Hearts Apart program brings families together Published Nov. 23, 2008 By Airman and Family Readiness Center ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Separation due to deployment is a common occurrence for today's military families. Although some spouses and families have said 'goodbye' to their military loved one before, it does not make the separation any easier. Sometimes, during separation, families may feel isolated or anxious. The Andersen Hearts Apart program can help to ease those feelings of isolation and anxiety by providing families with valuable services and events. The Airman & Family Readiness Center recently hosted a Hearts Apart dinner for spouses and family members who currently have a loved one deployed. Brig. Gen. Phillip Ruhlman, 36th Wing commander, opened the event by thanking the 43 family members for the sacrifices they make in support of their active duty loved one. He also stressed the importance of the Hearts Apart program because it serves as a support system and an important resource for families while their sponsor is away. During the event held Nov. 6 in the Chapel I Annex, spouses and families enjoyed a potluck-style dinner provided by Readiness Assistance Volunteers and Team Andersen's commissary. The children spent the evening coloring and making crafts to send to their deployed mom or dad. The event provided the spouses with an opportunity to relax and meet other spouses who share similar experiences. Commanders, first sergeants and squadron RAVs also attended the event to interact with the families and offer support and encouragement. The AFRC staff understands separations are difficult, especially when you are located thousands of miles away from family. It's helpful to be around people who are experiencing the same situation. The AFRC staff has a lot to offer the families that are enrolled in the Hearts Apart program and recommends that everyone with a deployed or TDY spouse or loved one participate in the Andersen Hearts Apart group. Hearts Apart Calls Family members of Andersen military and civilians are permitted to make morale calls from home to their sponsor during deployments, temporary duty lasting more than 14 days and unaccompanied remote tours. Give Parents a Break Program This program is funded by the Air Force Aid Society. The AFAS recognizes that U.S. Air Force families are subject to unique stresses due to the nature of military life--deployments, remote tours of duty, etc. In an effort to help families, the AFAS, has agreed to provide funding for child care under a program called 'Give Parents a Break.' The child development center provides the child care every third Saturday of the month. Children 6-weeks-old to 12-years-old are eligible to attend the CDC. Car Care Because We Care Program Spouses of Air Force members deployed over 30 days or on overseas remote tours may receive a certificate for a free oil change and safety check for their primary vehicle. The Car Care Because We Care Program is sponsored by the AFAS. Hearts Apart Events The next Hearts Apart event will be a holiday party in December.