2018-03-02 / Front Page

EFMP manager seeks increase in participation

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office

The Fort Gordon Exceptional Family Member Program has nearly 800 members, but absence at events might lead one to believe the number is much smaller.

Dr. Barbara Brown, EFMP manager, is turning to the Fort Gordon community in hopes of maximizing participation.

“I’m trying to build a database so that we can reach out to all of our families because we want to hear what they want to see,” Brown said. “We want to serve you, we want to be your support, and we want to be your advocate for you.”

Brown recently took over as EFMP manager after serving the Fort Gordon community for several years as part of the Financial Readiness team. Serving the military community is a passion for Brown that she plans to grow.

“That’s always been my heart,” Brown said. “We’re here at Fort Gordon to serve.”

EFMP is a mandatory enrollment program for active duty Servicemembers who have dependent family members with ongoing medical, mental health, or special educational needs. The program works with military and civilian agencies to provide “a comprehensive, coordinated, multi-agency approach for community support, housing, medical, educational, and personnel services” to those families.

Families enrolled in EFMP become eligible for an array of services, at little to zero cost, including respite care, ABA therapy, programs such as Babies Can’t Wait, Champions for Adversity, Easter Seals, and much more. Another benefit of enrollment is the option of having an advocate. EFMP staff can accompany parents to meetings that involve their child’s individualized education program in school and help navigate resources available to them.

“If you’re concerned with those, come see us and we will sit down with you,” Brown said. “If you need a support system, come in and get help.”

Recreational activities and seminars exclusive to EFMP families are another important piece of the program. But their success is partly dependent on participation. Up until recently, EFMP hosted support groups twice a month. Due to low participation, support groups will be held quarterly.

“Until we can get an adequate assessment done, this is what we’re going to have to do,” Brown said.

Future recreational events include swimming, bowling, and information seminars. The events are intended to educate and have fun in a safe, carefree environment.

They also allow families to network with others who may be going through the same or similar struggles.

“We have families that are feeling overwhelmed, and they just need a little reprieve time,” Brown said. Connect with other families and know that you’re not alone.”

Brown emphasized that she wants to hear from families so that she can better serve them. To contact Brown, call (706) 791-1918 or email Barbara.a.brown96.civ@mail.mil.

“My goal is to reach out to our families and be their support system,” Brown said.

Upcoming events

• Diabetes Awareness Month – March 13, 5-6 p.m., at the Family Outreach Center.
• EFMP Summer Camp Information Fair – March 20, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Darling Hall, Room 188.
• EFMP Quarterly Support Group – Topic: Autism. April 10, 9-10:30 a.m., at the FOC.
• EFMP Family Bowling – June 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Fort Gordon Bowling.
• EFMP Family Pool Party – July 21, 5-7 p.m., at the Fort Gordon Indoor Pool

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