Honoring a covenant for Heidelberg
December 18, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany - In the little more than a year since the Army Family Covenant was signed at U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg, it has made a positive impact on the garrison's family programs.
The Army Family Covenant was signed during a ceremony Oct. 26, 2007, which featured the chief of staff of the Army and the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe. Since then, $375,000 has gone toward creating five new positions at Army Community Service and more than $80,000 has been invested in Exceptional Family Program Respite Care.
Additional non-appropriated funds have also become available.
Plus the garrison now has a Soldier and Family Assistance Center human resources specialist, an educational guidance counselor and an SFAC specialist in support of the Warrior Transition Unit.
And it has a marketing person just for ACS and an outreach coordinator, both of whom are letting the community know all about available programs. They are especially focused on reaching junior enlisted spouses.
The garrison has also been able to hire administrative support that allows other ACS staff to focus more on client support than on administrative work.
Several WTU Soldiers have remarked that they could not have made a smooth transition to civilian life without the help of the SFAC human resources specialist and the educational guidance counselor, Moreover, the Soldiers said by visiting the SFAC, they knew they would get needed help.
As a result of the Army Family Covenant, the Army Family Team Building program has provided training to 232 Army Family members in Level I, II, and III training, which are both onsite and online.
With this training, families in the Heidelberg community have become more self-reliant and better equipped to handle daily challenges and other situations and crisis encountered during deployments.
The AFTB program has also trained five new instructors who support Army families.
As for the respite care program, which was designed in 2007 to provide temporary relief for family members responsible for the regular care of those with special needs, the demand for that service has increased rapidly. In fiscal year 2008, Heidelberg used $81,170 to support families by delivering 3,632 hours of care.
Respite care is not just for families with children; adults who are enrolled in the program may be eligible as well.
For example, in Heidelberg the EFMP program has been able to offer respite to several families whose primary caregiver is unable to care for their children due to treatment or some other medical emergency.
Last summer, the EFMP program in Heidelberg used respite funding to organize the first summer camp program for EFMP families. Twelve children participated in the one-week camp, with activities such as therapeutic riding, pottery class, therapeutic music sessions, and dance and movement classes.
Also, the Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation division provided $1 game discounts at the Heidelberg Bowling Center and $10 discounts for golf lesson and/or green fees at the Heidelberg Golf Course. And a total of $217,800 was spent by Child, Youth and School Services to enhance a number of programs.