By Katie Glover, USAG Bavaria Army Community Service
VILSECK, Germany – Community support of families, soldiers and civilians plays a vital role in readiness of our military.
On July 25, Army Community Service, the cornerstone of community support, celebrates its 54th birthday and its impact on U.S Army Garrison Bavaria. The program offers many services including soldier and family readiness, financial readiness and family advocacy.
“For 54 years, ACS has been there for Soldiers and families, enabling unit and Army readiness around the world,” said USAG Bavaria ACS Chief Mark Moll. “During FY19 USAG Bavaria ACS has provided classes, trainings and briefings related to readiness to over 32,000 soldiers, civilians employees and family members.”
The backbone of readiness is the Army Volunteer Corps, or AVC, which currently has over 700 active volunteers garrison-wide. The USAG Bavaria program joins our local nation with the volunteer community, and boasts 310 organizations.
“The AVC links multiple organizations together by creating a unified identity and support system for all volunteers,” said Kenitha Woodhouse, who has been an integral part of ACS for 2 years. “Volunteers help build a sense of community, increase self-reliance and assurance, and ensure cohesion throughout the garrison.”
The most well-known program in ACS is the Army Emergency Relief. The AER program provides no-interest emergency loans or grants to retirees, active Soldiers and their family members and surviving spouses. In addition, AER supports undergraduate scholarships for family members. AER’s newest category of assistance is a new child car seat grant program.
“This year, at the end of June, $216,599.12 has been used to assist more than 245 Soldiers, retirees and their families,” said Mary Cron, program manager for AER in USAG Bavaria. “The 2019 campaign raised $50,226.26.”
ACS also has a variety of workshops and tools to help families improve the quality of their day-to-day lives, or to assist with larger issues that may be impacting home life.
“Families looking to build on their skills as a parent or to enrich their marriage, may come to the Family Advocacy Program to participate in several of our free workshops,” said Denise Link, Program Manager of the Family Advocacy Program. “Services are also available to victims of domestic violence through the support of one of our victim advocates.”
Over the past 54 years, ACS has expanded its ability to improve readiness by offering a variety of programs, including programs to support exceptional family members, Soldiers and families wanting to improve financial readiness, spouse employment, relocation needs, and additional unit programs.
“We assist with adaption to Germany and the Army culture overseas,” said Manuela Knight, an information and referral specialist, who has worked at ACS for over 14 years. “Every day is a new adventure and I love every minute of it.”
ACS offers its services throughout USAG Bavaria, with offices on Rose and Tower Barracks, Hohenfels and Garmisch. To sign up for classes, appointments or events go to ACSBavaria.CheckAppointments.com. Victims of domestic violence may also reach out to a victim advocate through the 24 hour on-call phone at 0162-296-0661.