A single mother who serves as a Marine supported women’s shelter in Okinawa

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Cpl. Cristina Rivera, Camp Courtney's Camp Services Office, was certified LOA by Okinawa Prefectural mothers and children family support center April 25, 2016.
Cpl. Cristina Rivera, Camp Courtney's Camp Services Office, was certified LOA by Okinawa Prefectural mothers and children family support center April 25, 2016.

A single mother who serves as a Marine supported women’s shelter in Okinawa

by: Ike Hirayasu | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: April 30, 2016

CAMP COURTNEY, OKINAWA, Japan -- A young single mother donated many baby items to the Okinawa Prefectural mothers and children family support center.

Cpl. Cristina Rivera is a single mother of a 16-month old baby girl and a 22-year-old female Marine who works in Camp Courtney’s Camp Services Office in Uruma City.

Raised in a loving family in New Jersey, she donated a box full of new baby clothes to the support center "Mother's Square Uruhashi" in Uruma City, November 16, 2015.

"My mother sent me a lot of baby clothes for last Christmas but my baby grows out of them so fast and they don’t fit her any longer,” said Cpl. Rivera. “So I've decided to help Okinawan women in similar situations like me."

Cpl. Rivera talked to Mr. Ichiro Umehara, the community relations specialist and her coworker, to explain her desires last November. Mr. Umehara then coordinated with the support center to donate baby cloths.

Cpl. Rivera is completing her two-year tour in Okinawa this month, so she contacted the shelter again to donate more baby items.

Cpl. Rivera said her friend asked her for a baby bed, but she kept the bed to give it to the shelter.

The support center staff came to the Camp Services Office, and gave a surprise gift to Cpl. Rivera.

Cpl. Rivera said "Thank you", and gave them a big smile back.

The young Marine donated a wooden baby bed, a portable baby bed and a box full of baby goods to the support center staff which filled their vehicle.

Col. George G. Malksian, Camp Courtney commanding officer, thanked her for the contribution to build friendship with local community and handed her the latter of appreciation.

Some Okinawa residents criticize U.S. military as "never been good neighbors."

Cpl. Rivera, who showed her affections and support of the single mother’s families in Okinawa, will fly back to the States with her daughter this weekend.