A&FRC: providing countless resources at your hands
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles on helping agencies and services provided to ensure Airmen and families remain resilient during their overseas tour.
The 51st Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center provides a multitude of resources and services to military members and their families to assist with achieving and maintaining a balance of work and life.
The mission here differs for Osan Airmen and their families because the A&FRC offers specific programs to adjust to a new life overseas with the Korean community.
"Our mission is to assist with life-challenging issues and educate and inform our community to enhance multi-cultural integration, promotion, retention, and mission readiness," said Rebecca Ramirez, A&FRC community readiness consultant. "Here, we live and work in a fast-paced environment because of the high operations tempo, but it's also shell-shock because the Airmen and families here are experiencing an entirely new culture.
"We provide a myriad of programs and assistance to help alleviate the void of leisure activities and to help you better understand the Korean culture and its people," she added.
The multi-cultural program offers a number of orientation tours and cultural-awareness seminars along with seminars for foreign spouses so they can interact confidently with Americans.
"I'm here to assist newcomers to help them adapt to the culture differences and language barriers," said Tokhui Kim, A&FRC multicultural awareness program manager. "We offer Survival Korean class that allows us to teach basic Korean words and phrases such as '안녕하세요' (annyeonghaseyo) or 'hello' in English. The class helps to build confidence in having basic conversations when you go off base."
International cooking classes are also available allowing the Osan community to experience culinary arts from a variety of cultures.
In addition, the A&FRC offers exploration opportunities to aid new members in learning public transportation systems. Some of them include the following:
- Adventure Dining - A pay-as-you-go exploration of Songtan area restaurants. Evaluations at restaurants will keep the A&FRC Restaurant Guide current.
- Explore Namdaemun Market - Learn how to use the Seoul subway system during a tour of one of Seoul's largest shopping districts. Won required.
- Explore Tongdaemun Market - Participants set out on a tour of one of the most popular shopping areas in Seoul. Won required.
- Hike to Burak-San & Lunch - Explore various hiking areas in the Songtan athletic park with stops at two village Buddhist temples, followed by an opportunity to experience typical cuisine (Offered March - November).
- Cooking Classes - Participants will gain hands-on experience in preparing traditional dishes from American, Mexican, Filipino, Korean, Thai, Soul and Turkish cooking. Space is limited.
The A&FRC strives to meet the needs of Airman and their families through other various avenues, to include unit briefings, classes, workshops, seminars and individual meetings.
One way to meet the needs of families is with child care.
"One of the programs we have include Child Care for PCS, where parents can receive up to 20 hours of care for each child upon arrival and departure of the base," said Ramirez. "We also have child care for volunteers and Give Parents a Break."
"The Airman and Family Readiness Center is important to community readiness, resiliency, and quality of life for individuals and families," said Ramirez. "We provide targeted Airmen and Family support and services, contributing to mission readiness and the well-being of the Air Force community."
A&FRC programs are open to all military personnel including active duty, reservists, guardsmen and Defense Department civilians and their families. Some of the additional programs provided by the A&FRC are as follows:
- Give Parents a Break - Assisted by the Child Development Center to give parents time to take a break without having to pay for a babysitter. Certificates, provided by chaplain, first sergeant or medical provider, are good for up to three months.
- Air Force Aid Society - Provides emergency financial assistance by assessing emergencies and evaluating personal budgets to determine eligibility for an interest free loan or grant up to $750.
- Transition Assistance - Provides service members with the knowledge, skills and abilities to empower them to make informed career decisions, be competitive in a global work force, and become positive contributors to their community as they transition from military service and reintegrate into civilian life.
- Volunteer program - Provides organizations a list of volunteers available when needed for events.
- Spouse Employment - Supports military family members in achieving short and long-term employment through local labor market information and job search skills workshops.
-Spouse Orientation - A monthly spouse orientation to hear briefings and ask questions regarding a variety of base services and agencies along with a wing mission brief, medical including dental and Tricare, Noncombatant Evacuation Operation, schools, services and housing.
"Collectively, all of the programs and events we have here help the resiliency and quality of life on the base," said Ramirez.
For more information on A&FRC programs, contact them at 784-5440.