By Lisa Monroe, DeeDee Bardwell and Venassia Gunter, Fort Eustis FRSAsMay 7, 2009
FORT EUSTIS, Va. (May 7, 2009) -- Family Readiness Groups are made up of Soldiers and civilians assigned to a unit and their family members (immediate and extended) and other loved ones identified by the Soldier. It is overseen by the commander. Family Readiness Groups serve as mutual concern and support for spouses and family members of Soldiers. Often times, an FRG is a great way for family members to connect to their new community when a Soldier first arrives at a new unit. Family Readiness Groups provide important deployment and training information, social outlets and help during family emergencies. They play a large roll in their success among members by providing information, referral assistance and mutual support. Family Readiness Groups achieve readiness by providing an atmosphere and an agenda of activities, which builds cohesiveness among unit members. They also serve as the connection between the command and family members.
Family Readiness Groups are also very important to developing open and honest channels of communication between the command and family members to help families adjust to military life, whether a in times of deployment or not. Some of the benefits of being part of the FRG are to help reduce stress by helping families solve problems, advocate more efficient use of community resources, provide training, and information while fostering a positive outlook of military life. Family Readiness Groups are not just for married Soldiers, it is also there to support the single Soldiers and their families as well.
There sometimes is a misconception of FRGs and what they are and really do. Family Readiness Groups are not social clubs, a click, an event for talking about others, or to air your dirty laundry. Family Readiness Groups are here to assist families and they are what you make them.
A strong FRG can definitely be the supporting force needed to help family members through long deployments and mobilizations, but it can also be part of the supporting force from the military spouses that helps make a unit's, Soldier's and family member's mission a success.
Military spouses have made difficult sacrifices of their own, and have called upon their inner reserves to nurture family life so their service member can focus on the business at hand. For many military spouses, they have willingly packed up and relocated countless times, and may have been separated from their own parents and siblings for several years at a time. It is in times like this where FRGs can help bridge the gap and assist spouses and families with relocation and getting to know their new communities, but it can also play a huge role of support during times of deployment.
In the last few years, with the overwhelming number of deployments, the Army recognized that FRGs needed more help. Family Readiness Support Assistants are paid government employees that are either assigned at the battalion or brigade level and their sole purpose is to assist FRG leaders and the FRGs. The 7th Sustainment Brigade has approximately six FRSAs that oversee the FRG program. As FRSAs, they ensure the FRG programs for each company within the battalions are in place and running smoothly. If your Soldier is part of 7th Sust.Bde. and you, would like to get involved with your unit's FRG, contact the FRSA for your Soldiers battalion: Bob St. Jacques, 6th Transportation Battalion, 272-8000; Christina Montoya, 10th Trans. Bn., 320-3370; Venassia Gunter, 11th Trans. Bn., 422-7493; Varnessa Tisdale, 24th Trans. Bn., 753-7369; Lisa Monroe, 53rd Trans. Bn., 272-6817; and DeeDee Bardwell, Special Troops Battalion, 272-4828.