By Kim Wheeler, Special to the LeaderDecember 13, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson and the Lake Carolina Development have partnered to launch the Lake Carolina Military Ambassador Program, an initiative that will reach out to military families who live in Lake Carolina and Northeast Columbia.
The program is intended to make Fort Jackson services more readily available to military families in these areas, said Elizabeth Maher, Army Community Services outreach program manager.
"We want to reach out to military families ... who live in that area and are not as likely to drive to Fort Jackson, to bring our services to the Lake Carolina and Northeast Columbia communities,"
she said, adding that the program is available to families connected to any branch of the military -- active, Reserve, or retired -- as well as federal civilian employees and their families.
"Whether it is the distance to Fort Jackson from (Northeast Columbia) ... or the long hours of the Fort Jackson mission, the many families who live in the Lake Carolina and Northeast Columbia area may find it hard to live there and still benefit from the many programs, services and events that are offered on post," Maher said. "The outreach initiative in this community will bridge the gap by providing services to those families where they live."
The Military Ambassador Program will involve Fort Jackson in most events and activities held in Lake Carolina. For example, the community's Harborside Lights holiday celebration, which took place Friday, included a tent that provided military families with free hot chocolate, ornament-making and piggy banks for children, and information about Fort Jackson services.
Maher said other services will soon be available in Lake Carolina as well, such as meetings for family readiness groups, Her War, Her Voice, Hearts Apart, Foreign Spouses Support Group, and Social Connections through Hobbies.
Hillary Jones, Lake Carolina's military outreach director, said the community would also like to incorporate quarterly social events for military spouses in the area to help them connect with each other.
"We know we have a large population of residents who are military families," Jones said. "It's important for our community to show our support for them, for all that the military does for us."
"Our goal is also to connect military families in Lake Carolina and Northeast Columbia," said Tori Ewing, Lake Carolina's vice president of marketing.
"When families live on (post), they are part of a bigger family. We want to reach out to the best of our ability and give them that same warm welcome, to incorporate them into our community and make sure they don't feel disjointed."
Maher said the program is a great way for Fort Jackson and Lake Carolina to meet the needs of military families.
"We knew that together we could make a difference," she said. "By offering more convenient services, families will be more likely to participate in programs that lead to better quality of life, enhanced well-being, and more resilient military families."
To get involved in the Lake Carolina Military Ambassador Program, contact Maher at 751-7220 or Jones at (843) 816-6438.