MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Approximately 90 military spouses crowded Mololani Community Center, May 10, 2013, for the new Empowered Spouses Event, where they received an abundance of tools for success including workouts, healthy snacks, household tips, career planning and much more.
Before the event kicked off, Carla Annichiarico, spouse of the base commanding officer, and Catrecia Lewis, spouse of Headquarters Battalion’s sergeant major, offered words of encouragement to guests.
Various organizations on and off base, including Marine Corps Community Services Hawaii, came together for the five-hour event. Spouses pre-registered for workshops of their choice, and spent much of the morning watching demonstrations, doing hands-on activities and chatting with each other. At each workshop, spouses had the chance to submit a ticket to win a prize. There were also booths in which the spouses could take fun, informal pictures of themselves at the venue, and make personal business cards.
“The heart of the event was to provide exciting, relevant and inspiring workshops for the spouses to take part in,” said Kimm Teruya, a LifeSkills trainer with Marine Corps Family Team Building, and main coordinator of the event.
“I heard feedback that the workshops were benefi cial and exciting, and being able to talk to and interface with programs and resources was valuable. More than that I wanted to create a feel of positivity and self-empowerment, and interconnectedness with one another.”
Spouses kept busy transitioning between a dozen workshops. Some workshops came in the form of presentations, while others were more hands-on. Several of the spouses kicked off the event with a morning yoga session taught by Mandie Guth, who teaches yoga classes at the Armed Services YMCA on base.
Christy Covell was among the spouses who took the morning yoga workshop at the event. Covell recently moved to Marine Corps Base Hawaii and is a yoga instructor herself. She registered for the event for the opportunity to “meet people and get out of the house.”
“Any excuse to get spouses involved with each other is a good idea,” Covell said.
Representatives from the Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Kaneohe Team pushed tables aside and taught spouses a few self-defense moves. Participant Luz Ash said she had never practiced yoga or attended a self-defense class before the event. She said it was an opportunity for spouses to leave their comfort zone.
“It’s awesome,” Ash said of the event. “It’s something I’ve never seen before. It’s perfect for spouses to get together (and socialize).”
Some spouses also shared their experiences with each other during the workshops, like participant Chantal Labrie.
“It’s really good,” Labrie said of the event. “I’m glad I came. I’m impressed. I highly recommend it.”
Other representatives presented useful tips for job interviews, resumes, moving, organizing one’s home, managing fi nances and returning to school.
Just before noon, various organizations including Aloha United Way, Keiki Sitters and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society set up display booths in a mini information fair. Spouses browsed the various displays, chatting with representatives while enjoying refreshments.
The afternoon ended with an hourlong Tahitian Zumba class, led by Erin Young, who teaches Tahitian Zumba off base. Valerie Lacroix attended the Zumba class. She called the event “excellent, nicely organized and prepared.” She originally registered for the event in order to learn self-defense. For Lacroix, the event gave spouses the opportunity to network and fi nd resources that encourage fitness and general well being.
Teruya said she hopes the Empowered Spouses Event will happen annually.
“In the future, we would love to continue providing workshops that are relevant and exciting for spouses,” Teruya said. “Marine Corps Family Team Building continues to strive for the objective of empowering spouses and allowing opportunities to connect.”