03/06/2013 -- Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Marine Corps Family Team Building recently received a $30,000 grant to help promote a better relationship between the base and its surrounding communities through job placement and volunteer efforts.
The grant, which ends June 30, came from the Georgia Governor’s Office for Children and Families.
Called the Volunteer and Career Development Program, which is paid through the grant, the program is open to retirees, reserve and active-duty service members, veterans and their families with an emphasis on spouses and children.
“When we were contacted by the governor’s office about the grant, we knew we would have stiff competition,” Paula Caserio, director, MCFTB, MCLB Albany, said. “We knew we had to write the grant in a way that made it stand out among the rest and we were very excited when we found out we received the grant.”
MCLB Albany was among three commands chosen in Georgia to receive the grant. The other recipients were Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., and Army post, Fort Benning, Ga.
“The mission is to promote volunteerism among military families with the purpose of enhancing personal, academic and professional skills,” Caserio said. “We believe active volunteer participation is a vital ingredient to future career success and a healthy community.”
Registration is critical because it allows the VCDP to show that there is interest based on the number of participants, and will provide means of direct contact to update participants with volunteer, employment and workshop opportunities that come available, according to Caserio.
Currently there are 26 adults and six students enrolled in the program, she said.
“The idea behind the program is to promote volunteerism as well as connect participants with career development opportunities within the community,” Nicole Onuska, placement coordinator, VCDP, MCFTB, said. “The goal is to facilitate opportunities and encourage involvement by partnering with community organizations and local businesses.”
The program has the potential to be in place for two more years, depending on the amount of participants enrolled in the program by June 30, according to Caserio.
Onuska noted that one of her responsibilities is to promote the program throughout the base and among community business leaders and nonprofit organizations.
“We want the community to see that military spouses are valuable assets because they can offer different experiences and knowledge from being stationed around the world,” Onuska said. “We want the community to see hiring them as a great choice.
“I am advocating for spouses because we have many who are highly qualified and want to give back to the community,” she said. “This will also help them build their résumés and careers.”
In lieu of employment, there are opportunities for volunteering that cater to spouses’ interests and skills, she said.
“The connection between volunteerism and career development is
key because it will help spouses continue to build their résumés and expand their career options regardless if they are paid or not,” Onuska said. “Work is work and volunteering benefits both the individual and the community.”
Onuska said the military community is so unique due to its diversity that it is important to get plugged into the local community as soon as possible.
“Whether you are in the military or a spouse, we have all become accustomed to change,” Rory Silvia, military spouse, said. “Many of us come to a new duty station with skills and time to give but we just aren’t aware of the avenues that are available to us in a new place. The Volunteer and Career Development Program shows our military families the volunteer opportunities available to them within our community, both military and local.
“Through serving our local community we can gain access to a multitude of possibilities,” she said. “Since registering for the program I have gained access to local companies looking to hire, been exposed to networking opportunities here on base, and given chances to serve, not only by myself but with my family. I am really looking forward to the growth of this program and I believe it will become an integral part in MCLB Albany’s presence in the local community.”
“The participants in the program feel it is important to give back to their communities, no matter where they live,” Onuska said. “I feel through this program we can continue to strengthen the relationship between the base and local communities.”
The program offers military spouses:
* Referral and placement with volunteer, intern and mentor opportunities
* Workshops on résumé building, interview skills, customer service and how to build networks
* Free certifications in CPR, first aid, food handling and child care
* Potential job placement within the base and surrounding counties including Dougherty, Lee and Worth nonprofit organizations and business
* Tracking and validating of volunteer hours
The program, open to children ages 13 and older, offers:
* Volunteer, intern and mentor opportunities within the surrounding counties including Dougherty, Lee and Worth nonprofit organizations and businesses
* Workshops on résumé building for college and job applications and preparing for interviews
* Free certifications in CPR, lifeguard, first aid and babysitting
* Tracking and validating of volunteer hours
For more information or to register for the program, contact the placement coordinator at 229-639-7940, through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit its Facebook site at www.facebook.com/volunteermclba.