Helping families embrace new normal


Family Advocacy now uses telephones and video chat to offer services such as individual and couples counseling, new parent support program and a domestic abuse victim advocate hotline. They also offer online classes every Wednesday at 1 p.m., mostly centered on parents and families.

The most recent Wednesday class was titled Preparing Your Family for Change. The class came about when parents began asking coronavirus disease 2019-specific questions in other classes.

People are now living in a world different from the norm, said Jeffrey Bright, 86th MDOS Family Advocacy Program intervention specialist. Many have been thinking things will go back to normal, but wing leadership is shifting the conversation toward creating a new normal. Ramstein is not going back to the normal it used to know. The question for many is: “How do we make change a positive thing?”


Mariah Boykin and Jeffrey Bright, 86th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Program intervention specialists, are facilitators for online classes that help families adapt to the coronavirus disease 2019 environment at Ramstein Air Base, May 13. Family Advocacy now uses telephones and video chat to offer services such as individual and couples counseling, the new parent support program and the domestic abuse victim advocate hotline.

Bright and Mariah Boykin, 86th MDOS Family Advocacy Program intervention specialist, designed and facilitated the COVID-19 parenting class.

“The goal of the class is to let people know change is not to be feared,” Bright said. “Change can produce a good thing within our individual progress and within families. If we have the skills to be adaptable, change is something that can be exciting and push us beyond what we thought.”

All 30 spots in the class filled. Parents gathered online for approximately one hour to learn about embracing change and helping children through that process. They covered techniques such as establishing routines, allowing children to be upset when appropriate and communicating with children effectively about this new and unfamiliar environment.

“I think the class was very informative,” said Angela Hall, a parent and class participant. “Especially with having four children at home and my husband being deployed.”

Each facilitator spoke through video chat as their slides showed onscreen. Participants had the option to communicate through text or voice chat and were encouraged to ask questions and interact.

Jeffrey Bright and Mariah Boykin, 86th Medical Operations Squadron Family Advocacy Program intervention specialists, teach the online class Preparing Your Family for Change (COVID-19) at Ramstein Air Base, May 13. Family Advocacy offers online classes every Wednesday to support families in dealing with the unique challenges of the coronavirus disease 2019 environment.

“The biggest thing I learned was that talking to our kids about how they feel, instead of assuming, makes all the difference in the world,” Hall said. “As parents, we think everything comes second nature but in actuality it doesn’t.”

Due to the response to the class, Family Advocacy is likely to offer it again within the next two months. They are also designing other family-focused classes for the coming weeks.

One of the benefits that has resulted from adapting to the COVID-19 environment is that classes are able to reach a broader audience. They have reached as far as Morón Air Base, Spain, and Family Advocacy is learning from that experience.

To find out more about what Family Advocacy offers and to see the latest about upcoming classes, visit the Ramstein Family Advocacy Program on Facebook.