When work is finished.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2008
Uluani Duncan (right), pending hula instructor for SKIES, entertains family members with a hula demonstration during the FMWR expo, Aug. 1. Atten- dees enjoyed entertainment and booths showcasing new and revamped pro- grams for various installation organizations and services.
Story and Photos by
MOLLY HAYDEN Staff Writer
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — More than 350 Soldiers and family members gathered at the Nehelani, Aug. 1, for an informative evening that highlighed programs offered by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recre- ation (FMWR).
Visual displays kept the interest of many as subject matter experts stood by to an- swer questions and provide information about the numerous programs offered to Soldiers and families. Children played games as parents enjoyed food, entertain- ment, free giveaways, and gathered a wealth of information. Additionally, spon- sors gave away prizes, including the grand prize of a trip for four to Kilauea Military Camp in Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.
“The FMWR expos are a fantastic way to allow Soldiers and families the opportunity to discover everything that FMWR has to offer here in Hawaii,” said Sarah Horrigan, Army Family Covenant program coordi- nator, FMWR. “This year at the expo we are focusing in on the many ways (families) can “play in paradise” through our pro- grams.”
To embrace the culture of Hawaii, fam- ily members picked up a string upon en- tering the expo to create handmade lei. Each booth offered information and a bead to complete the lei.
“This is a great event,” said Spc. Martin King, 225th Brigade Support Battalion. “My family is getting all of the information they need before I deploy. This is helpful to all of us.”
Entertainment, including storytime for children, a hula performance and numer- ous educational speakers, lined the stage to keep the morale of the event running high.
For more information on the numerous programs offered through FMWR, call 438-2911 or visit www.mwrarmyhawaii.com.
More than 30 vendors, including Out- door Recreation, Family Advocacy Pro- gram, Army Community Service and Mil- itary and Family Life Consultants, show- cased new and revamped programs, rein- forcing the Army Family Covenant’s goal of providing Soldiers and families a qual- ity of life that is commensurate with their service.
“A lot of families are staying on the is- land during vacation time,” said Donna Van Winkle, director, Hawaii Army Arts and Crafts Centers. “We have so many creative activities for every member of the family, and we try to encourage families of deployed Soldiers to use our facility for scrap booking and other projects to savor moments while their Soldiers are de- ployed.”
Amanda Polingo, administrative assis-
tant for the Teen Center, explained new programs offered for teens, including pho- tography and art classes, as well as week-
tional Programs, Child and Youth Services (CYS), excitingly shared new programs with family members including the up-
ly field trips.
coming “Rock School,” which allows chil-
“We want to offer the kids something to do and give them the tools to do it,” said Polingo. “This keeps them busy and allows them to explore the island.”
dren to find their inner rock star and par- ticipate in a band by playing their choice of numerous instruments, including guitar, drums and keyboards.
Sandy Salisbury, School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills (SKIES) administrator, Child and Youth Instruc-
“There are so many services offered and it’s great to see everyone coming out to gain information,” said Reference Librar-
CYS Outreach Director Sylvia Scully (right) reads to children during the storytime ses- sion at the FMWR expo. Numerous activities kept children entertained as parents gained information about programs offered through FMWR.
ian Mona Kwon, Sgt. Yano Library. “See- ing all the vendors at once gives you a bet- ter perspective on what the Army is doing to aid military families.”
Kwon spoke of the library’s updated video game collection available for fami- ly members to check out, as well as nu- merous resources on neighboring islands.
“During these hard economic times we encourage people to explore Oahu and other islands,” said Kwon. “We have nu- merous resources for family entertain- ment, and for everyone to learn some- thing new.”
The expo also gave families of soon-to- be-deployed Soldiers a special treat by al- lowing them to pick up their Blue Star Card early for immediate savings and ben- efits.
“I think it great we can get all of our re- sources needed before my husband de- ploys,” said family member Tosha Lovell. “It’s a big help and will be while he’s gone.”
A special addition to the expo this year included the free FMWR “PlayPlanner” calendars, which highlight activities and events in the next six months.
“We know that during the next six months many of our families will be com- ing down the home stretch of deployment and others just beginning deployment,” said Horrigan. “We wanted to offer them a snapshot of the many things FMWR has available to them during this time.”
Army Family Covenant delivers discounts to Soldiers, families
Free monthly child care among increased benefits
SARAH HORRIGAN Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — To say fam- ily member Emily Calhoun, who is a mother of five, has her hands full would be an understatement. However, Calhoun and other family members are getting a much-needed respite thanks to recent child care benefits provided by the Army Family Covenant.
Over the past 10 months, child care benefits have expanded significantly as a result of the Department of the Army’s commitment to increasing quality of life for Soldiers and family members.
For spouses of deployed Soldiers, or Mission Level 1 families, the Army Fam- ily Covenant provides 16 free hours of monthly care, four free SKIES instruc- tional classes, registration for two dif- ferent youth sports, a 20 percent reduction on full or part-time care fees, and hourly care discounted to $2 per hour.
Calhoun uses her 16 free hours of child care per month at both the Child Devel- opment Center’s hourly care and through
the Child and Youth Services (CYS) Par- ents’ Night Out Program. During the day, she takes her children to the hourly care, but especially enjoys taking her older children to Parents’ Night Out.
“It is amazing to get a break and have some time to hang out with parents or just be in the house alone,” Calhoun said.
Families of wounded warriors also re- ceive the 16 hours, four free SKIES in- structional classes, free registration for two different youth sports, and discounted $2 hourly care. Additionally, wounded warrior families receive unlimited care during medical appointments, and full and part-time care fees are reduced to Fee Category 1 of the Army Fee Policy.
Families serving under Temporary Change of Station, Permanent Change of Station, (unaccompanied tour) or Tem- porary Duty (90-180 days) orders are classified as Mission Level 2 families. These families receive 16 hours of free child care, two free SKIES instructional classes, free registration for one youth sport, and hourly care discounted to $2 per hour.
Mission level 3 families include those in the Rear Detachment and are entitled to five hours of free child care monthly, two
Family member Davin Gaskins, left, plays with Short Term Alternative Care Center employee Angela Aquino during a recent “Big R: Countdown to Redeployment” party for Blue Star Cardholders.
free SKIES instructional classes, discounted $2 hourly care, and one free CYS Team/In- dividual Sport per child or youth.
Possibly one of the best benefits is the
For more information on all child care benefits, call or visit the AMR or Schofield Barracks CYS Central Registration Offices.
Schofield Barracks Area CYS
Building 556, Heard Avenue 655-5314/8380 Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30–11 a.m. (walk-ins); noon–4 p.m. (appointments).
AMR and Fort Shafter Area CYS
Building 1782 at AMR, 833-5393 Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.–noon (walk-ins); 1–4 p.m. (appointments).
For more on youth sports, visit http://mwrarmyhawaii.com/cys/cys_ documents/CYS_Calendar_08.pdf.
elimination of CYS registration fees for all Army families. Sylvia Scully, CYS Out- reach director, has noted a significant increase in family enrollment and par- ticipation since the Army Family Covenant benefits increased.
“As more and more people realized we are not charging $18 registration fees, we have seen a significant jump in reg- istration and participation in Parents’ Night Out,” she said. “Prior to the regis- tration fee waiver, we saw an average of 80 to 90 children at one Parents’ Night Out. Now we service 150 children in a typical night.”
Another new benefit from the Army Family Covenant is that family readiness groups can receive free child care for their meetings through Short Term Al- ternative Care Centers (STAAC). To qual- ify for the free care, the FRG meeting needs to fall into the category of one of the “3Cs” – care, communication or con- cern.
“Care” meetings include activities that support Soldiers downrange or volun- teers of the Care Teams doing their job when the unit suffers a casualty.
“Communication” meetings include ac- tivities that promote communication of official information to FRG members.
Lastly, “Concern” meetings include ac- tivities that promote mutual support to the FRG members (not more than three hours). Free child care is not authorized for any fundraising activities.