Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas --
Four Department of the Air Force installation Airman and Family Readiness Center Exceptional Family Member programs have been selected to host virtual Specialized Training of Military Parents (STOMP) workshops in fiscal 2021.
STOMP is a program that empowers military parents, individuals with disabilities, and service providers with knowledge, skills, and resources, while creating a collaborative environment for family and professional partnerships.
“These workshops are a great way for parents to make connections with other families and network with on- and off-base professionals,” said Yasmeen Butler, STOMP program director. “It’s a great space to learn advocacy for their children and to connect with individuals going through similar situations.”
During the multi-day events, military families will receive eight hours of live, virtual instruction on various topics chosen by EFMP-family support coordinators. Topics will cover a wide variety of material such as: Parents’ Rights and Responsibilities in Receiving Special Education Services, planning permanent station moves and record keeping, individualized education programs, Tricare, Extended Care Health Options, Applied Behavior Analysis, dispute resolution and more.
Travis Air Force Base, California, hosted the first training event in November in 2020; Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, Hurlburt Field, Florida, and Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, will host future events in FY2021. Because training is virtual, parents from any installation can attend.
The next training session, being hosted by Hurlburt Field, is scheduled for February 17-18 and 24-25. Class times and schedules will vary and parents may choose to attend one or all of the sessions depending on interests.
Sessions are led by military-affiliated instructors with EFMP experience who have learned how to navigate through the systems, Butler said. They use their training combined with their personal experiences to help guide and educate the family members.
“We understand the sacrifices military members make,” Butler said. “Our hope is that this program creates a space of learning and advocacy for our military families. We want to help create connections so our families don’t feel alone, and to break down barriers so inclusion exists for all children.”
Much of the information featured in the STOMP workshops will be topics requested by family members from the recent EFMP virtual summit, said Saundra Nichols, operations program manager for EFMP family support.
“STOMP training provides our military parents an opportunity to have questions answered by the experts, as well as find out about other helpful community resources offered by EFMP family support coordinators,” Nichols said. “In addition to STOMP, family support coordinators assist EFMP families by offering numerous in-person and virtual workshops, eCourses, as well as do-it-yourself and in-person educational activities and events.”
The Department of the Air Force will also host two separate one-hour STOMP webinars in addition to the multi-day workshops hosted by installations. Class size will be limited to 250 participants force-wide and topics will include condensed versions of the installation workshops.
For more information on STOMP, to enroll in one of the upcoming virtual workshops or to find out about the availability of community resources for EFMP families, contact a family support coordinator at your local Airman and Family Readiness Center.