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Five & Thrive Expands Guidebook to Include Reserve Families

  • Published
  • By Erica Webster

Family readiness is mission readiness, and military families deserve a quality of life that supports their journey rather than hinder it.

The Five & Thrive initiative began in 2021, headed by Sharene Brown, spouse of then 22nd Chief of Staff of the Air Force, to tackle the top five quality-of-life issues - childcare, education, healthcare, housing, and spouse employment – faced by military families.

One of the biggest challenges many Reservists encounter is access to childcare during Unit Training Assembly weekends.

“It’s a significant challenge for our drilling parents,” said Lt. Gen. John Healy, chief of the Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command commander, during the Air Force Reserve Virtual Key Support Liaison Conference.

“What do I do with my kids? Some are paying upwards of $200 for the weekend because we can’t get qualified professionals to come into the daycare center that would be available to them. This is one topic we’re consistently trying to push. What can we get and how can we do better?”

Difficulties in one area of life can quickly influence another, something which could be magnified due to the complexities associated with the stressors of military life.

To specifically address the nuances of Reserve life, the Air Force Reserve Edition of the Thrive Guide was launched earlier this year. The digital guidebook is a comprehensive resource to support families at all levels and can be accessed anytime.

It is divided into the following sections:
Reserve Life – This section teaches about the Reserve culture, providing specific resources and helpful advice to navigate military life.
In This Together –This section highlights the Department of Air Force resources, strategies to build your support system and resilience resources.
Five & Thrive – This section contains resources to help you navigate five key quality-of-life areas.

“Whether Reservists are serving one weekend a month, on full-time orders, or somewhere in between, the AF Reserve Edition helps families navigate the benefits, tools and resources available to them in all statuses,” said Cathy Healy, spouse of the chief of the Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command commander. “Having this information in one place will empower our Reserve families to thrive throughout their service journey.”

Families are also encouraged to participate in future editions by submitting cover photos or testimonials to highlight the diversity within the Air Force Reserve. The latest edition of the Thrive Guide can be located under the Air Force Reserve Command section of the AF Connect app or by visiting https://www.fiveandthrive.org/thrive-guide.

(Webster is assigned to the HQ AFRC public affairs office.)