Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Devin Langer, Navy Public Affairs Support Element Detachment Hawaii
PEARL HARBOR - Robyn Modly, the wife of Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly, visited various Military and Family Support Center programs and services onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay during a spouse program visit to Hawaii, in January.
The goal of her visit was to get a first-hand look at how customer-focused programs, classes, and services support active-duty Sailors and Marines, and their families.
The Military and Family Support Center at JBPHH combines the old Pearl Harbor Fleet & Family Support and Hickam Airman & Family Readiness Centers into one organized center, which provides services to the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam community. Modly observed daily operations for some of the programs and services and noted that the Navy as a whole is committed to meeting the multifaceted needs of Sailors and Marines.
“The Navy is open-minded to the definition of family and is open-ended in its resources,” said Modly. “To me, this means that the Navy works hard to support service members whether they are single, or have a family with a multitude of resources to navigate military life.”
To better understand available resources, Modly spent time meeting and speaking with staff and family members at the Center Drive and Laulima Child Development Centers, where she expressed interest in how the centers help ease stress for service members with families.
“The Navy and Marine Corps are made up of a wide variety of individuals with a wide variety of personal dynamics,” said Modly. “It is clear to me that the Navy places a high priority on family readiness. Each [center] had a concise plan for care and a goal-oriented approach to child development, including care for children with special needs.”
While visiting the Laulima CDC, Modly met family members and learned about the center’s day-to-day structure. Her interactions with staff and students left a lasting impression, she said.
“[I was] presented with a fresh lei and a large laminated greeting card from [a little boy] to welcome me to the school,” said Modly. “He had perfect social skills. I later learned that he is typically shy, which speaks volumes about the quality of the teachers and their understanding of child development.”
Both CDCs offer full time and hourly care for children up to five years old and are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for young children, birth through age 8.
Modly also learned about the NAEYC-accredited program ‘Kids Cove’, an overnight child care resource for individuals who work night shifts. Kids Cove enrolls children up to the age of 12.
Modly also spent some time at Mokapu Elementary School onboard MCBH-Kaneohe Bay. There she recognized the importance of having education institutions equipped to support the demanding life-style of service members and their children.
It was obvious that every single staff member has a heart for the heart of a child. After talking to different teachers, she had the sense that they genuinely understood the individual needs of their students, she said.
Mokapu Elementary School serves over 800 military students in grades Kindergarten through sixth, with more than 100 staff members -- to include teachers, counselors, behavioral health specialists, parent community coordinators, and a student liaison officer.
As Modly interacted with members of the community charged with supporting service members, she also learned about financial resources available on base during a stop at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, where she met with employees and volunteers.
“One amazing aspect of this organization is that it is mostly run by volunteers,” said Modly. “These dedicated volunteers feel it is their personal duty to assist the mission of our military. This trustworthy resource is priceless to someone in need.”
During her time onboard MCBH-Kaneohe Bay, Modly received a tour of a new state of the art medical facility that will condense five Military Treatment Facilities into one. It will be a one-stop-shop for dental, behavioral health, radiology, pharmacy, and general medical needs. The facility is scheduled to open in April 2020.
“It will be a major advantage to Navy and Marine Corps active duty and their family members in terms of convenience and efficient use of time,” said Modly, “and will also set a new standard for medical readiness.”
Modly wrapped up her spouse program visit to Marine Corps Family Team Building (MCFTB), a resource that falls under the Marine and Family life umbrella. She learned about the different programs developed to enhance Marine Corps family readiness.
“This is such a valuable program because it fosters the stability of an individual in many areas of their life to build confidence and promote positivity, which helps our people move forward and embrace their life in and around the military.”
For more information about Military and Family Support Center programs and services onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Marine Corps Base Hawaii-Kaneohe Bay visit, https://jbphh.greatlifehawaii.com/support/military-family-support-center, and http://mccshawaii.com/mfp/