Caring for People Forum seeks ideas



by Kelly Deichert
Air University Public Affairs


5/20/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The Caring for People Forum is a venue for members of the community to voice concerns and brainstorm solutions, an opportunity to make a difference at Maxwell-Gunter.

Active-duty service members, spouses, retirees and members of the National Guard and Reserves, are invited to participate from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 7 at Maxwell Elementary School.

Those who are unable to attend can complete a survey and have their opinions heard during the forum.

This is the third year the Air Force has hosted the event. "The forum has been very successful Air Force wide," said Nerissa Keeler, who is organizing the forum at Maxwell. She is the program manager for educational and developmental intervention services, or EDIS.

"It is vital that everyone participates, to have their voice heard about what is going well and what needs to be changed," said April Jones, the family advocacy outreach manager.

The forum invites people from every demographic on base to discuss all aspects and services available in the Air Force. The program empowers them to solve problems in their own community and throughout the Air Force.

"The forum is a cross collaboration with all base partners with full base participation," Ms. Keeler said.

Any topic is up for discussion at the forum. "Spouse communication and special needs issues seem to be hot topics and, of course, deployment issues will be discussed," Ms. Keeler said.

Some of the programs developed during past forums are the key spouse network and school liaison office. The forum was instrumental in revamping the special needs program, as well.

Participants will be divided into 10 working groups, focusing on different fields, including family support, Guard support, school support and health and wellness. Each group will discuss the issues submitted through the surveys and brainstorm solutions.

Subject-matter experts will be available to answer questions and provide guidance.
Some solutions can be implemented at the Maxwell-Gunter level, for example, if someone thinks a facility's hours should change.

For recommendations that need more support, the groups will meet as one large group to vote on 10 initiatives to forward to the major command forum June 24. That meeting will produce initiatives to forward to the Air Force forum in July.

For a copy of the survey, email Ms. Keeler at nerissa.keeler.ctr@maxwell.af.mil. She asks participants to register with her at 953-4953 or the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 953-2353 by June 3, but walk-ins will be welcome the day of the forum.

Supervision will be available for children ages 5-12, including a storyteller from the library and creative art activities. The deadline to register for this service is May 31.