The Second Annual Joint Services Disabilities Awareness Resource Fair and Roundtable Discussion, is scheduled for March 24, on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall at Smith Gym. The event is free and open to all Department of Defense identification card holders and their Families.

The JSDARF offers information about available services to any military or DoD Family with special needs in the National Capital Region. The goal is to provide an opportunity for military Families to learn about community resources and services that may enhance their lives, as well as the lives of their special needs Family members.

Participants will hear from an expert panel including parents, servicemembers, medical providers, advocates and a representative from the office of community support for military Families with special needs. Exhibitors from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia will have displays throughout the event. A question and answer period will follow a briefing.

This year's program will feature welcoming remarks by Henderson Hall's Commanding Officer, Marine Col. Ira M. Cheatham, as well as a discussion about the future of EFMP by guest speaker Isabel Hodges from the Department of Health and Human Services. Hodges explained, although an overview of the past, present and future of DoD EFMP is interesting information, the fair is about Families sharing experiences.

The value in going to the JSDARF is getting information on how to use equipment or a device, how to get services from TRICARE, or where resource opportunities are for children of special needs. "The best information I ever got was from another parent, who used those resources," said Hodges.

"Working with the various services is a wonderful experience, not only for the Family members, but for us as EFMP managers from different services to network with each other," said Marcia O'Connor, exceptional Family member program manager with JBM-HH's Army Community Service. "During the planning sessions, the services can discuss what is happening in their own particular programs and enhance each other's EFMP programs," said O'Connor.

All the services have a common goal, to provide special needs resources for our Families. In the NCR, special needs Families are spread out, living in multiple states. It is difficult to have a venue with easy access for Families, so when all the services are working together we can market and get the information out.

For more information and to register, please visit or call 703-693-4172.