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Virtual Fridays provide holistic resiliency programs to military spouses

Five women participating in a virtual, computer meeting.

Key Spouses from around Joint Base San Antonio are staying connected through training and virtual events. Since May 2020, the Joint Base San Antonio Key Spouse program has hosted Virtual Fridays for military spouses each week at 2 p.m.

Women stand near a building with masks on and six feet apart.

Key Spouses from the 35th Intelligence Squadron, 390th Information Operations Squadron, 343rd Training Squadron, 688th Operations Support Squadron, 91st Cyberspace Operations Squadron and the 960th Cyberspace Wing stand together at the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Military and Family Readiness Center Aug. 26, 2020.

Three women with masks standing six feet apart holding unit gear.

Military spouses from the 35th Intelligence Squadron, Whitney Saunders, Jaclyn Bressette, and Aubrea Boyd, participate in Key Spouses Caring for Bulldogs Day at Stillman Park on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The spouses prepared welcome baskets for incoming dorm Airmen, filled and organized Bulldog newcomers packets and folded custom baby blankets for the newest Bulldog pups.

Graphic with a key.

Virtual Fridays' speakers have been from a wide variety of organizations, to include Military OneSource, the JBSA School Liaison Office, Texas Workforce Solutions, Microsoft Technology Academy, Military Spouse Freelancer, and many more.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas --

Since May, the Joint Base San Antonio Key Spouse program has hosted Virtual Fridays for military spouses each week at 2 p.m. The learning experience includes a presentation, followed by a question and answer session.  

“The goal has been to offer relevant, current information,” said Valerie D. Barber, a work/life consultant at the JBSA-Lackland Military and Family Readiness Center.  “We want to support spouses holistically, focusing on topics like resiliency, taking care of yourself, activities and school assistance while homeschooling, how to find employment, and other topics we collectively agree to bring to light to benefit and assist them.” 

Speakers have been from a wide variety of organizations, including Military OneSource, the JBSA School Liaison Office, Texas Workforce Solutions, Microsoft Technology Academy, Military Spouse Freelancer, and many more. The next virtual session will be presented Sept. 18 by Dr. Kendra Lowe, a veteran, psychologist, and military spouse of 19 years, who will discuss military spouse stress and how to combat it. 

Virtual Fridays have been essential to Key Spouses JBSA-wide during the pandemic. 

“I became a Key Spouse at the same time the COVID-19 pandemic started here in the U.S., and Virtual Fridays have been an important tool in teaching more about the resources available to all our wingmen and families,” said Jenelle Miller, Key Spouse for the 90th Cyberspace Operations Squadron. “At a time when resiliency is as important as ever, Virtual Fridays with other Key Spouses give me the feeling of inclusion and sense community that I am missing while social distancing.” 

The virtual meetings are a good way for any JBSA military spouse to communicate with others while staying safe at home.  

“We can schedule a virtual meeting and invite 15-20 spouses and answer their questions or concerns, while encouraging networking among each other,” said Jennifer Wagoner-Gates, community readiness consultant at JBSA-Lackland. 

“In addition to the virtual meetings, the Key Spouse program at JBSA-Lackland creates an informative email each Friday to ensure all JBSA spouses have current information,” Barber said. “The Key Spouse teams at JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston have joined forces to work closely as a Joint Base to support all spouses of all military branches stationed in the area.”   

Key Spouse training opportunities have also continued during the pandemic.  

“The Key Spouse team has ensured spouses continue to receive their monthly, quarterly and annual training by offering all scheduled training virtually,” Barber said.  

The plan is to continue offering virtual opportunities after the pandemic restrictions have subsided.  

“We started Virtual Fridays in an effort to support our Key Spouses and the spouses in their units in a more targeted, spouse-centric way during COVID-19,” Barber said. “Our plan is to sustain these virtual sessions past COVID-19 as an option for spouses to attend training in general.”   

The Joint Base San Antonio Key Spouse program is a commander's program created to enhance units’ family readiness and promote partnerships between unit leadership, families, volunteer Key Spouses, centers, and other installation and community agencies.  

To register for the Sept. 18 session, call 210-671-3722 or email 802fss.fsfr@us.af.mil

(Editor’s note: The mention of non-federal organizations is simply informational and not intended to imply endorsement by the U.S. Government, the DOD, or the U.S. Air Force.)