Dear Army, Don’t Cut Family Programs, Love Military Spouses
Last week I saw an article about how the Army will be looking at cutting family programsat Military.com.I understand the need for some budget cuts. I get that spending too much isn’t a good idea sometimes. But cutting family programs is not a good solution. There has to be other places where we can save money. There has to be another way instead of cutting programs that benefit military spouses and military families.
From the time I first became a military spouse, I have used military programs like MWR, PWOC, MOPS, Childcare and other programs that have been put on by organizations on post. These programs are important, especially for the new Army spouse that is feeling a little lost or for the spouse of a deployed soldier who just wants to find things to do with their children.
I hate the thought that family programs could be cut.
So that future generations of Army spouses will not be able to have access to them or to get that little extra care that they need.
I would hate to think that a new military spouse would arrive at a new duty station and not find ways to get connected. That she or he would feel like the military doesn’t care about them or wants to support them.
Some will say that because the wars are “wrapping up,” we don’t need as much family support. The truth is, soldiers and other branches of the military are still deploying. They are still leaving their families for months at a time and they still need extra support to get through deployments, through pcsing or anything else military life brings.
As long as we have a military and as long as they are doing their jobs, we will always have families that need that support.
So why should the Army keep family programs? Why are they valuable? Can’t spouses just get together with friends and get through the hardships of military life that way?
The main reason is that these family programs support the spouse and family of the service member and military families need as much support as possible. Yes, a nice get together with friends is a great way to connect with others but not everyone can do that. The Army needs programs where people can come together, meet others and find ways to support one another through the programs that are offered.
Not only are these programs a way to make friends but they allow the military spouse to make friends, find volunteer positions and can bring the whole military community together.
Children benefit from the activities that MWR and other organizations put on too. From egg hunts to Halloween fun. From free backpacks to free concerts.
To the service member, knowing their family is being taken care of is very important. They have a lot of work to do, both in the United States and overseas. Whether it is a deployment to Iraq or a school in Washington DC.
If we want a strong military, we need to support the families of the military.
When my husband was deployed for the 2nd time in 2009, I found PWOC to be my weekly place to get grounded and connect with other spouses. In 2013, when he was deployed to Afghanistan, MOPS became my go-to and within those meetings, I was able to connect with other spouses and know that I was not alone in what I was going through.
I have been to countless MWR programs put on in Germany and Ft. Campbell. I have heard other spouses talk about what these programs have meant and have done for them over the years.