AFPC Airmen help bring life to downtown children's center
/ Published July 30, 2008
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
When the Bexar County Family Justice Center opens its new child therapy center Aug. 5, it is only fitting that two big-hearted Airmen will be there to cut the ribbon.
Senior Master Sgt. Carianne Melnick and Staff Sgt. Aidaliz Lagueux, both of the Air Force Personnel Center here, remember when the facility was almost bare. However, because of their generosity and more than 40 combined volunteer hours, that has changed.
"Without Carianne and Aidaliz, we would have just had basic desks and chairs," said Meera Ballal, the justice center's executive director. "Because of their efforts, we have a puppet theater, tons of art supplies, bean bag chairs, pillows, chalkboards and more. They went way beyond just volunteering; they brought the facility to life."
Sergeant Melnick, who also donated a furnished dollhouse the counselors can use for child therapy, said their goal was to make the facility comfortable, yet fun for children "so they can spend time with their families while they received needed assistance. We basically wanted them to have a first-class work area that was fun and functional for the therapists and for those they help."
Members of Randolph's Women's History Month Committee, with help from various base organizations, originally held an art drive to help the burgeoning children's area; however, when that designated month in March ended, Sergeants Melnick and Lagueux took over.
Sergeant Lagueux, who painted six wall murals for the facility, realized at the time that "there was just so much more that needed to be done. Thankfully, with financial help from various Randolph organizations, we were able to get the needed furniture and equipment."
The two received donations for their charitable project from AFPC Top 3, Air Force Services Agency, AFSA Top 3, 12th Logistics Readiness Division and several other benevolent individuals.
"Because we're a slim operation, the help we received from Carianne and Aidaliz was critical," said Ms. Ballal, whose justice center provides legal and social services for victims of family violence. "Our city's children will reap the rewards of their hard work for years to come."