SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Service members new to Hawaii are benefiting greatly by attending several briefings; however, their spouses normally don't attend, even though much of the information at these talks pertains to the entire family.

In response to this trend, Army Hawaii Family Housing (AHFH) recently launched a briefing specifically for spouses new to the islands. The Spouse Briefing is held the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and is free to service members, spouses and other family members, regardless of whether they live in an AHFH community.

"What makes this briefing different is, we go beyond passing along basic information," said Lisa Reese, director of property management, AHFH. "We give spouses detailed information about the areas they live and work in, and try to cover everything from where schools and a veterinarian can be found to great eateries and shopping off-post.

"The briefing also includes an overview of culture and traditions in Hawaii, and several (Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) divisions also participate," she explained.

"I was at (the AHFH) spouse's meeting a few weeks ago, and I have been to a few other meetings since then," said spouse Melanie Ross. "I got more useful information at (AHFH's) meeting than I have at any other."

Ross said she enjoyed talking to AHFH staff and other participants about what the island is really like. She found out where to go for specific services.

"Everybody can benefit from it, especially those new to the island or new to the military," said Reese.