Key Spouse program seeks volunteers

Members of the 914th Airlift Wing Key Spouse Program conduct training in the Airman and Family Readiness Center Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y.  The program promotes individual and family unit readiness while helping to establish a sense of Air Force community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Andrea Pitruzzella)

Members of the 914th Airlift Wing Key Spouse Program conduct training in the Airman and Family Readiness Center Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y. The program promotes individual and family unit readiness while helping to establish a sense of Air Force community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Andrea Pitruzzella)

NIAGARA FALLS AIR RESERVE STATION, N.Y. --

The Key Spouse Program is an official program designed to promote individual and family unit readiness while helping to establish a sense of Air Force community. This concept was discussed during a training session Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Airman and Family Readiness Center here on base.

“The Key Spouse Program is a Commander’s Program and the Commander’s Spouse is the Key Spouse Mentor,” said Joel Smith, Director of Airman and Family Readiness.

According to Smith, each squadron provides a spouse who acts as a liaison between the squadron and other members of the Key Spouse Program. The spouse works closely with the squadron’s first sergeant or superintendent to identify needs of their members and member’s families.

The goals of the program are to establish continuous contact with families, encourage peer-to-peer support and provide links to leadership, which is vital to building strong Air Force communities. Key spouses are also trained to provide emotional and social support as well as information, resources, and referral services to spouses when family members are deployed or away from home for extended trainings.

“The nice thing about some of these spouses, is they’ve been through deployments, they’ve been through extended trainings," said Smith. “Some of them have been with their spouses 25 and 30 years in the Air Force. They have SO much to offer. The knowledge and experience we had in that room was mind blowing.”

The Key Spouse Program added ten more members after Wednesday’s training. They are currently in the process of enlisting men and women to act as key spouses from each squadron on base to participate. There is no formal volunteer commitment to members and they are encouraged to participate at times that are convenient for them.

“Every deployment cycle, we always have families that are struggling, that don’t know where to turn. We can help them,” said Smith.

The Key Spouse Program members meet once a month during the UTA at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. For information on how you can become a volunteer member, please contact a member of the Key Spouse Program at 716-236-2097.