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Car care 101 for Peterson’s MOPS

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – New tires? Oil change? How to jumpstart a car? These were just a few of the questions that moms asked Todd Brown, Firestone Complete Auto Care store manager at Peterson, during a class on basic car maintenance and repair. Mothers of Preschoolers is a social support group that links new and soon-to-be mothers with information, resources and experiences learned from other military spouses about the uniqueness of raising a family in today’s military. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – New tires? Oil change? How to jumpstart a car? These were just a few of the questions that moms asked Todd Brown, Firestone Complete Auto Care store manager at Peterson, during a class on basic car maintenance and repair. Mothers of Preschoolers is a social support group that links new and soon-to-be mothers with information, resources and experiences learned from other military spouses about the uniqueness of raising a family in today’s military. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Basic car maintenance was the theme of a recent Mothers of Preschoolers meeting. Todd Brown, Firestone Complete Auto Care store manager at Peterson gave an instructional class and answered questions about jumpstarting a dead battery, checking the oil and other fluid levels and changing a flat tire. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – Basic car maintenance was the theme of a recent Mothers of Preschoolers meeting. Todd Brown, Firestone Complete Auto Care store manager at Peterson gave an instructional class and answered questions about jumpstarting a dead battery, checking the oil and other fluid levels and changing a flat tire. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Golembesky)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For some military moms, raising a family can create unique challenges at home, but with the support and encouragement of other mothers, it can be a little less stressful.

Mothers of Preschoolers, or MOPS for short, is an international organization with groups throughout the United States with the focus of bringing mothers together to promote mentoring and support.

"We can all learn more and become better parents, better moms, though sharing and encouragement," said Trisha Kollars, MOPS coordinator at Peterson AFB. "We have a lot of new mothers here so they are just trying to learn how... to be a mom; there is no handbook that comes with parenting."

MOPS groups located on military installations are sponsored by the base chapel and provide unique support for military moms that include time for developing relationships through teaching, discussion groups and creative activities.

"It gives mothers an opportunity to come together, support each other and encourage each other," said Kollars. "Sometime it's just about food and fun, a stress relief and knowing you have people to help you."

The Peterson MOPS group began three years ago with only a handful of mothers and over the years has grown to capacity, hosting 50 moms and more than 54 kids in daycare provided by the program.

"The group has really grown. It started out with the primary focus being here at Peterson but we also have moms from Fort Carson," said Kollars. "We service all of the branches and are the only military group in the community here."

MOPS meets twice a month with different themes at each meeting, all with the goal of educating and helping mothers. The most recent topic was auto care and for a good reason.

"This is important; everyone needs to have basic knowledge about their car, understanding what to look for," said Todd Brown, Firestone Complete Auto Care store manager at Peterson AFB. "This way they can take care of it, they don't have to wait until their husband gets back or go to some place where they are going to charge you an arm and a leg to do it."

Brown gave the mothers a short class inside of the Peterson chapel and then they moved outside for a little hands-on experience dealing with an automobile.

"We have some spouses that don't know anything about cars. I was fortunate enough to have grown up around cars, but some moms didn't," said Kollars. "Deployments are tough and things can be very challenging for families. The more prepared we can be with those little things, the more peace-of-mind you will have when your spouse does deploy. It is difficult enough to worry about if we will be able to talk to each other and it never fails, as soon as the spouse leaves something goes wrong. It is a military law of nature."

Checking the oil, how to tell if you need new tires, should you take your car to a local mechanic or back to the dealer, checking air pressure and how to change a flat tire were just a few of the topics covered by Brown during his class.

"We don't want spouses to have to worry when they are deployed or TDY. I know how to check oil, put more fluid in or jumpstart the car --we can handle it and get back to focusing on what matters the most, supporting our spouse and strengthening our family," said Kollars.

When it comes to car problems, a little knowledge can go a long way when you are getting ready to drive the kids to school and the battery is dead or driving off base and getting a nail in your tire.

"All the moms learned a lot here today, that gives them more confidence in handling things on their own," said Kollars.

The Peterson MOPS group is exclusively for mothers with kindergarten age children and younger, including women who are pregnant.

"Our website has all of the information about the group and how to get registered and how to become a member of the group. We run primarily on volunteers; we are always looking for volunteers to help out," said Kollars. "We are currently at capacity for daycare so we can't accept anymore mothers but have started a waiting list on a first come, first served basis."

For information about MOPS and how to join, go to https://sites.google.com/site/militarymopsatpeterson/.

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