Sponsors--lifelines for newcomers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eric Summers
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
For a newcomer to Yokota a sponsor can make or break a person's Permanent Change of Station. 

Sponsors are responsible for not only helping a newcomer get to a new base, but also to help them adjust to their new surroundings. 

"Sponsorship actually belongs to the receiving unit commander, they are responsible for appointing the newcomer a sponsor," said Sam Smith, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. 

"At the AFRC we provide a sponsor class to help prepare Airmen to receive newcomers," said Mr. Smith. "We also give packages for the sponsor to send to their newcomer and [the flexibility] to add other items that may be helpful to them."
Mr. Smith also said communication between the newcomer and the sponsor is very important. 

"Within the first 72 hours of being informed that the Airman has become a sponsor the member should contact the newcomer and provide them with several ways to get in contact such as work e-mail addresses, a DSN number and home phone number," said Mr. Smith 

Establishing a good communication link such as e-mail or phone is essential as a sponsor. 

"My sponsor told me over the phone about the differences in culture such as driving on the left side of the road and also put me in touch with housing so I could get that process started ahead of time," said Technical Sgt. Kenar Stinson, assistant non-commissioned officer in charge of force management. "She also told me about the base and answered all my questions, which was very helpful." 

"Sponsors should also, not only take care of the needs of the newcomer, but their family as well. Sponsors should help find out about school and work opportunities for the spouse and children," said Mr. Smith. 

Mr. Smith also stated that once the newcomer arrives on base the duty of a sponsor is still not complete. 

"The sponsor is responsible for helping the person adjust and learn their way around base to [find] places like the BX, commissary, etc.," said Mr. Smith. "It is also helpful if the sponsor takes the newcomer off base to help ease the tension of being in a new country." 

"Sponsors should introduce the newcomer to their organization and help settle into their work place," said Mr. Smith. 

Sergeant Stinson also mentioned how helpful it was when her sponsor offered to take her places that she wanted to go and to her in-processing appointments. She also said it came in handy when her sponsor brought some starter food because she arrived late night most restaurants and stores were closed. 

To help with the transition once newcomers arrive, parents can pick-up child care coupons. These coupons are worth 20 hours of free babysitting at the child development center. 

If you have any questions about sponsorship, call 225-8725.