Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    102nd Intelligence Wing Wellness Podcast for March 10, 2021 - Heroes In Transition- Communication, Connection, and Community

    102nd Intelligence Wing Wellness Podcast for March 10, 2021 - Heroes In Transition- Communication, Connection, and Community

    Advanced Embed Example

    Add the following CSS to the header block of your HTML document.

    Then add the mark-up below to the body block of the same document.



    Audio by Airman Francesca Skridulis 

    102nd Intelligence Wing   

    On this episode Ms. Jill Garvin, Wing Director of Psychological Health, speaks to Ms. Kristen Alexander about the importance of communication, connection and community when it comes to relationships. Ms. Kristen Alexander is a Heroes In Transition spouses group coordinator. Heroes In Transition provides many family, couples and veterans programs to our community.


    Jill: hello everybody this is Jill Garvin the director of psychological health for the 102nd Intelligence Wing welcome back to our wellness podcast today I have Kristen Alexander here with us she is from heroes and transition a lot of you have probably heard about them one of my favorite organizations and favorite people they assist veterans and military families and do a lot for our community and for a lot of our members here at the 102nd actually Kristen and her husband John they are both couples group facilitators and Kristin is the spouse's group facilitator and John is the veterans facilitator co-facilitator am I saying that the right facilitators right

    Kristen: yeah coordinators facilities that's what I have to say it's all good

    Jill: yeah so coordinators I apologize so one of the reasons I wanted to talk to Kristen about some of the programs and offerings that that heroes in transition has is because a lot of people i'm finding especially since Covid have really been struggling in relationships marriages that have broken apart or relationships that are really really struggling and a lot of people are struggling right now and I have definitely had an uptick in in my office and my arena around people struggling with that and heroes in transition certainly has stepped up during Covid and and is offering a lot of different things to meet the needs of our veterans and their families and since Kristen is involved in the the program for for couples and and in relationships I wanted her to tell us about what they're doing and introduce yourself and tell us how did you get involved with heroes in transition you and your husband you know give us a little a little background

    Kristen: awesome thanks Jill so my name is Kristen Alexander as Jill said and we are going into our fifth year with heroes it is my husband had started with them in a conversation of facilitating a veterans group and carrying that on and I was kind of like yeah well there’s spouses two so because my husband's a veteran so we've been through the deployments and you know all the things and so that really sparked an awesome conversation about starting with couples first and building the trust there and then breaking off and doing kind of separate groups so we started from the grassroots up and we started with the couples group we created a couples group and it just has continued to grow and grow and grow now that we have now we have to do lotteries for our events

    Jill: Wow

    Kristen: yeah so it's been amazing and it's been amazing to see the growth not only just within the organization in the group but the growth and the friendships that have come together because of that space

    Jill: i've heard some amazing feedback from our members that have gone on some of the couples events and retreats and it sounds like it is really well planned and just very therapeutic and amazing

    Kristen: yeah it's really great coming from because i'm not a therapist you know I don't i'm a spouse you know I am half of the married couple so that's the role that we take with it is you know creating the relatedness of another angle you know and what that does is that opens up the door for more conversation for maybe more needs that whether it be the veteran or the couple or the spouse might need they tend to be a little bit more open to maybe furthering on with other areas but you know reading just some of the things that you know we get feedback on and with covet it's been tough because a big part of what we do is we would do we do monthly we do bi-monthly events so what we do is we do like last month February was a couple's group event and we did a virtual valentine's dinner that was amazing and then this month we'll do the veterans will do an event and the spouses will do events separate and then the month after april we'll go back to a couple so we kind of alternate so it kind of it builds up the individuality because to be able to be strong as a couple you have to have your you have to know who you are right like so you still have to have that sense of self and independence

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: because sometimes that goes away as a military spouse right but thank goodness for zoom we've been able to go virtual and it was like hey we don't have to give up everything but it has been a big part of like I said what we do is we would do an event to kind of get people together socializing that kind of thing and then we would do dinner and not being able to do the dinner was a fear that we would lose that connection because when you're sitting down having dinner and that's where the connections are coming in the smaller conversations and you know that kind of thing and but we've been able to through being virtual we've been able to still somewhat keep that connection and we've actually had a lot of new people join us which has been great because a lot of people don't feel comfortable coming into a group

    Jill: right

    Kristen: so the virtual aspect has been a blessing there's a blessing in everything as we know has been a blessing to allow people that maybe would feel a little bit intimidated or uncomfortable to be around people physically at first

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: to kind of come in this way you know and like one of the things was feedback we got was it's such a pleasure knowing that in difficult times we can still grow and adapt to continue to get to get out there and build your support group you know so just knowing that providing that space for them you know and don't think we're not getting anything from it

    Jill: of course yeah

    Kristen: you know it's just it's it's pretty amazing

    Jill: so so how did you and john so you're doing this as a as a couple right obviously and what what kind since you're a spouse as well what sorts of things have helped you along your journey in marriage as a military spouse what what things have helped the two of you stay married

    Kristen: yeah so there's that yeah communication for sure and a lot of what takes a long time is to really learn how to listen and listen in a way that you're you get the intention of the conversation right so it's like kind of building those skills you know and it lit I remember when we went to therapy back in the day you know and just one of the exercises that we had to do was sit back to back and take take 10 minutes talking taking turns because then you're not interrupting

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: he couldn't see my face because he doesn't because I was a crier I might still be but you know doing things like that you know so like some of one of the exercises that we did during one of our retreats was it was called the recreation exercise so one partner would say something and then would express whatever they were gonna express and then the other partner would come back and say okay so I heard this is what I heard and would say it back and then they would have a conversation did they really hear what that person was saying

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: you know so it's really and it's just practice and when times get crazy we all fall out of it a little bit so those these reminders of the things that we do and we continue to really put in how important communication is is a good reminder for everyone that you just can't be successful without communication

    Jill: yeah communication is so key

    Kristen: yeah

    Jill: and i'm glad you mentioned well just an idea of one of the things that you do on the at the retreat yeah tell us a little bit what are the events like what do you do

    Kristen: yeah so we have twice a year so we do that every other month so that every month there is a an event for a veteran spouse

    Jill: and what type of events the this month

    Kristen: for the spouses I am running a i'm leading a vision board workshop so we all and we're gonna focus on hope like what can we bring you know what can we create and really just kind of getting down I have a whole worksheet there's a process it's not just cutting out pictures and pasting them they're gonna we're gonna do some digging you know in creating and with that the veterans this month are doing they're doing yoga and meditation which is awesome

    Jill: with Sarah right

    Kristen: yeah yep saturday we love Sarah yeah and also too I know they're still doing they do some work with Marie Bartram also and I know that they're still doing some like weekly virtual events too just to kind of keep people connected which is super important every saturday I do a spouse's coffee chat virtual which has really been a huge part of staying connected you know about

    Jill: I love that kind of thing what time is that

    Kristen: 9 a.m on saturdays and we do have a facebook group for couples and we also have email lists that I can give you you know when we before we wrap up how people can get connected to that kind of stuff but what we do I want to a couple of our biggest things is twice a year we do a couples retreat so we you know and they both have a little bit of a different focus one of the couple's retreats is really about building the community in teamwork you know also working on communication skills with each other but like building community and just really getting that you're not by yourself in this you're you've got people you know and then the other one is really digging deeper into your relationship in really just looking at how you can work on those communication skills different things different exercises that you can do how to communicate in a way that is effective because there's all different levels of communication

    Jill: It is a skill

    Kristen: as we know and to be able to communicate effectively is a huge skill you know and you know unfortunately we're not born with it we have to create it and but we also have to be committed to it

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: you know and really just being able to get on each to get on each other's level really just listen to the other person you know one of the things that we learned was doing a daily temperature reading and what that is is you just there's like five different topics and you take turns and there's no discussion about it you're literally just filling in this is what's happening this is what's new blah blah blah you know whatever that kind of thing

    Jill: nice

    Kristen: yeah it's really cool

    Jill: well I was going to say you mentioned uh community connection communication and committed and just that just paints such a wonderful picture on yeah how we have successful relationships whether they're friendships or romantic relationships in our marriages but especially that connection piece and I love that you guys are keeping folks connected

    Kristen: yeah thank you it's you know and really just looking at again some of the things that they give us back you know the feedback like what stands out is reconnect relearning love languages you know that kind of stuff really just having one-on-one time to themselves instead of always being a parent oracle or a worker or you know something like that and what happens is a lot of times they don't especially with our military families and couples they don't have family here you know so they don't really get a lot of that one-on-one time you know so now when events come up they're a little bit more apt to look you know might look for a babysitter and make that extra effort to get that one-on-one time and then when they experience that one-on-one time they're like oh that's who you are oh I forgot

    Jill: yeah you're an adult too

    Kristen: yeah right you know so it's really it's really been so amazing

    Jill: yeah you guys do so much and again I know we're all appreciative of especially during Covid just stepping up and and having all of this and and because most everything is free right

    Kristen: everything is everything is free

    Jill: which is amazing yep yep and and I love yeah there are a lot of uh silver linings that came from Covid especially zoom and like you said there are a lot of veterans or service members those that suffer with anxiety or ptsd and they don't necessarily want to go into a crowded room with other people and so having the option to to see people on a screen and you're in your own safe comfortable environment is is wonderful yeah something wonderful

    Kristen: it kind of fills that gap a little bit yeah and for our valentine's dinner we had you know we had everybody got to pick up their dinner they got a choice of their meal they went and picked it up at marshland 2 and we met on zoom at 7 pm and there were a lot of people that didn't know each other because we've been in this for a year so we haven't really been able to you know do a lot of the connecting but by the time that dinner lasted like three hours and we were like wow like we laughed and people just got to really know each other and people were sharing and it was just you know it was just really great for them to have that like ah yeah with my people

    Jill: a breather yeah and and and there's such power and just being around other people that you can identify with and understand military life culture marriage all of those things do you guys have something coming up

    Kristen: we have well in March 20th we have the spouses the spouses event and that's going to be a vision board workshop and then the veterans are doing they're doing yoga and meditation I think that might be March 13th might be the week before I think maybe and then there's also we have a families group too and Casey and Aaron and Vanheusen run that and that's amazing so we do and those are monthly events and you know we couldn't do it without the hard work of our donors and sponsors who are like

    Jill: yeah I know and that's because they see all the great work you're doing they love you guys it's just amazing to see the outpouring of support and love that heroes in transition gets from the community

    Kristen: it's been amazing and we do have it's the full moon yeah that's why i'm but we we do have the Ruck4HIT coming up which is like one of our aside from the gala well both of those are our biggest fundraisers and the Ruck4HIT like everybody can take part you can run walk you can do whatever and that is going to be based right out of Mashpee and that is the end of April April 30th to

    Jill: yeah so that every you guys will be meeting at the heritage park

    Kristen: yep that's going to be our home base and we have teams and we've been doing that I mean we've been doing that I think this is our fifth or sixth year doing that the first one we did the beta run to new york city and back and that was pretty amazing

    Jill: everybody knows about the rock

    Kristen: I mean I think so but it's so great and that's when and we also what happens with the ruck is we have a lot of the people that participate in our groups they that's where they come to give back so they volunteer and they kind of you know help the whole thing happen but again we couldn't do it without the people that sponsor us and you know our donors our board of directors are amazing they just have so much trust in us which is amazing yeah

    Jill: yeah well you do amazing things and you have amazing results you've helped a lot of people like I said there's so many 102nd members here that have given me feedback over the years about oh just all the different ways that heroes in transition has helped them and and we've been able to call on you guys when we've needed something or needed a resource for someone it's just great to be able to pick up the phone and and get you guys anytime so thank you so is there anything else you'd like to mention that that's coming up or how do people find you

    Kristen: people we have we do have a website at and an easy way to remember how to get connected to the groups it would be if you were looking to get information about the spouses group you would email if you wanted to get information about the veterans group veterans at harrows in transition and couples couples at heroes families families at heroes so we try to keep it simple you know that kind of thing I know the couples group we have a private facebook group that is specifically for military couples the families group has a facebook group for that but definitely go and you know like heroes in transition on facebook and you'll see all the connections there

    Jill: you're on instagram too right

    Kristen: I think so I i should be better at instagram and just

    Jill: some people are more instagram

    Kristen: it's yeah yeah yeah but I think we have an amazing social media guy Chris he's just awesome and yeah he he gets all of our stuff everywhere yeah it needs to go

    Jill: and the emails you mentioned if they go on the website all of those

    Kristen: they'll be able to find you know find that too you know and then they'll also be able to see you know we're pretty good about you know responding quickly and you know like the spouse's group events are for spouses of military members you know the veterans events or for that you know that kind of thing so yeah so

    Jill: wonderful

    Kristen: so that's it like just come see us no matter what rain shine we make it happen

    Jill: especially with zoom it doesn't matter what the weather is

    Kristen: yeah in person not in person

    Jill: you know and I love the the that you guys are doing rock the way you're doing it I i don't think I could have ever participated before but i'm planning on doing it this year yeah I have been running but but just again the way that uh some of the different options I think will make it more available

    Kristen: yeah it's we had people from other countries participate last year we had so that's the thing with Covid too like it's kind of you have to be creative right

    Jill: yeah

    Kristen: and you have to open up we had families participate together you know and they would send in their miles you know and then we'd add them up on on our team or whatever yeah yeah definitely a way whether you want to come and walk and you know the registration form is out I believe which is cool so anybody can register can register individually or as a team and then or you know come down and help us out you know just be a smiling face and cheer us on because we'll be tired

    Jill: well thank you and please thank uh Cindy and Nicole for all and your wonderful board I appreciate everything that you guys do for the community and I appreciate you coming on today and we'll definitely have you guys back because you're always doing new and innovative and ongoing things and I want to remind people that you guys are here so thank you

    Kristen: anytime thank you


    Date Taken: 03.04.2021
    Date Posted: 03.10.2021 13:40
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 65607
    Filename: 2103/DOD_108223331.mp3
    Length: 00:21:02

    Web Views: 20
    Downloads: 0
    High-Res. Downloads: 0