POTFF offers mentorship

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrea Posey
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
The Preservation of the Force and Family team is raising awareness of the importance and impact of mentoring in honor of National Mentoring Month.

POTFF is a U.S. Special Operations Command initiative that identifies and implements solutions to improve the wellbeing of special operations forces and their families.

“Mentorship is a relationship between two individuals based on a mutual desire to work toward goals,” said Christina Herr, a coordinator with POTFF Community Programs and Peer Network. “Mentorship provides different perspectives and values which can offer greater clarity on life and career choices.”

For POTFF representatives, improving resilience and mentorship goes hand-in-hand as mentoring can strengthen social links which apply to any of the Air Force’s four pillars for Comprehensive Airmen Fitness: social, psychological, spiritual and physical.

“Being a mentor helps both the mentor and the person being mentored,” Herr said. “Social fitness is the ability to engage in healthy social networks that promote overall well-being and optimal performance. Social support has been shown as a mechanism for reinforcing positive behavior changes.”

For April Crooks, a Peer Supporter mentor with the Wing Staff Agency, being a mentor is a rewarding experience.

“I wanted to become a mentor to be able to help others who may have struggled in their lives be able to see that there are positives that can come out of hard times,” said Crooks. “There is also the fulfillment you get in knowing that you have been able to plant a positive seed in someone else's life.”

The benefit for Airmen having a mentor, for Crooks, is having someone who can offer guidance, lend a helping hand, be a listening ear or show a moment of clarity when things get difficult.

“For me, I remember people in my life who have offered solid advice, words of encouragement or just told me that things would get better,” she said. “Knowing you have others there who you can reach out to can make a difficult time a little easier.”

For Airmen interested in becoming involved with mentoring programs, POTFF has many opportunities for Airmen to find or become a mentor like the Peer to Peer program.

This program, overseen by Community Programs and Peer Network Coordinators, provides training and assistance to volunteers to enhance their skills and knowledge with the common goal of providing peer support within their networks. It also allows the CPPNCs to connect those looking for social support with a trained mentor. Each CPPNC offers a unique program that suits the needs of their supported units.

“I like to let my units know that peer supporters are Air Commandos with additional skills to help them be more effective wingmen,” Herr said. “This is not an additional duty because peer support happens every day naturally. It is a formal program with the goal of enhancing the social support and resilience skills of unit members and their families.”

Additionally, the Airman and Family Readiness Center provides mentor training for some of the off-base youth mentoring programs and publishes a newsletter with mentoring opportunities. The Hurlburt Field Resilience Center offers courses such as LivingWorks, safeTALK, applied suicide interventions skills training and resilience training assistant.

To learn more about mentoring programs through POTFF contact Christina Herr at (850) 884-7549.