JBSA M&FRCs offer support groups for single parents
By Ashley Palacios, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs
/ Published November 18, 2016
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Single parents on active duty can experience feelings of isolation as they deal with the stressors that affect them and their families.
However, Joint Base San Antonio Military & Family Readiness Centers are addressing the concerns of single parents and offering them a support network to help them better cope with the challenges they face.
“The primary purpose of the Single Parent Support Group is to let single parents know they’re not alone,” said Danielle Dennis, JBSA-Lackland M&FRC community readiness consultant. “We want to let single parents know there are others who understand and can help them with what they’re going through. It’s all about bringing people together.”
Tech. Sgt. Gabriela Sales, JBSA-Randolph Chapel resource management NCO in charge, recently discovered the single parent group and described the support of the group as what interested her in attending.
“Being a single parent is so hard, and being active duty makes it even more challenging,” Sales said. “It’s tough to balance my career and personal life on my own. The things that used to be simple, such as doctor appointments and after school activities, become extremely difficult on your own.”
Recognizing the unique set of challenges facing single parents, the group aims to address these specific concerns while also helping them build a social network to stay connected with other single parents, Dennis said.
Members who are moving to a new installation, for example, have to deal with out- or in-processing while also addressing the needs of their children without help from a spouse. In addition, appointments for their children, housing, utilities, furniture delivery, vehicle maintenance and other needs are challenges single parents have to face alone.
“Being responsible for so much on my own takes a toll on me emotionally,” Sales said. “It would be nice to know I have people who would support me and understand what I’m going through.”
During Single Parent Support Group meetings, representatives from JBSA’s helping agencies address topics of interest to single parents, such as effective communication, conflict resolution and building resiliency in children. The group can also offer a listing of child care providers or recommend teenagers who are first aid qualified. Parents are also given the opportunity to bring up their own concerns for group discussion.
Sales said she wants to ensure she remains positive and resilient and makes the time to take care of herself so she can be the best mom for her children.
“It’s just me, so if I’m not there for my kids, who will be?” Sales asked. “Most days are hard and challenging but we find a way to make it through and laugh together. They make me happy every single day.”
Although the Single Parent Support Group focuses on active-duty members, contractors and Department of Defense civilians who are single parents are also welcome to attend. Spouses who are separated from their partners due to deployment, remote assignment or extended temporary duty can also benefit from participation in the support group.
The next Single Parents Support Group meetings take place on JBSA-Lackland Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and JBSA-Randolph Dec. 15 from 12 p.m. to 1p.m. Single parents interested in joining the Single Parent Support Group or attending the monthly sessions can contact the JBSA-Lackland M&FRC at 671-3722 or JBSA-Randolph at 652-5321. Members at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston can attend meetings at either of these locations.