Creating Lasting Impacts on Warriors & Families Published Aug. 21, 2020 By Bianca Soto Air Force Wounded Warrior Program JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Tex. -- The Wellness and Resiliency (WAR) team have introduced a new event that is driving Warriors and their families on their feet; grooving to a brand new beat. Community In Motion, or ComMotion, made its debut during the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program Virtual CARE Week and introduced Warriors to a new form of therapy through dance and movement. ComMotion provides people of all ages the opportunity to experience the physical and emotional benefits of dance and movement with online classes and workshops through local organizations. They facilitated over 350 dance courses and taught over 10,000 individuals, including military veterans, cancer survivors, seniors, people with disabilities and children. “We're always researching various evidence-based therapies and holistic forms of healing to assist staff, warriors and their families,” said Armando Franco, Wellness and Resiliency Program manager. “Dance therapy has been proven to have a variety of health and wellness benefits.” Dancing evokes relaxation, the opportunity to have fun, learn new social skills and connect with other people. It not only creates a new social hobby for Warriors, but teaches them a new mindfulness, self-healing technique. “I felt really good once I was able to disconnect from everybody else and my own thoughts,” said Airman 1st Class (ret) Kindra Stewart, AFW2 Warrior. “I’m not a dancer at all and have zero connection with my own body and how it works; however, I trust the research that has been done on stored trauma and the ability to release it through movement as its own form of therapy.” During a time where homes have become the new vacation destination and living rooms have turned into classrooms, dance therapy is just one of many resources Warriors, and their families, can utilize together. With schools going virtual and more children residing at home, families are seeking resources that will help them manage their new homeschooling environment. “The Caregiver Program team is always looking for benefits, entitlements, resources, and opportunities that will improve the quality of life for our Caregivers and their families,” said Tonya McGough, Caregiver Program manager. “One aspect of our mission is to focus on ways to broaden the caregiver network within and outside the Department of Defense/Air Force. Whether it’s educating caregivers on new programs or updating them on changes to current programs; we believe that knowledge is power.” During the Virtual CARE Week, Caregivers had the great opportunity to meet with subject matter experts to learn about the educational resources that are in place to assist families as they face a new kind of school year. Their biggest takeaway was to connect with the School Liaison Officers and use them as a primary resource to navigate through this time of uncertainty. School Liaison Officers are located at every military installation worldwide and serve as the primary point of contact for school-related matters for grades Pre-K-12. They assist and support military families with any school related issues by collaborating with community stakeholders; coordinating with local school systems; forging partnerships between the military and schools; and constructing a network of resources to help families overcome obstacles. “I wish I knew this information when my kids were growing up,” said Glenda Leary, AFW2 Caregiver. “We felt lost when our kids were going to middle and high school in a non-military community. This information is amazing!” For more information on family and education services, email AFPC.DPFWS.Caregiver@us.af.mil, and the Caregiver team will connect you with resources. For more information on how to participate in a ComMotion dance class, visit https://www.commotionnc.org/, and start your dance therapy today. Visit the AFW2 Facebook page to tune in to the virtual events taking place and come interact with our warriors and staff members. To learn more about the AFW2 Program, or to refer an Airman, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil for additional information and resources.