Caring for People Forum identifies opportunities to excel

  • Published
  • By Annette E. McLamb
  • 52nd Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Services Flight chief
The Air Force introduced the Caring for People Forum in 2009 as an opportunity for Air Force helping professionals to address institutional hindrances in support of service delivery.

Since that time, the forum has evolved to include installation and major command forums and has become the primary means for Airmen to present issues or concerns directly to Air Force leaders for resolution.

Spangdahlem's Integrated Delivery System, which consists of the helping agencies across base, hosted its Caring for People Forum here April 30. More than 100 Sabers came together to discuss concerns and develop recommendations for issues facing the base community.

Six focus groups convened to discuss the following topics: child and youth activities; sponsorship; physical fitness; marital relationships; spouse support; and single Airman support.

The focus groups developed 15 issues to be taken before wing leadership:
- Lack of activities and no indoor facilities for children and youth.
- Increase child care availability for non-working parents.
- Sponsorship program is not perceived as a unit priority.
- Sponsors are assigned rather than volunteered and inappropriately matched with the needs of inbound member.
- There are too many places to look for sponsorship information.
- Lack of sponsorship programs for single Airmen moving here and returning from deployment.
- Individuals feel they are not equipped with adequate training and nutrition guidance to support physical fitness.
- Inconsistencies exist in how certain aspects of the fitness program are interpreted or implemented.
- Strengthen foundations for marital issues.
- Increase deployment care for spouses.
- Lack of employment opportunities for non-U.S. spouses, and spouses feel isolated and disconnected due to language and cultural differences.
- Need to improve information distribution to new spouses.
- Need to improve communication between spouses and unit leadership.
- Inconvenient times of current activities on base for single Airmen who have to work weekends and a need for better advertisement.
- Lack of efficiency and organization at the dining facility and not convenient for single Airmen using the facility.

A few concerns were addressed right away. The deployed family member dinner is now being advertised more frequently and squadron, group and wing leadership is invited to the events. Dates and times of deployed family dinners and spouse reintegration sessions are now advertised in the 52nd Force Support Squadron Flash and information on the child development center rental space program is being advertised in the Flash as well.

The DFAC instituted a variety of changes to help with efficiency and organization and submitted a survey to Airman to determine the best dinner meal times.

Finally, an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century event has been scheduled to review the sponsorship program. To participate in the AFSO21 event, call the 52nd FSS Airman and Family Readiness Center.

Col. David Julazadeh, 52nd Fighter Wing vice commander, reviewed all the issues and tasked the wing to develop working groups to resolve the issues. The following issues were selected to be sent to U.S. Air Forces in Europe for review:

1. Spouses feel isolated and disconnected due to language, cultural differences and lack of employment opportunities for non-U.S. spouses.
2. Provide better support to spouses before, during and after deployment.
3. Review Air Force guidance regarding fitness testing.

Your voices were heard, and now it is time to get to work. If you are interested in being part of one of the working groups or have recommendations you would like to share, please provide your feedback by contacting the 52nd FSS A&FRC at DSN 452-6422 or 06565-61-6422.