2019 was a new start for GFWC KY Third District Woman’s Club of St. Matthews, who would soon be celebrating its 81 years. Not just because it was January, but because the club had adopted a new calendar year for our club, January through December, and 2019 would be the first full year using this format.
The club year was new, however, the members were well organized and ready to make this year full of education, service to community, and fun. January was already well planned, as 20 club members, along with 2 guests, were enlighten by a program, where St. Matthews Police K-9 Officer Wayne Kaufman spoke on the drug epidemic and related crimes that are in all communities, both local and throughout the United States. No community is immune, and our club members were interested in ways that law enforcement combat daily, and clubwomen, as citizen, can participate in the fight against drugs. Officer Kaufman brought along Maxie, his K-9 partner, and gave a demo of Maxie’s ability to locate hidden drugs.
Our club was informed of the proposal for the GFWC KY 4th district, to join 3rd district, to become GFWC KY 3rd/4th District. Club members agreed that this was an excellent plan and they would welcome in our sister clubwomen. It was approved that WCSM Club President, Mary Jo Nay, would send a letter to 3rd District Governor, Rochelle James, affirming our club’s approval of the proposal.
As it was the first month of the year, clubwomen agreed that our yearly collections of items such as cardboard tubes for animals shelters, aluminum tabs for the local Ronald McDonald House Charities, recycled greeting card fronts for St. Judes’ Ranch for Children, Box Tops for Education for the local elementary school, used shoes for WaterStep, and plastic caps for mini floral arrangements would continue.
Our twice monthly volunteering would remain for Supplies OverSeas, to sort and pack recycled medical supplies, and many members additionally planned to explore helping at the local WaterStep organization, where they would be sorting shoes used to finance water treatment units for third world countries.
It was appropriate that our monthly business meeting’s Thought for the Day was, “Achievement seems to be connected with action, Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes but they don’t quit” Conrad Hilton. This is indicative of our clubwomen.
February weather may have been cold but our clubwomen were hot to move forward with club activities. We held the first of two workshops to create mini spring floral arrangements for seniors and shut-ins, which are delivered by Senior Care Experts with their daily in-home meal deliveries. A welcomed blast of color to shake off the waning gray days of winter. Mini Florals? 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 many arrangements which are complete with a floral pick relaying a special seasonal message. Each is packaged in individual white paper bags, complete with decorative stickers. In 2019, our club collectively donated 319 arrangements. We know that these creations are valued, as we have received thank you notes from recipients expressing their appreciation.
Our WCSM International Outreach chairman, Rochelle James, shared with the club her plan for raising funds for Heifer International with themed lunches after each monthly business meeting, beginning in March. Members were excited to be sharing time with each other over a meal, while supporting a very worthy organization. How true the monthly Thought for the Day was, “If you fail to plan….you are planning to fail”. Benjamin Franklin
March didn’t fail to come in like a lion and out like a lamb. Our club was highly praised with a certificate by Ms. Natalie Bonura of WaterStep for our 2018 collection of shoes for their organization and our continued support for their cause.
To respond to happenings in the community, clubwomen “passed the hat” and raised $118 to create a gift basket for auction at the Officer Jeremy Meyer’s family benefit. City of St. Matthews Police Officer Meyer’s had suddenly passed with cancer, leaving a wife and small child. Club member Beverly Potts reported that she created 2 gift baskets for the auction where the proceeds’ more than doubled the expense at the benefit. In addition, it was announced that the 2019 Miss Kentucky USA winner was Miss Jordan Weiter who was born, raised, and lives in the City of St. Matthews. She would be representing Kentucky, and St. Matthews, as she would be vying for Miss USA, later in the year. Miss Weiter is the true meaning of ‘hometown girl”. Our club donated $100 to assist Miss Weiter as she travels the state representing Miss Kentucky USA, and of course, St. Matthews.
We welcomed another new member, bringing our new memberships to 3 for 2019. As Valentine’s Day would be this month, several members created special Valentine’s Day Care Cards, which 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. As an addition for 2019, our club president introduced a ”Step Up Challenge” asking members to create Care Cards for little known national holidays and attach a candy treat to each card, representative of the particular day, if possible. These Care Cards are disturbed through a Senior Care service to home-bound seniors, as an assurance that those seniors have not been forgotten.
Federated Arts Chairman, Ms. Fran Evola planned our monthly program for March which was a fun workshop where 27 clubwomen and 3 guests were provided paints, canvas, and instructions to paint an Iris, the WCSM signature club flower. Participants demonstrated their personal creativity and artistic expression, as each masterpiece reflected the Iris that each had imagined it to be. The workshop atmosphere was abundant with mutual encouragement and fellowship, a unique opportunity to laugh and enjoy conversation with one another. The event not only produced a garden of Irises, but as a result, 2 of the guests stepped into membership with our club.
No time was wasted in April, as the club moved forward by welcoming new club members and in serving and supporting our community. 10 WCSM club members participated at the GFWC KY Third District Louisville Mayor’s Give-A-Day event, held a Beechmont Woman’s Club. In all, 30 GFWC KY 3rd District clubwomen met to fill gift bags with club donated items to present to local nursing home patients. Mayor Fischer even stopped in during the event to paint rocks and commend the clubwomen’s efforts.
In mid month, WCSM, in partnership with the City of St. Matthews government, held a Community Forum at the St. Matthews Community Center to inform the general public about the new REAL ID licenses being issued to drivers by the State of Kentucky. Over 40 people attend and WCSM provided refreshments.
Officials from the Circuit Court Clerk’s office attended the event to present the specific requirements for issuing the new driver’s licenses and to answer questions.
Volunteers with the Circuit Court Clerks – Trust for Life organization attended the Forum. These volunteers answered questions about becoming a registered organ donor, and how the new driver’s licenses will affect driver’s registrations on the organ & tissue donation list, at the time of issuing the new licenses. As this was National Organ and Tissue month, our club donated $25 to support the good work done for this very special cause.
A fun event rounded out the month with a combination club birthday celebration and Kentucky Derby luncheon party, complete with games and prizes. Kentucky Derby, an event celebrated like no other, where a 2 minute horse race inspires more than 2 weeks of special activities. Our clubwomen know how to combine 2 goals at once, so a built in fundraiser, for a designated charity, was implemented in the event. . In 2019 we sold chances for 4 themed gift baskets, and special Win-Place-Show jackpots. Everyone had a great time, some left happier than others with their successful prizes, and best of all the big winner was the charity, Hildegard House, with a $300.00 donation. True to our monthly Thought for the Day which was “No one ever became poor by giving.” Anne Frank.
So they say, April showers bring May flowers, so naturally May was busting out all over with a bouquet of excitement for the GFWC KY State Convention in Lexington. Our own member, Ms. Teresa Schmidt would become GFWC KY President Elect, to take Kentucky office in 2020. Additionally, many WCSM members had participated in the GFWC KY 3rd District Arts, Crafts, and Photography contest in September 2018, with a total of 62 entries, and brought home a fair share of award ribbons. Of the 3rd District awards, 13 were for first place. These entrees would be entered in the State Convention Arts, Crafts and Photography contest. As a result, WCSM clubwomen took home 12 state awards, including a first place for Photography Living Things that was entered in the GFWC International contest. WCSM scored 114% on the GFWC KY Score Card, was awarded first place in community service projects for International Outreach, second place for Conservation, Education, International Outreach – Operation Smile, third place for Membership Advancement, Suicide Awareness & Prevention, Website, and received the Creativity Award for our work with veterans and a local community service provider, St. Matthews Area Ministries. In support of our GFWC KY headquarters, our club created and donated a gift basket valued at $150 towards a conference fundraising auction. The total raised for headquarters from all gift baskets donated was $2,011.
WCSM clubwomen attended the reopening and dedication of the local St. Matthews Eline Library, which had undergone a 9 million dollar expansion and renovation. Our clubwomen had partnered with the local St. Matthews Elementary in 2018 with a plastic caps for benches project, where the benches would be donated to the new library. Our members attended the library celebration where 3 benches, as a result of our project, were located in the library’s Children’s Garden for all library patrons to enjoy. In addition, WCSM had donated $1,000 to the library project to be used for items needed in the children’s book area. As a result of our plastics project, WCSM clubwomen continued to collect beyond our quota of plastic and donated an additional 601 pounds of accumulated approved plastic to 2 local public schools and 1 area GFWC KY sister club in support of their projects.
Yearly, our club awards scholarships, and 2019 was no exception. The Scholarship Program of the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews (WCSM) is an Education Program providing scholarships to one senior from each of 5 local high schools. In addition, a scholarship is offered to 1 adult woman who is going back to school in order to gain employment or to develop and advance her employment opportunities.
The club budget in 2019 for scholarships was $18,000, which allowed for a $3,000 award for each recipient. In addition, a club member, whose husband passed away in 2018, had asked for donations to the adult scholarship fund in his memory. Due to her generosity, an additional $380.00 was awarded to the adult recipient.
The WCSM scholarship program in a comprehensive process, with a clearly written standardized scoring method created to promote fairness in award selections, to be free of personal bias or possibility of nepotism.
On May 20, recipients and their parents were invited to attend a reception to be recognized and awarded scholarships. 38 club members along with 12 guests participated. One of the high schools allowed a club member to attend their awards ceremony to present a scholarship.
At the request of the administration of the Rex Robley Veteran’s Hospital, the club’s executive board members attended a recognition program to receive a certificate and acknowledgement for the club’s past and ongoing support of women veterans who receive treatment at the facility. WCSM had financed some needed physical improvements to the 7 North Psychiatric Unit and supplied many personal items needed by patients.
As a fun element of club life, one member proposed that a Mahjong game group be established for any member to learn and play. This suggestion took off like wildfire. A large group now meets each Tuesday at the local restaurant, W.W. Cousins in St. Matthews, to have lunch and play. Happily we gained another new member to our club. Coincidently, our monthly thought for the day was “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, presidential first lady and GFWC clubwoman.
June brought 2 new members to our club. Our Federated Education Program Chairman, Ms. Carolyn Gordon, planned a program open to the public, on the site of historic Bowman Field, Kentucky’s first commercial airport, located in Louisville.
The group was greeted by Mr. Rick Tabb, a local book author, who spoke about the great history of Bowman Field and how it has played an interesting part in our community and in the world.
Celebrating 100 years, Bowman Field, established in 1919, is the oldest continuously operating, general aviation airport in North America. It is conveniently located approximately five miles from downtown Louisville, KY. Bowman Field is situated on 426 acres. There are 17 buildings, including the historic art deco Administration Building that was built in 1929.
Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis at the airport in 1927. During the 1920s and 1930s, Eastern Air Lines, Trans World Airlines and Continental Airlines were among the commercial airlines that served there until 1947 when Standiford Field, now Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, opened. During World War II, Bowman Field was the nation’s busiest airport.
Club life was busy. Our supply of “Flat GFWC” cards were being distributed to members as they planned their upcoming summer trips. A program designed to bring attention to GFWC by having clubwomen take a photo with the card while traveling, and then posting the photo in the GFWC KY magazine, newsletter or on social media.
Members were preparing for the September GFWC KY 3rd District Fall Conference, especially for the Arts, Crafts and Photography Contest.
Our International Outreach Heifer lunches were well received and supported by our club members, not to mention delicious. Meal plans were themed with the animal to be purchased. As an example, chicken salad was served when we worked to purchase chickens. We were hitting our monthly goals and purchasing regularly through Heifer International. How fitting was our monthly, Thought for the Day, “Women are like tea bags. We don’t’ know our true strength until we are in hot water” again quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, presidential first lady and GFWC clubwoman.
As it is every year, our club takes a well deserved break during the month of July, to rest and enjoy our families. However, several clubwomen still found time to volunteer at Supplies OverSeas and WaterStep, where each organization’s respective need is ongoing every day.
In August we welcomed yet another new club member, bringing our 2019 total to 8. Our club members actively participated in extended activities of Bridge group, Book Club and Mohjong. These groups are a wonderful way to build a closer relationship with fellow clubwomen.
In preparation of the September GFWC KY Third District Fall Conference, club members were reminded to register for the conference, prepare their Arts, Crafts, and Photography entrees, and donate used books to a fundraiser for the Third District treasury.
Our Federation Public Issues Chairman, Ms. Eunice Krish, organized an informative program, open to the public, for the purpose of meeting the needs of our aging population; providing essential and accurate facts for estate planning and necessary documents and actions that should be in place.
The program was given by highly qualified representatives; a Kentucky Elderlaw Attorney and a licensed ReMax Associate business owner/agent, both of whom made a presentation followed by a question and answer period.
This program was well attended by 34 of our WCSM members, along with 7 guests from the St. Matthews area. All who participated at this event were enlightened by the information presented, as misunderstandings and misinformation were debunked and clarified.
As our clubwomen looked to club participation for the remainder of 2019, our monthly Thought for the Day served as a reminder that, “Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.” Anne Frank.
Membership in WCSM increased by 2 new members in September. The GFWC KY Third District Fall Conference was held with 47 clubwomen present. 12 WCSM members participated in district business decisions and learned many club facts, including that there are currently 265 clubwomen in the 3rd / 4th district, of which WCSM has 63 of those members, 23.8%. Increasing club membership was a topic covered at the convention by speaker, GFWC KY President Elect, Ms. Teresa Schmidt. GFWC KY will be using the acronym of V-A-L-E-R-I-E in their promotion of retaining and recruiting members. All members should: V– Feel Valued, A-Be and Feel Appreciated, L – Laugh, E– Be Enriched, R– Have Relationships with Other Members, I-Be Inspired, E-Feel Enthusiastic about Club Membership. As an added program, GFWC KY will be creating a new Legacy Club. This recognition will be for members who have family who are also, or have been, GFWC KY members. Several of WCSM members qualify for the Legacy Club.
Again this year, many of our clubwomen, including those members who were not able to attend the Third District Conference, entered items in the Arts, Crafts, and Photography contest. Of the conference’s 80 entrees, WCSM brought home first place awards in the categories of: Crochet, Jewelry, Needlework, Photography-Scenes, Purse, Quilts- Miscellaneous, Rugs, Sculpture, and Wreaths. Second place awards included: Knitting, Photography-Living Things, Purse, and Wearable Art. A third place award was received for Ornament. Our club has high hopes for recognition of our first place items at the 2020 GFWC KY State Conference.
The club’s Federation Home Life Chairman, Ms. Judy Mayfield, spearheaded a program in support of the efforts of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana, (RMHCK). Over the past few years our club has provided collections of aluminum can tabs for their mission. However, in 2019 the club chose to become more involved with this organization’s mission to provide a “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving healthcare at area medical facilities.
First we formed a group of 7 members to tour the Louisville location and assess any needs that could be met by our club, and the group reported their findings to our membership. After club discussion of the various needs, it was decided that a group of volunteer members would prepare an evening meal for the current families, approximately 60 persons, residing at RMHCK. This project was very successful and well received.
To step up to one of GFWC International Presidents Grand Initiatives, Women in Military, our club approved funding for items to be handed out to Veteran Women at the “Women’s Veterans Day @ VA Hosptial’. Two members of WCSM are retired military and would be providing free yoga classes at the event, followed by complementary gifts for sampling the class.
Earlier in the year, the Woman’s Club of St. Matthews submitted a copy of the club’s 2019 80th Edition Club Yearbook, to be considered for inclusion in a 100 year Time Capsule, being created by Independence Bank, newly located in the City of St. Matthews.
On Wednesday, September 11, 2019, a Dedication and Recognition Ceremony was held at the Independence bank, with all contributors to the time capsule being recognized for their particular contribution. We are told that the WCSM 2019 Yearbook was the first item submitted for consideration, and was the first item to be approved to be included in the time capsule.
We feel that in 100 years, the people of the future, who open the time capsule and view our submission, will get a good understanding of our club, what it stood for in 2019, and see the wonderful clubwomen, who by membership in our club, worked together to make a difference in our community.
A WCSM nomination committee was formed to canvas the club for candidates to serve as executive board members, and federation chairmen for 2020. The committee would present candidates at the October business meeting for the club election to be held in November. Several club officers, including club president were choosing to step back into membership, and encouraged other eligible members to step into leadership.
With the fall of the leaves, October was upon us. Due to the GFWC KY 3rd and 4th Districts merging, the Okolona Woman’s Club in Louisville hosted a Sunday Tea for all of the district clubwomen. This was a fun event and an opportunity for WCSM members to get to know members of our sister clubs.
Our second mini floral workshop was held to create Thanksgiving and Christmas arrangements for seniors and those with disabilities. WCSM clubwomen feel that this is an important project, as many folks who receive these creations are forgotten during holidays.
A budget committee chaired by our treasurer, Ms. Joyce Hoffman, was formed to create a workable financial plan for the club year 2020. Members were encouraged to participate and contribute suggestions.
WCSM held our special two-hour Annual Open House at the St. Matthews Community Center, inviting all interested persons in the Kentuckiana (Kentucky – Indiana) area to drop by and see why the WCSM has been around for 81 years. We advertise the event through many free media outlets and always state that visitors are not obligated to membership. 30 WCSM members were present at the open house to greet the 10 guests that visited.
Our Open House is unique, in that we not only greet visitors, but we physically walk each guest through a year in WCSM membership, by providing visual displays on exhibit tables placed around the perimeter of the room representing: GFWC membership, club history, our user friendly website, club programs, workshops, field trips, club celebrations, partnership programs with area non-profits and charities, and avenues where members volunteer. Display items are provided by WCSM current or past Federation chairmen, along with standing committee chairmen.
To make the event successful, all WCSM members are assigned task areas, which best fit their club knowledge and physical abilities. Some participate as welcome hosts, exhibit guides, and refreshment hostesses, while other clubwomen are strategically seated at large round tables, in the center of the room, where they can participate in conversation with our guests as they enjoy refreshments together. At all times, during the guests visit, they are interacting in conversation with clubwomen, whose goal is to make the guest feel welcome, promote our club, and extend to each visitor a genuine sense that our clubwomen are delighted with their interest in WCSM.
Our yearly Open House events have proven to be extremely successful in increasing membership to our club. We have found that approximately 50% of the visitors join the club before leaving the Open House or within the next few weeks following, while another 25% join the club within the following 6 months.
We contribute the success of this event to all of our clubwomen working together, not only with decorations, displays, and food, but greeting guest, escorting them through exhibits, and especially making conversation with them. We ARE a welcoming group.
November brought in 3 new club members as well as new Executive Board leadership and Federation chairmen for 2020.
The Federated Conservation Chairman, Ms. Sandy Iacocca, coordinated a fieldtrip to the Louisville Nature Center, where members were given a private program on the mission, purpose and services provided by the organization. It was followed by a tour of the building and grounds.
We continued to support GFWC KY as members purchased cookbook supplements and cookbooks, to which our club members had earlier contributed recipes to create, and by promoting GFWC through the use of the ‘Flat GFWC” in pictures.
WCSM would hold our last business meeting of the year, where the collection of 8476 cardboard tubes for animals shelters, 9 pounds of aluminum tabs for the local Ronald McDonald House Charities, 672 recycled greeting card fronts for St. Judes’ Ranch for Children, 346 Box Tops for Education for our local elementary school, 277 pairs of used shoes for WaterStep, and an abundance of plastic caps for mini floral arrangements had amassed in number. Another record collection year.
Our twice monthly volunteering hours at Supplies OverSeas, to sort and pack recycled medical supplies had grown to 279 hours, with another 69 hours at the local WaterStep organization, where clubwomen sorted shoes used to finance water treatment units for third world countries.
A total of 1,261 Care Cards had been distributed, along with a total of 349 mini floral arrangements, to acknowledge seniors, shut-ins, and nursing home patients.
Our International Outreach – Heifer International Program lunches, provide by Federation Chair, Rochelle James, along with WCSM First Vice President, Jean Duncan, had netted: 27 schools of fish, 26 flocks of chickens, 7 flocks of ducks, 5 trios of rabbits, 5 honeybee kits, 5 pigs, 5 alpacas, 4 flocks of geese, 2 water buffalo, 2 heifers, 2 sheep, and 2 goats. All of these animals which will empower Heifer International in its global nonprofit work to eradicate poverty and hunger through sustainable, values-based holistic community development. Heifer distributes animals, along with agricultural and values-based training, to families in need around the world as a means of providing self-sufficiency. Recipients must agree to “pass on the gift” by sharing animal offspring, as well as the skills and knowledge of animal husbandry and agricultural training with other impoverished families. We are very proud of this program and accomplishments by our club.
How suitable it was for our last Thought for the Day 2019 to be, “Coming together is a beginning: keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford.
Even though the main business of WCSM was over for 2019, the fun would continue into December. We welcomed our last group of 4 new members, several who had visited us at our October Open House. This brought our new club memberships to 16, a record number of new members, in recent years, by surpassing our 2018 new members count by one. WCSM showed an end of the year total of 70 women in club membership.
In celebration of a wonderful and rewarding club year, and naturally acknowledgement of Christmas, WCSM held a luncheon, attended by 41 members and 3 guests. As we have done in past years, we incorporated some charity work into our fun and celebration. Members participated in a Christmas card exchange with other club members. Each member deposits their Christmas cards at a designed Club Post Office, where cards are sorted to hand out to members at the event. For each Christmas card deposited, a donation of 10 cents per card was collected. All proceeds from the cash collection, totaling $115 was given to Hildegard House, as the designated charity by club members. In addition, members brought needed items to donate. 2 car loads of donated items were taken to two designated charities, Hildegard House in Louisville who provides free hospice care for indigents, and Jefferson Street Baptist Community Center who care for the homeless.
In keeping with our passion for service, our club completed 2019, literally by only a few hours from midnight. Home Life Chairman, Ms. Judy Mayfield, arranged for a woman’s club group of 12, including 3 husbands, to revisit the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Louisville on New Year’s Eve, to prepare a meal for the resident families, approximately 60, who were currently staying at the facility. Those who volunteered were rewarded by the kind words and thankful faces who partook of the meal prepared. WCSM membership intends to continue this partnership with RMHCK in 2020.
So, in summary, 2019 was a remarkable year, with a group of remarkable women, who care for each other and those who they can be of service to. Club life is a rewarding combination of volunteerism, education, and fun. We look forward to 2020 with great expectations of new adventures, and the hope that other women from the Kentuckiana area will take the adventure along side of us by stepping into membership. Stay tuned for club year 2020 as it looks to be exciting, with a little element of surprise.