Five and Thrive Empowers Air Force Families

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Killian
  • 6 ARW PA

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — On a sunny Wednesday morning at MacDill Air Force Base, the Five and Thrive program took center stage during Phoenix Rally Week.

The Five and Thrive initiative, created by Sharene Brown, spouse of the 21st Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. is tailored to address five critical areas impacting military family readiness and resilience: childcare, education, healthcare, housing, and spouse employment.

After launching in 2021, the initiative has quickly become a beacon of support, demonstrating the Air Force's commitment to nurturing both the individual and familial needs of its service members.

During Phoenix Rally, a weeklong event where Air Mobility Command leaders came together to discuss AMC’s capabilities and improve readiness, Anne Parker, a member of the thrive team, detailed the tangible resources Five and Thrive offers, such as the Thrive Guide. This guide is a comprehensive toolkit designed to empower military spouses with essential information and support across the initiative’s five focus areas.

"We each have to reach out to the people who are in our circle and try and connect," Parker explained, underscoring the program's community-centric approach.

“We’ve created the Thrive Guide to help leaders share available resources easier,” said Laura Browning, Five and Thrive director of communications and design. “These guides are key to helping military families thrive, hence the name.”

The discussion at MacDill AFB was not just a presentation, but a dynamic interaction with local military spouses, encouraging them to share their experiences and seek solutions together. Parker noted, "It's about reaching out within our circles and connecting on a personal level. We can't just sign a memo and expect to meet everyone's needs—we need to work together as a community."

From improving access to quality childcare to facilitating spouse employment opportunities, the initiative has made significant strides in enhancing the overall wellbeing of families, thereby directly contributing to the readiness and effectiveness of the force.

As Five and Thrive continues to expand, the program’s goals remain clear: to strengthen the bonds within Air Force families, enhance mission readiness through family readiness, and ensure that every family member feels valued and supported. With leaders like Sharene Brown and Ann Parker steering the conversation, the future looks promising for enhancing the quality of life for Air Force families across the globe.