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    BOSP helps single-parent soldiers manage Army and family life

    BOSP helps single-parent soldiers manage Army and family life

    Photo By Sgt. Adam Garlington | Nine-year-old Dawnavon Carreone gathers candy from the busted pinata at the Better...... read more read more

    FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES

    09.11.2012

    Courtesy Story

    24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

    FORT BLISS, Texas – There is a group of soldiers in every formation that goes unnoticed, because of their unique situation, they attempt to blend in with their peers. Better Opportunities for Single Parents helps single-parent soldiers stand out in front of the formation and identify themselves with pride.

    According to Sgt. Richard Carreon, BOSP-vice president, the program is an information and network hub for single-parent soldiers and dual military parents to address issues, interact, share experiences and help each other in the most trying times and share the best of times.

    “The three pillars of BOSP are being active, engaged and involved,” Carreon, a chemical operations specialist with Fort Bliss Garrison Headquarters and Headquarters Company said. “We want soldiers to be active in the community, engaged with the chain of command and soldiers, and involved in their child’s life.”

    Sgt. Reina Terrazas, BOSP president, agreed that soldiers need to engage the chain of command and let it be known that they’re a single-parent soldier. She added, Fort Bliss has approximately 2,000 single-parent soldiers, but BOSP has knowledge of less than 80 of those soldiers.

    Command Sgt. Maj. Phillip Pandy, Fort Bliss Garrison command sergeant major, was surprised to hear that there is a stigma associated with being a single-parent soldier. He said single-parent Soldiers have told him that it’s assumed they cannot be relied on as a normal soldier because of the challenges with the family care plan, working late duty hours or going to training exercises.

    “When a soldier comes to a new organization, you’re motivated, excited, ready to prove yourself to be received and integrated into the team,” Pandy said. “The last thing you need is a stigma that will take you away from being a squared-away soldier and proving you’re a valued member of the team.”

    Pandy, who provides oversight and support for BOSP, said unit commanders and leaders need to erase the perceived stigma associated with being a single-parent soldier, raise awareness about single-parent soldiers in their formations and educate those Soldiers about programs that can help meet their needs.

    Tammy Herrera, BOSP liaison, explained that BOSP helps soldiers meet their needs by streamlining information from existing Army programs to help single and dual military parents find the best resources possible when solving problems.

    “BOSP gives single-parent soldiers a place to voice their concerns, get resources they can’t find and build support groups by networking with other single-parent soldiers in the same situation,” Herrera said. “BOSP gives single-parent soldiers a sense of belonging to something bigger than themselves.”

    Hererra emphasized that soldier participation is the key to BOSP. She said soldiers must attend monthly meeting and brainstorm ideas together with their peers, so BOSP can build a support network that meets the needs of all single-parent soldiers.

    Previous brainstorming sessions led to the creation of an emergency contact list for incoming single-parent soldiers that want to enroll their children in on-post daycare here.

    “When single-parent soldiers arrive at Fort Bliss they don’t know anyone,” Herrera said. “We created a list of single-parents that are willing to be an emergency contact.” She said the Soldier picks two names from the list, and he or she can keep or switch the names at any time after making friends here.

    BOSP is a way for single-parent soldiers to come together as a support group and help each other reach their full potential as a Soldier, Carreon said. “I tell Soldiers at BOSP meetings that you aren’t alone. You can still accomplish the mission. You can still have your house in order. You don’t have to be a part of this long-standing stigma.”

    BOSP meets on the second Wednesday every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 1st AD Combat Aviation Brigade Dining Facility, Building. 11316, at Staff Sgt. Sims Street on East Fort Bliss. BOSP has hosted events, such as, visiting amusement parks, bowling, school backpack drives and an end of summer party at Biggs Park here. For more information about BOSP, call 915-569-5500 or visit the Fort Bliss BOSP Facebook page.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.11.2012
    Date Posted: 09.11.2012 19:15
    Story ID: 94533
    Location: FORT BLISS, TX, US

    Web Views: 348
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN