Army Family Team Building holds Korean-language seminar
March 26, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Strong families are the pillar of support behind strong Soldiers, and thanks to Yongsan's Army Family Team Building Program, helping families has crossed cultural divides.
AFTB is a series of classes led by volunteer instructors that provides training and knowledge to Army family members to help them understand Army life. Yongsan holds sessions in the Korean language, and is planning one in Spanish in May.
"The AFTB helps military spouses and families to be self-sufficient," said Reta Mills, AFTB coordinator for USAG-Yongsan. "It enables families to have tools to support themselves while the Soldier is on mission. AFTB programs provide educate designed to prepare Army families to move successfully into the future."
Seven Korean spouses gathered March 19 and 20 at the Army Community Service center to learn the basic skills and knowledge of military life during a two-day course.
"This year we plan on having AFTB Level 1 classes in Korean on a quarterly basis," said Hong Sook-hee, a volunteer AFTB master trainer. "It targets spouses new to the Army."
AFTB contributes to the Army mission by educating and training the Army family to be self-sufficient leaders within their communities, according the AFTB mission statement. AFTB Level I classes focus on the basic skills and knowledge needed to live the military life. Level II allows participants to grow into community leaders.
Level III provides training to help spouses teach others. Hong, a Korean spouse herself, said there are many who live on post who don't know how to take full advantage of the benefits available to them.
"Clearly we receive many more questions from the part of the spouses when the class is given in their own language," she said. During the class, the spouses learned and shared information on various topics, such as military customs and courtesies, basic military benefits and entitlements, community resources, children's education and financial issues.
"I believe the primary motive of holding such a class is to increase dialogue and understanding between couples, a process that can lead to a healthy relationship," Hong said. "And recently, many of the spouses revealed that now when they go back home, they will feel more supportive to their husbands and children."
Kang Eun-kyung traveled from the Uijoengbu area to attend the seminar.
"I had taken an AFTB course last year, but it was in English," Kang said. "So even when I had a question about my child's education, the instructor had difficulty understanding what I truly wanted to know. This class was short but is a huge benefit and very exciting."
Wee Sun-sook, another Soldier spouse, said she now felt confident about managing domestic affairs. "It's great to sit around with others with whom we can share information," she said.
The next Korean AFTB course will be offered in July, Hong said. Spanish-speaking spouses may also take classes in May. For more information on AFTB, call 738-3617.