The first of three boxes to gather information on issues affecting Army life was placed in the Fort McPherson Library Wednesday in preparation for the Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) conference.

According to the Military One Source website, AFAP is the Army's grassroots process to identify and elevate the most significant quality of life issues impacting Soldiers, retirees, Civilian employees and Families to senior leaders for action.

Boxes like the one placed at the library allows the public to voice their concerns to commanders, allowing them to make changes to quality of life issues, said Cynthia Giesecke, AFAP coordinator, adding issue submissions will be collected until Nov. 12.

Though issues are collected over a monthlong period, the process is ongoing throughout the year.

Many of the issues - up to 90 percent - involve local problems, which are worked on and solved over the course of the year in which they are submitted, Giesecke said.

For example, many issues raised at last year's AFAP conference are just being implemented after being researched by subject matter experts in the field, Giesecke said.

Changes, such as increasing awareness of BRAC information by creating a central hub at and keeping customer service facilities open Wednesday afternoons, were recently implemented.

Though Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem may be closed by the time some issues addressed at this year's AFAP conference move to the implementation stage, Giesecke said it shouldn't discourage people from participating.

"You can make a difference in your new station, with your retirement and health benefits," she said. "Think in broad terms."

Additionally, participating in the program allows people to make positive changes for future generations, Giesecke said.

"There are still things that need to be done. You can make it better for those coming in," she said.

Giesecke said the final two boxes will be placed in high-traffic areas; one will be placed at The Strike Zone on Fort McPherson and another will be placed at Fort Gillem in a yet-to-be-determined location.

Issues raised will be reviewed at the AFAP conference, which will meet Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at Army Community Services (Bldg. 65 at Fort McPherson).

Delegate representatives from commands across both installations will be present, as well as representatives for Wounded Warriors, retirees and survivors, Giesecke said.

This year's theme will be "Embrace Positive Change for Challenging Times," a slogan designed to remind people that, despite BRAC, there are positives to take hold of today, Giesecke said. "Our voices have meaning," she said.

For more information on AFAP visit, www. /familyprograms/armyfamilyactionplan/default.aspx.