Raising children is hard enough on its own. But imagine what it's like for those military moms and dads – deployed for months and unable to spend quality family time.
One organization is helping make up for lost time: it's called the family advocacy program. And for the past several decades, its been helping lend a hand to army parents and their children.
"With the war on terror, services have increased for families," says Jenny Kerr, Family Advocacy Program. "We've seen families that are stressed from the war, more families coming through the installation."
Whether it's going bowling, fishing, or just hanging out, the program works towards strengthening families and eliminating domestic violence through bonding.
"Open them up to those social opportunities, those fun things to do as a family that's going to bring them together," Kerr adds.
And when military families are spread all over the Quad Cities, it also gives parents a chance to talk and share their cares and concerns.
"They don't have those support networks when they move here," Kerr explains. "They don't know each other. On larger installations, where many of the soldiers live on the installations – they are meeting each other and doing things in their neighborhoods."
First Sergeant Brian J. Habel has been involving his family in the program since 2007 and says he's learned more than ever before.
"This gave me an opportunity," Habel says.
An opportunity, once a month, he says, to set aside time and really truly learn what's going on in his kids' lives.
"It gives you a stepping stone of what your kids like, and you're not spending the money where the kids are going to go ‘I don't want to do this,'" he adds.
And First Sergeant Habel says the rewarding experience goes both ways: it's as satisfying for him as it is for his children.
"They pretty much know on the calendar when it's coming up," he jokes.
Because of the furloughs, the Family Advocacy Program has made cuts their offices are now closed on Fridays. To learn more about how to enroll your family in this army program, just click here.
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