MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. --
Approximately 20 Marine spouses recently attended the Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program held at the chapel annex here the week of Sept. 25.
L.I.N.K.S. is a volunteer, team-mentoring program, designed by Marine Corps spouses. Groups are organized at every Marine Corps installation to assist military spouses.
“It has definitely helped me,” said Kimberly Harper, Marine spouse. “Now I have resources that I didn’t know about before. And I’ve met new people.”
The program offers an orientation to the Marine Corps lifestyle, helping spouses, Marines, children, teens, parents and even extended family members understand and adapt to the unique challenges military life often presents.
“I wish I had this class when my husband and I first got married because I did learn a lot more than what I thought I knew,” said Andrea Hackenberger, a Marine spouse. “I met a lot of good friends and now I’m a lot more knowledgeable about the rank structure. I have a better understanding of the Marine Corps and how it operates. Now when he gets deployed for the second time, I feel like I have a better grasp on things.”
The L.I.N.K.S. class was organized by Julie Wilbanks, Marine Corps Family Team Building, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. She said that this L.I.N.K.S. class incorporated many new ideas offered by previous classes.
“This is our third L.I.N.K.S. class, and it is the largest one we’ve had,” Wilbanks said. “We are building the program. We now have mentors who are stepping up to volunteer to teach some of the sessions.”
The information that the program presents is very beneficial at all levels of Marine Corps experience.
“Every class is different, this class was a lot of fun,” Wilbanks said. “The great thing is that it is mentor-led, for the spouses, and by the spouses. You don’t have to be a new spouse to be here. Even if you have been a military spouse for 10 or 15 years, you can still benefit, meet new people, and learn new things.”
The discussion group leaders are experienced military spouses who facilitate the learning process by using a mentoring style of presentation. The climate is informational, with a friendly structure and format.
“This is my second time taking L.I.N.K.S.,” said Alicia Williams, Marine spouse. “I really like to get to know other women who are going through the same things as me. This was a good refresher on what resources are out there for us.”
L.I.N.K.S. participants here received real life tips, information on Marine Corps culture, and resources to enable them to help themselves and others. Other information was provided on Marine Corps history, traditions, language and acronyms; benefits and services; financial awareness; dealing with separation and deployments; moving tips and effective communication.