is to assist guard families when their loved ones are away. But somehow, this job description seems somewhat incomplete.

How can you find the words to explain all the sacrifices a family makes when the guard member is deployed? The remaining family members are faced with countless uncertainties that could arise and are forced to deal with them - without the guardmember's presence.

Although guard families cope very well with a variety of challenges during deployments, even the most prepared family may need additional support during a separation. That is what family readiness is all about.

Some of the most often ask questions I hear from the guardmember families are: "How will we make ends meet now that our income has decreased? What if my car breaks down? Who do I call?" The answer to all of these questions can be known, and should be known, before the guardmember deploys.

Assisting in the preparation for those long separations and finding creative ways to help the families cope is what the Family Readiness Program is designed to do. Although the ideal situation will allow for you to have these answers before any deployments, we want to assist you before, during, and after any separation your family may experience.

The core of the Family Readiness Program is our volunteers. It's guard families helping guard families.

Each unit at the 141st ARW, 242 CBCS and 256 CBCS has a military point of contact. In addition to that, many of the units also have a civilian volunteer. If you don't know who the Family Readiness folks are in your unit, give me a call.

I will be available to assist you during both weekdays and drill weekends so please feel free to stop by my office and chat. We have resource material available that covers a variety of issues concerning military life.

If you have any ideas or concerns about Family Readiness, I would love to hear them. Phone 247-7009.