Spouses Forum convenes
January 27, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A new program for Fort Jackson spouses got a snow-delayed start Tuesday. The Fort Jackson Spouses Forum, originally scheduled for Jan. 11, had its initial meeting Tuesday at the Family Readiness Center.
The group is facilitated by Elizabeth Maher, Army Community Services outreach coordinator, who said her vision is to provide an inspirational and motivational forum for spouses and an opportunity for them to socialize, network, resolve issues and engage in fun activities.
"The reason I started this group is because I feel like we need a way to socialize with all the other spouses out there," said Maher, who is an Army spouse herself. "I'm trying to reach out to everybody, especially those (spouses) who are not satisfied."
Maher said she has heard from a number of spouses who are dissatisfied with their situation, and that she encourages those spouses to be involved in the community and take advantage of programs in place.
"We need to empower and inspire (spouses) to become involved and be responsible for themselves," she said.
Forum participants had the opportunity to fill out an interest survey to determine the future course of the group. Maher said she hopes that smaller groups, like a book club or a quilting group, will form to bring together spouses with similar interests. Future meetings may also include short information sessions to brief participants about services available on post.
Shanan Himes, who has been on Fort Jackson since May, said she participated in the forum to help other spouses, especially those who are new to the post or the Army.
"I want to make sure no other spouses feel as isolated as I felt when I moved to Fort Jackson," Himes said.
Maher said the forum is not competing with existing spouses' groups, such as family readiness groups, A.T. E.A.S.E. and Protestant Women of the Chapel, but is an addition to what is already offered on post. She said she hopes the group will provide an additional outlet for spouses to interact.
One of the plans that came from Tuesday's forum - to do volunteer work as a group - caught the attention of Pam Jacobs, who said she is interested in exploring volunteer opportunities in addition to meeting other spouses.
"I'm a big believer in getting out and socializing not only with Army spouses, but (with) other women in general," Jacobs said.
The next Spouses Forum is scheduled for 9 a.m., Feb. 9 at the Family Readiness Center. For more information, call 751-5458 or e-mail Elizabeth.Maher@us.army.mil.