L.I.N.K.S. expands to Marines, children

24 Oct 2008 | Lance Cpl. Elyssa Quesada

According to Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, family goes further than spouses; Lifestyles, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills now offers new classes for children, teenagers and Marines.

It doesn’t matter if you have been a part of the Corps for five months or five years, you always learn something from attending L.I.N.K.S. classes, Conway added.

Throughout a two-day class, the lesson plan of the course touches on the challenges of deployments, Marine Corps traditions, military jargon, moving and more.

“The new courses are not just for the spouses now,” said Erica Reidy, a mentor for L.I.N.K.S. “It’s for the Marines, children and teens to be aware of the benefits available to them.”

“The L.I.N.K.S. program is a type of acculturation class started because volunteer spouses took the responsibility of sharing knowledge and information with new spouses on any military installation,” said Julia Gwynn, a L.I.N.K.S. program trainer.

“It’s especially designed for the Marines because they don’t know what they have readily available for their family,” Reidy said.

Some tools available include relationship building, personal and professional empowerment, goal setting and financial aid.

 “I recommend that every time you change duty stations you sign up for a L.I.N.K.S. class, because some benefits may change with each station,” Reidy said.

Whether as a participant or a mentor, those interested in attending classes can receive benefits like raffles for various give aways to child care and gas reimbursement.

The classes are held in the Marine Corps Family Team Building office for Marines and spouses, and at the Laurel Bay Youth Center for children and teens.

Additional organizations, such as the Installation Personnel Administration Center, Tri-Care, housing and more, conduct briefs for couples and families to ensure that they are aware of the help available to them and their families before deployments.

“We are always looking to recruit new mentors and trainers,” Gwynn said. “If there are any seasoned spouses that would like to give back to the L.I.N.K.S. program, we could always use them as a mentor.”

For more information about L.I.N.K.S., contact Gwynn at 228-6141 or your squadron’s Family Readiness Officer.