By Kevin JacksonMay 5, 2010
CAMP STANLEY South Korea - They are thousands of miles from their loved ones back home and expecting the birth of children but the 10 mothers to be who gathered at the Pear Blossom Cottage April 29 still reaped the enjoyment of a traditional baby shower.
The expecting mothers - both Soldiers and Family members - who attended the second annual baby shower sponsored by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Pi Eta Zeta Chapter from Seoul, enjoyed a traditional event of food, games and camaraderie. Other sponsors were the Camp Stanley Chapel and the New Parent Support Group.
The sorority made certain that none of the expecting mothers left empty handed. They gave away numerous bibs, caps, t-shirts, teethers, booties, diapers, books about motherhood, a sleeper, a care center play yard, and more through a variety of games and door prizes. The expecting mothers also received a bag containing many essentials needed for newborns.
"Having this baby shower with my second family is awesome," said Arlene Beck, who along with her husband Pfc. Leonard Anthony Beck from the 46th Transportation Co., is expecting their first child - a girl - in July.
"I definitely think this was a big hit and I was impressed with the turnout," said Katie Groseclose, manager of the PBC.
While the expecting mothers were still celebrating, another one who checked into the hospital the previous evening was delivering her baby. Ezra Robert, 7 pounds, 5 ounces, was born to Mitchell and Caitlin Harris at 1:58 p.m. Groseclose and several others visited the proud parents in the hospital to deliver baby shower gifts.
Jaynene Smith, Pi Eta Zeta Chapter president, retired Army first sergeant and a Civilian employee for 8th Army G6, said supporting Families through its Stork's Nest program is important to the sorority.
"To give back to Families who sacrifice and give so much to us is our goal," she said.
Smith acknowledged the gifts were the result of the sorority's fundraisers and donations from the community. She said they intend to step up their fundraising and donations efforts in the future and that "young, single Soldiers are some of our biggest contributors."
Groseclose appreciates the support and partnership. She said more people are coming to the PBC each week because tour normalization is bringing more Families to Red Cloud Garrison.
Beck, who arrived in Korea in October, is a regular visitor. She comes to the cottage about four times a month to attend new parent classes and to socialize with other expecting mothers.
"They are like our extended Family and support system," she said. "They taught me a lot and I feel special to be part of their Family."
While Groseclose has only been on the job for six weeks, she recognizes the important role the PBC plays for Families new to Korea.
"Without tour normalization and command sponsorship, I definitely don't think Families would be happy to come to facilities like the PBC to use their resources," she said. "We're seeing a large number of Families reaching out to get necessities they need so their Families can have a good experience in Korea."
That means more outreach opportunities for the Pi Eta Zeta Chapter, which has worked in partnership with Army Community Services since it sponsored its first baby shower on Yongsan Garrison four years ago. Smith said the program expanded to Camp Humphreys last fall, and they are working to expand to Daegu next year.
"Wherever there are Families, our goal is to do a baby shower in their area," she said.
The PBC delivers a myriad of social support services to spouses and children that include cultural adaptation, homemaking, financial planning and entitlements, stress management, employment skills and healthy Families.