By Rick Musselman, Belvoir EagleNovember 21, 2019
Nearly 40 expectant moms gathered at Fort Belvoir's Army Community Service to attend a special baby shower. The Operation Storks Nest Baby Shower was hosted by ACS and Belvoir Garrison and supported by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Omicron Theta Zeta Chapter; and the March of Dimes Storks Nest program.
Storks Nest is a collaborative community-based program between the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., which encourages pregnant women to get early and regular prenatal care, to help them have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
"The sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, reached out to ACS in hopes that we could partner with them and March of Dimes Storks Nest program to hold this event," said Fran Selkovits, ACS program support. "This is a perfect pairing to be able to extend this care and support to our expectant military moms."
Preparing for new family
"This program is all about providing education and skills in physical care, protection and nurturing for mothers expecting to bring their precious babies into the world," Gray said. "We stress the importance of prenatal care; we wish to enhance strengths these mothers will bring to their new parenting role; and lastly, provide a forum for these soon-to-be moms to exchange ideas, information and resources in support of their present journey through pregnancy, post-delivery and onward."
According to Patricia Belton-Bates, Omicron Theta Zeta Chapter second vice-president, the collaboration will continue on Belvoir.
"This is the first time we've done this event, here," she said, "and we're planning to hold it for many more years to come."
The shower attendees spent the gaining valuable educational insight from several Zeta Phi Beta guest speakers on parenthood and military life; adjusting physically and emotionally to pregnancy; the challenges pregnancy often poses to established relationships; the importance of prenatal and neonatal medical care; and, above all, learning the extent to which Belvoir's ACS is committed to providing the support they'll need as their Families grow.
Volunteers from Belvoir ACS, along with sorority members even prepared a mid-afternoon meal for the attendees. Tonya Griffin, a performance artist and poet, who goes by the stage name, Lyrical 7, delivered new-mom themed verse which turned out to be a highlight of the afternoon's festivities.
A rousing success
"This event's been awesome," said Blu Luther. "We just moved here in July and this is my first ACS event. I've been looking forward to meeting other moms here."
"I think this really great," said Michelle Bracey. "This is the first time I've ever seen a military installation do something like this--especially for women--so it's really awesome. I'm looking forward to meeting other women who are expecting, as well."
"This is my first child and I'm basically alone right now," added Monica Atech. "I'll have my family when I get to my new PCS station, when we'll really celebrate it. So I'm just taking this all in--they have all these free gifts and all the support."
For more information on ACS's array of support services, call 571-231-7001 or visit belvoir.armymwr.com/programs/acs.
For more photos, visit www.flickr.com/photos/fort_belvoir.