New program mentoring female soldiers

Shaw Air Force Base (WACH)--Staff Sergeant Cylenia Harvey has been in the military for much of her life. She has seen everything after 19 years in the Army.

Now a new program at Shaw Air Force Base called Sister in Arms is opening her mind even more.

"I pretty much think that I know how to solve a problem or how to go about handling trials. But it is always nice to see a bunch of other people in a giant forum come together and give it from their point of view."

Sear gent Major Tessie Coe helped put the event together. She said it helps women form a stronger bond.

"I was mentored when I first came in. But I was mentored by males. So there were issues that I could not discuss with them. Maybe we can develop some mentoring partnerships with some of our junior soldiers."

Organizers say the program began in September and the first meeting was held at the Operation Command Post in Kuwait.. Thursday's forum was the first at the Main Command Post in Sumter. Lieutenant Colonel Stacie Hatten said this group hopes supporting each other will lead to bigger accomplishments.

"Maybe they still want to be successfully married, get a degree, get promoted. Those things are long term results."

Harvey said she listened to many personal stories from superiors; and knows they have a resource to get advice.

"People are probably at a little more ease after the Colonel sat in there and gave her personal story. I think that most of the females in there are probably more at ease."

A comfort level she said is reassuring to her and hundreds of others who may face similar challenges down the road.