CAMP ZAMA, Japan (Aug. 7, 2020) – Lucinda Ward, school liaison officer for U.S. Army Garrison Japan, wants to make sure everyone in the community stays informed during the upcoming school year.
To make that happen, Ward plans to launch her “Be in the Know With the Camp Zama SLO” initiative at 10 a.m. Aug. 10, which will consist of daily informational segments on the Camp Zama Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Facebook page.
“It will be on Facebook Live every day,” Ward said. “It’s just 60 seconds. One minute of your time is worth it, to learn different things we have going on here that parents might not have known.”
Ward’s initiative is one in a long line she has helped establish for the Camp Zama community since she arrived here from Yongsan, Korea, almost exactly one year ago.
Since then, she has spent time not only helping the school community, but also heading the Camp Zama FMWR Community Immunity Team, which helped improve morale during the installation’s previous COVID-19 Health Protection Condition C restrictions this spring.
The team had 10 members, and they met almost every morning via Facebook Messenger, Ward said.
In the three months they worked together, the team came up with 175 ideas and implemented about 100 of them, Ward said. Some of her favorites included the Easter Egg Sling, the Easter Rock Hunt, Zama Garden Television and an online pet contest.
“Hopefully we can see [some of those events] continue, even though we might not be in the strict [HPCON C] that we were before,” Ward said. “But even if we’re in [HPCON A], there are still some of the events that can probably continue to go on because the community loved them.”
The past year was her first as a school liaison officer, Ward said, and she has enjoyed the position and working at Camp Zama.
“I love the dynamic that’s here in the workplace,” Ward said. “I love how it’s really family. Honestly, the people who you work with you can actually call your family.”
Ward said she has worked for the Department of Defense for 20 years, starting as a family child care provider when her children were young and then working for FMWR Child and Youth Services when her children began attending school.
Before coming to Camp Zama, Ward was the director of a School Age Center, but she has worked in a variety of CYS positions, including youth sports.
Ward said she enjoys working with children because they hold nothing back and are honest.
“When you’re working with children, you don’t know what you’re going to get from day to day,” Ward said.
As the school liaison officer, Ward helps students transition between schools; connects students with student sponsors; assists with information about college; keeps communication going between the command group and the schools; and oversees the Partners in Education program, which links Army units with local schools.
Although Ward used to do a lot of her job in person, due to COVID-19 restrictions, she does most of her work via computer these days and meets with people online.
Ward said she is creative by nature and enjoyed heading the Community Immunity Team because it allowed her to exercise her creativity.
In addition to her job, Ward said she spends her free time sewing, making jewelry and designing clothes. She sewed the sashes, for example, for the Zama Middle High School royal prom court, which held a modified, socially distanced crowning ceremony at the school May 29.
Ward is the 10th of 12 children in her family, and said she learned how to sew because her mother taught her and her six sisters every Saturday.
Her mother would lay a table with food, bring out fabric and patterns and they would spend hours sewing, Ward said.
“That was like our girl bonding time,” Ward said. “It just stuck with me.”
Ward has also published two books: One is a book of poems in English and Spanish for preschoolers called “I’m Perfect Just the Way I Am,” and the other is “The Real Adventures of Carly and Sam,” which is a chapter book for older children based on the game “Two Truths and a Lie.”
Ward said she looks forward to helping members of the USAG Japan school community during the upcoming school year, and she encourages people to contact her for information.
Ward works in the Army Community Service building Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and her phone number is (DSN) 315-263-5441, or (COMM) 046-407-5441.