News: Family Advocacy Program prepares for returning Soldiers
Story by Sgt. David Edge
FORT POLK, La., - The Family Advocacy Program is not just a program for reporting abuse in the home, the program teaches many classes that can help prevent stressful situations that can damage a marriage.
As 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, gets ready to come home, some of the classes taught by the Family Advocacy Program will be useful to help soldiers reintegrate with their families and loved ones.
“There are two sides to the Family Advocacy Program, the prevention and education, which are Army Community Service (ACS) programs and the clinical side that is ran by Bayne Jones Community Hospital and the Department of Behavioral Health,” said Kristina England, Family Advocacy Program manager. “On the ACS side of the house we offer things like date night and other classes with the hope of building up healthy coping and commutation skills so that abuse and neglect do not accrue in the families.”
The Family Advocacy Program has variety of classes designed to help soldiers reintegrate with their families. Some of the classes are Coping with Deployment and Reunion, Stress Management, Scream Free Marriage, and New Parent Support Program.
“Ideally reintegration starts before the soldier returns home. Families should start to work with their soldiers to reincorporate the soldier back into the family dynamics. [The soldiers] have been gone for a while and their families have readjusted to life without the soldiers and the soldier has adjusted to how life is in Afghanistan, so there is a very real need for the couples to communicate about where they are now with their family dynamics and how do we get the relationship back to how it was before the deployment,” said Yolanda Hayes, the New Parent Support lead home visitor.
It’s all about communication and learning how to do it correctly. As the world makes great strides in technology, basic communication skills have suffered.
“One of the things that I believe that’s happened in the families of today is that the communication skills have greatly diminished in a lot of ways. We no longer have as much face to face interaction as the past generations did, so there is a huge deficit in how we have learned to communicate with each other. There is a big difference in eye-to-eye or face-to-face communication and a text message or Skype,” said England. “For the soldiers redeploying that may be a big hurdle to overcome because when they are communicating face to face with their loved ones, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that may come up.”
Call (337) 531-1938 to contact the Family Advocacy Program. Their office is in the Army Community Service building at 1591 Bell Richard Ave.