Club offers support to newcomers

By Gus Bode

Women age 25 to 45 and new to area invited

Being relocated to Southern Illinois was quite a culture shock for Beth Mansfield Griswold. Three years ago, the Pennsylvania native arrived in Carbondale after her husband accepted a teaching position at SIUC with no one to help her adjust to her new surroundings. Mansfield was shocked to learn that Carbondale did not have a newcomer’s club.

“I had lived in Ohio prior to moving to Southern Illinois and enjoyed it very much. I thought a college community would already have a program such as this,” Griswold said.


Mansfield enlisted the help another area newcomer, Leta Salazar, and formed the club last summer.

“Our first meeting was at Giant City Lodge and we had six members,” Salazar said.

The two women had hopes to provide a group for women, such as non-traditional students, to meet and get to know the area together while forming friendships.

The group meets once a month on Saturdays for activities such as dining out, visiting local wineries and going to a day spa. Since the initial meeting the group has grown to more than 20 members.

“Our members are a very diverse group of people. There are single and married women, some with children, some without,” Griswold said.

The club does not charge dues, and there is no obligation for anyone who wants to come to a meeting to see if it is right for her.

“It is very free-flowing and laid-back. I would encourage anyone to contact me who is interested. This doesn’t obligate anyone in anyway,” Griswold said.


The group expects to have several new members after the fall semester begins. Griswold said the only requirements are that the women are age 25 to 45 and have moved to the area in the past five years.

Salazar said she is glad to be a member, and has enjoyed her experience.

“It has been very helpful to meet other women from other parts of the country who are newcomers to the area like myself,” Salazar said.

For more information, e-mail Beth Mansfield Griswold at [email protected].

Reporter Lena Morsch can be reached at [email protected].