TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – He wasn’t sure of what he should be doing. After all, his newborn didn’t come with a manual. He wanted to be a good father. He wanted to raise his child the right way, but he didn’t know how. Perplexed by the reality of parenthood, he began to feel stressed.
Maj. Matthew Willerick, 60th Medical Operations Squadron clinical psychologist, was going through his medical residency training when he first discovered the Family Advocacy office at Travis AFB, an office designed to provide a wide range of support to Airmen and their families. Family Advocacy offers several services, including parenting classes and victim advocate support.
“Back when my first child was born, eight years ago, I wasn’t sure how I should be investing my time with my child,” said Willerick. “I felt a little lost, and it was really starting to stress me out. I recalled that Family Advocacy had a class called Boot Camp for New Dads, and I decided to give it a try. It turned out to be exactly what I needed.”
The class provided a foundation for Willerick to build off. During the class, he was able to ask questions about parenting. When his third child was born, Willerick participated in the Love and Logic program which taught him parenting techniques he can apply to every day situations while raising his children. He said he no longer wonders if he’s making the right decisions, and believes he’s giving his kids the best start in life.
This is only part of Family Advocacy’s mission.
“Our mission is to educate Travis AFB about unhealthy behaviors such as domestic violence, child abuse and risk factors,” said Latrise Muchison, 60th MDOS Family Advocacy intervention specialist. “We also host classes on how to prevent and identify these issues to help keep the community as healthy as possible.”
Family Advocacy programs are available to all Airmen and civilian employees assigned to Travis AFB.
“Just last year we had 797 people participate in 51 family violence education and prevention trainings,” Muchison said. “Another 1,960 people participated in the prevention services we hosted. Those included playgroups, classes and outreach events.”
The Family Advocacy office is here to support anyone at Travis who may be struggling with something, said Muchison.
“We are here to support people in their time of need, whether that’s increased stress, assistance with a domestic abuse situation or simply learning how to be a better parent,” said Muchison. “Our business is caring for others and that’s exactly what we do.
“We are here to equip Airmen with the skills needed to deal with mentally taxing situations, so they can be more resilient and push past the hard times,” Muchison said. “We have helped lots of people, and we can help you too.”
For more information about Family Advocacy, call 707-423-5168.