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Group helps women adjust to home life

February 14, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - After Sylvia Geiman left the workplace to raise her children, she missed the companionship of her fellow co-workers.

As a mother, she enjoys the time she spends with her children, a son, 7, and daughter, 4, and her husband.

But sometimes, she misses the companionship that fellow workers provided when she was a computer specialist with the U.S. Treasury Department.

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"When you stay at home after working several years like I did you feel kind of isolated being home with the kids all day," Geiman said.

So last year, Geiman formed a local chapter of FEMALE, a national organization for women who had worked but left their careers behind to raise their children.

"There was nothing in this area for women who put their careers on hold to raise their kids," Geiman said. There are about 130 chapters nationwide.

Geiman said she heard of the organization through a parenting magazine.

She contacted the national office and then got in touch with a regional coordinator.

She was interviewed by officials from the national organization and was given the right to start a chapter, the first in Jefferson County.

"I remember my very first meeting thinking, `Oh God. No one is going to show up,'" Geiman said.

But five women did and since then the Jefferson County chapter has slowly grown. It currently has 10 members, eight from Jefferson County and two from Berkeley County.

They meet twice a month, the second and fourth Thursday, in the evenings at St. Agnes Church's parish hall in Shepherdstown.

The group also goes on outings, from having dinner out at a restaurant together, to attending a play during the Christmas season.

"It's nice to just go out and talk, just a chance to get away and talk about everything, like you would if you worked," she said.

Debbie Royalty left her career as a social worker to raise her two children, a 6-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.

She joined FEMALE last year when the group started.

"It's a good way to meet mothers in the same situation," Royalty said. "It gives you a little time away to meet with adults and discuss similar problems."

Royalty said sometimes the women discuss problems with the children and they share ways to solve them.

"It's like having a business meeting and getting together to share similar situations," Royalty said.

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