We began the new year, 2018, by accepting 5 new members to our club, bringing this administrations new membership total to 16 new members. A membership increase from June 1, 2017 of 44.4%.
Our club voted in the fall of 2017 to change our club year to a calendar year, January through December, in place of the previously used July1 through June 31. This club president, along with the entire executive board agreed to serve an additional 6 months in 2018 so that new leaders could be elected in November and take office January 1, 2019.
Clubwomen and general public visitors enjoyed each month informative and entertaining programs such as –
- Ronda Merryman-Valiye, a diabetes management program coordinator, who spoke about Diabetes and its effects on individuals and the community,
- Paulette Feldman who spoke about Visually Impaired Preschool Services and how the children and families of Kentucky and Indiana are served,
- Ms Patty Weiter who is a psychologist and certified yoga instructor who spoke about stress management techniques and held a short chair yoga session,
- Ms. Laura Ruble, volunteer coordinator from the local Ronald McDonald House Charities who spoke on RMH services to the community and ways the community can support their efforts.
Several workshops were held and well attended by our club members and guests, where mini floral arrangements were created and donated for distribution through the local agency, Senior Care Experts (SCE), to their homebound seniors and those with disabilities who receive SCE’s meal deliveries, and where, 40 smile bags were sewn and assembled for Operation Smile during a session held at the St. Matthews Community Center.
In late 2017, GFWC KY asked each club to participate in a Hollywood Walk of Fame contest to benefit our GFWC KY headquarters, particularly to apply to the facility’s
H-VAC system. Each of the GFWC KY districts was asked to select a clubwoman to: represent their district, dress in costume as an actor, actress, or character currently represented on California’s Hollywood Walk, raise funds to vie for winner, and compete against other districts at the annual GFWC KY spring conference.
Our club rallied behind this cause starting in January 2018, in preparation for the May conference. A “pass the hat” collection was made at our monthly business meetings, while a special fundraiser was held at our annual Derby luncheon, consisting of many mystery gifts won by ticketed drawings. WCSM was able to donate $ 368.59 to our district candidate, Ms. Carol Russell of Shively Woman’s Club, aka Phyllis Diller, who was declared the contest winner at the conference.
Each spring WSCM presents scholarships, and this year was no exception. Five worthy seniors, representing five local high schools, were honored with scholarships totaling $16,000. These scholarships were awarded on May 21, at a special Awards Program and reception for recipients and their parents. The club additionally offered a $3,000 scholarship to an adult woman who is seeking to further her education, after an absence, however, despite advertisement of this opportunity, no applications were received.
This being the 80th anniversary of WCSM federation membership in GFWC, and also the organization of the WCSM, a special reception and program was held at the local Hurstbourne County Club on June 2, 2018. It was well attended by: GFWC KY President Elect Teresa Schmidt, Mayor Greg Fischer of the City of Louisville, Mayor Richard Tonini of the City of St. Matthews, City of St. Matthews Councilman Shaun McKeirnan, Metro Councilman Angela Leet from District 7, four GFWC KY Third District Woman’s Clubs presidents, 29 club members, and several guests.
Our club set a goal, for 2018, to participate in promoting education at our local St. Matthews Eline Library, which is recognized throughout the 18 Louisville Free Public Library System sites as the most visited library, excluding the Main Branch located in downtown Louisville.
The project was intended to enrich the library in a manner to address the library’s patron’s physical and mental needs while visiting the branch, and to commemorate the club’s 80th anniversary.
As it happens, this library had undergone a recent large expansion and renovation which provided the opportunity for the WCSM to contribute.
To address our goal of mental enlightenment the WCSM donated to the library $1,000 for new educational materials, including books.
As an added effort to support the St. Matthews Eline branch of the Louisville Free Public Library system, WCSM clubwomen developed a partnership project with St. Matthews Elementary School (SME) to provide bench seating at the local library for a new outside children’s reading garden area.
The goal of the project was to collect 200 pounds of acceptable plastic caps and lids to be redeemed, along with a monetary fee, for a bench from Green Tree Plastics of Evansville, Indiana, through their ABC Promise Partnership program. Our club well exceeded the goal by redeeming 600 pounds of plastics for three benches for the library, and donated another 576 pounds of excess plastic to three other non-profits, who were participating in similar projects.
Our club continued its $500 monthly partnership donation to St. Matthews Area Ministries, totaling $6,000 yearly, to assist with their food pantry and other children and family services.
Again this year our clubwomen chose to find ways to serve the seniors in our community, concentrating on those seniors who are home bound, possibly with limited contact and interaction with the outside world. To accomplish our goal, WCSM partnered with a local senior service provider, Senior Care Experts (SCE), who provides caring program services, helping seniors stay healthy, safe, independent, connected and maintain dignity in their later years
Several clubwomen volunteered 202 hours of their time with SCE handling tasks such as administrational assistance, or delivering daily meals to homes.
SCE Donations of Food, Personal Hygiene & Material Needs:
A one-day Christmas collection drive among club members was established to donate non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items and material needs; such as lap blankets, winter gloves, hat and scarves. Our clubwomen were abundantly generous. The donated items were enough to completely fill all of the available cargo area and middle seat area of a Honda Odyssey van. It is estimated that the collection delivered to SCE, to be distributed to needy seniors, well exceeded $600 in value.
A makeshift club post office was set up at the club’s annual Christmas luncheon. Clubwomen were asked to bring any holiday cards to the party that they would normally mail to their fellow club members. In place of the USPS postage rate of $0.50, the club charged each member $0.10 per card deposited in the club post office. Cards were compiled and distributed to members at the luncheon and the funds generated, in the amount of $180.00, were donated to SCE to assist seniors with financial needs.
SCE Care Cards:
Care Cards are 3 x 5 white card stock to which the members decorate one side with uplifting graphics and messages. Graphics range from cheerful stickers to small works of personal artistry, while messages range from holiday wishes to everyday greetings. In some instances, grandchildren of club members contributed their time and talents. Care Cards were donated to SCE, in groups of approximately 130, matching the estimated number of daily meals delivered to the SCE clients. In 2018, WCMS clubwomen donated 1392 Care Cards. This represents a 10% increase from 2017. The purpose of this project was to bring a smile and an uplifted spirit to a homebound citizen, and to emphasize that others throughout the community have not forgotten and are thinking of them.
SCE Spring & Christmas Floral Arrangements:
Two times a year, our club members gather for a workshop to create tiny floral arrangements to be distributed by SCE to homebound clients. Throughout the year members collect plastic tops from such items as hair spray, cooking spray, and cleaning supplies. These tops are used as containers for the floral arrangements. Inexpensive artificial flower stems are purchased, along with crafting foam which is cut into small cubes. Throughout the year members donate old floral pieces and greenery toward future workshops. Each two-hour workshop produces about 120 arrangements which are complete with a floral pick relaying a special seasonal message and packaged in individual white paper bags, complete with decorative stickers.
In an effort to support the local Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana, (RMHCK), whose mission is to provide a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving healthcare at area medical facilities, the clubwomen chose to collect aluminum can tabs for donation to this worthwhile organization.
Club members donated 6.5 gallon milk jugs full of aluminum can tabs in 2018, weighing 20 pounds. This represents immeasurable time by clubwomen in the collection of these tabs. After tabs are donated, a RMHCK volunteer takes them to a local recycling center. The recycling center then sends RMHCK a check for the total value. In past years, RMHCK raised almost $3,000 in their pull-tab campaign.
Funds from the sale of recycled pull tabs help support the services of RMHCK so that no one is ever turned away because of their inability to pay. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana, participates in the tab program, as a way to raise awareness about the organization and the services they provide.
To honor our veterans, particularly our women veterans, WCSM partnered with the administration staff of the 7 North Psychiatric Unit for woman veterans, at our local Veterans Hospital (VA), to improve the surroundings of the patients in that unit.
This project was established to meet two goals. The first was to brighten the unit’s surrounding in a safe manner, and secondly to address an ongoing issue of patients congregating in the area of the unit’s exit door. This constant patient assembly made it difficult for staff and authorized persons to enter and exit the unit safely.
The hospital operations administration approved the painting of a mural on the inside of the main door of the unit. A local artist was secured and WSCM provided $110 to purchase all project supplies.
The painted mural is designed to look like a small 2 shelf wooden book case with books and what-not’s on the shelves. Atop the book case appears to have a potted plant, while the existing small door window is painted to appear as a framed mirror. To the left of the door is a piece painted to look as though it is a framed picture hanging on the wall. Photos can be found on our club website at wcsm.org, under the tabs, View What We Do, donations.
This mural brings some color and personality to the patient’s sparse surroundings, as physical wall decorations on the ward are not allowed due to many safety issues. This mural, additionally, helps to disguise the exit door from the patients, deterring them from congregating in the door area or attempting to leave the unit without permission.
In addition to the veteran’s mural, the WCSM clubwomen dedicated $600 to provide the meal at the annual Athena’s Sisters Christmas party. Athena’s Sisters is a local non‐profit women veterans group which creates revolutionary programming and partnerships to advance the mental and physical wellness for all active duty and veteran women. Their focus is on writing and art therapy. Athena’s Sisters mission is mind, heart and body, with justice for all active duty and veteran women.
Approximately fifty veteran women and their families attended the affair. One of our club members, a veteran herself, worked with the group to establish the menu of their choosing and securing the caterer.
Throughout the year our clubwomen collected, contributed to, and volunteered with many worthy organizations including;
- Box Tops for Education coupons from selected products. These coupons are donated to the local St. Matthews Elementary School. In turn, the school submits these coupons to the promotional company to receive cash money for their school at the rate of $0.10 for each coupon. These funds can be used for any purpose that may benefit the school’s student education. In 2018, WCSM clubwomen donated 475 box tops. This amount represents a 21% increase from our clubs 2017 box top donation.
- Our clubwomen once again agreed to focus on the animal kingdom with a concentration on domesticated pets. Through the Kentucky Humane Society St. Matthews shelter staff, and the Louisville Metro Animal website, clubwomen learned that cardboard tubes, mainly left from used toilet tissue and paper towels, were needed by these organizations. These cardboard tubes are a high demand supply that cannot be purchased, but only available through compassionate citizens, who will collect and donate these items used in the care of these shelter animals. Members rallied behind this cause and collected 8816 card board tubes in 2018. This represents an 89.9 % increase from our 2017 campaign. This campaign included 576 volunteer hours, which consisted of collecting, counting, packaging and delivery to the local area shelters. Additionally, in-kind donations totaling $200 were made, including pet leashes, dog collars, pet food, and care products. To meet a high volume need, 33 boxes of used newspapers accumulate by several club members were contributed.
- International conservation, helping the needy throughout the world, is at the heart of the clubwomen who volunteered 261 hours throughout 2018 at Supplies Over Seas, (SOS). This reflects an increase of 50% from the club’s 2017 participation. In addition, our club members have donated usable medical equipment previously used by themselves, family and friends. SOS is a Louisville, Kentucky-based Medical Surplus Recovery Organization, one of just fifteen organizations of its kind across the United States. Twice each month a volunteer group of clubwomen worked a two-hour session at the SOS location, sorting and/or folding various medical items and packaging them, as assigned by SOS staff, on each particular day.
- WCSM clubwomen held a 6-week campaign and collected 274 pairs of new and gently used shoes to be donated to WaterStep, an organization located in Louisville, Kentucky, who provides small water purification systems and training to people in developing countries. In addition, a few members volunteered their time at the WaterStep headquarters. We anticipate that volunteering at the WaterStep headquarters will become an ongoing club participation of community service. Donated shoes not only keeps hundreds of tons of waste out of landfills, but fund safe drinking water projects all over the world — projects that help to save hundreds of thousands of lives each year. To generate revenue, WaterStep sells donated shoes to an exporter, and funds received help bring clean water to those in need. WaterStep receives no federal or state funding and relies on the support from individuals to forward their cause.
On October 22, our club held its annual Open House, at the St. Matthews Community Center, where guests and the general public were invited. Displays were placed around the parameter of the room showing all aspects of our woman’s club. Guest were greeted by club members and escorted from display to display were members provided details and answered questions. Guest were then offered refreshments, where they could sit with members and others for conversation. The event was extremely successful, as four new members joined our club and several potential future members were met.
While all of our members have fun participating in workshops, programs, volunteerism, fields trips and such, it’s nice to just come together for the sole purpose of having fun, therefore, our club members gather several time each year to celebrate times such as GFWC Federation day, Christmas, and naturally in Kentucky, a Derby party is a must.
2018 was a remarkable year for our club and its members. It was a year of club growth, making new friends, deepening existing friendships, serving together in our community and internationally as well, learning, trying new things, and building on past foundations. We are proud of our accomplishments, but look forward to 2019 where we hope to surpass our goals and objectives to make positive impacts for the benefit of others.
Come Join Us for 2019, …. There is more to come…….We are just getting started!