ARMY COMMUNITY SERVICE
No one understands the hardships of a military career like the families who pack up their household goods every few years for another change of duty station or who stay behind during a deployment. Because of this, the Army is finding innovative ways to create a sense of community for families in ways civilian employers often don’t.
Army Community Service’s programs are highly touted for providing military personnel and their families with a wealth of resources for guidance in personal family and professional matters. ACS works on the concept that a military member’s lifestyle and family life directly impact job performance and readiness.
By offering workshops and resources on issues, such as stress management, conflict resolution and parenting skills, ACS attempts to alleviate problems at home that could, in turn, impact service members’ readiness.
The Fort Lee Army Community Service is open to personnel and families of other military branches and virtually all the services are free to active-duty and retired members and their families. ACS volunteers help the center offer diversified services to the community. They provide general information to all who visit the center. ACS hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. If you need any of the following services, want more information or would like to volunteer, stop by the office at Building 9023, 1231 Mahone Ave., or call (804) 734-6388.
RELOCATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Relocation workshops can help reduce the stress associated with moving. Workshops cover a variety of topics, including pay and allowances, household goods, move-related stress and helping children cope with relocation.
The overseas transfer workshop addresses the special challenges and rewards of moving outside of the United States. Information offered during the workshops focuses on household goods and auto shipment, financial planning, travel arrangements and passports, personal security and culture shock.
INFORMATION AND REFERRAL
Need information or assistance? Have a question that needs answering? Providing information and referrals is one of the primary functions of your ACS center. The center has a specialist who can assist you in finding answers to your questions or provide you with the resources or referrals you need. Information and handouts on a wide variety of subjects are available.
Army Community Services also has a division called Family Services that encompasses three major areas: information, referral and follow-up relocation assistance, along with exceptional family member services. This program provides service members with basic information concerning agencies in the community and around the post. They will also make an appointment with the appropriate agency for you.
EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY MEMBER PROGRAM
The Exceptional Family Member program assists service members who have family members who are handicapped with physical, emotional or intellectual disorders by enrolling them in the program and locating needed services. Information about education, financial assistance, support groups, legal rights and special recreational activities is available. The staff can also help with finding caregivers.
ARMY EMERGENCY RELIEF
Financial assistance is available to active-duty Soldiers and their families; Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers on active duty for more than 30 days and their families; Soldiers retired from active duty for longevity or physical disability and their family members; and surviving spouses and orphans of Soldiers who died while on active duty or after retirement. In addition to financial assistance, the AER staff maintains an emergency food closet for families who require assistance due to financial problems, or events such as fire and flood.
The Family Advocacy program has a family support program and is also a specialized program designed to prevent and treat child and spouse abuse. Emergency shelters, a hotline, prevention services and support services are available. The Army’s new family support program is also coordinated through this program.
Outreach seeks to link family support programs with Soldiers and family members to help develop a sense of belonging between the Army family and the community and prevent feelings of isolation.