New London Women’s Club has been around since 1914, formed for the purpose of supporting and promoting women’s issues, beautification, education and volunteerism in the community. A few of the current club members have been members of the club for over 50 years.
Deb Silvers, New London Women’s Club president for 2011-2113, is on a mission to promote youth and young women’s volunteerism in the community in a variety of ways.
The first step will be to involve the youth in community projects. High schoolers are now required to complete 20 hours of community service before they graduate. Silvers sees the opportunity to involve them in projects around the city. She and other Women’s Club members are happy to be involved with the youth and show them what volunteerism can do for them. “Giving back and helping others is something that should be instilled in our children from a young age,” says Silvers.
Secondly, she explains, the club will now have three tiers, the first being juniors, age 12-21, women age 22-65, and the senior advisory board, age 66 and over. This affords current members who are now retired a way to take an active role in the club. “Our three tiers can work on different projects throughout the New London area,” she said.
“We have several members who have great ideas, many that were utilized with success in the past in areas of education, libraries, community and governmental issues. We are hoping that we can introduce these to the New London area once again,” adds Silvers.
Just this year the Women’s Club reignited a previous beautification project and partnered with the City, forming The Clean Sweep program with the criteria of keeping an eye on foreclosed and abandoned properties. “We act as the eyes and ears of the community to see that the lawns and sidewalks are cared for and the house doesn’t appear a target for vandals.”
“Things we do around our community are reflected globally, as so many causes over the years have been taken to the State, National and International levels. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) is the support to all Women’s Clubs around the world,” she said. Silvers attended a four-day Regional conference in Madison, and a District conference in Brillion in October, as New London was the newest chapter to join once again this year.
“The General Federation has an amazing history, and continues to do good works that are applauded by governmental bodies and communities throughout the world,” explains Silvers.
A quick search on their website, GFWC.org, reveals one amazing accomplishment after another. Here’s just a few of the projects that the Federation accomplished in over 100 years: In 1898 the GFWC unanimously passed a resolution against child labor; 1910 – GFWC supported legislation for the eight-hour workday, workplace safety and inspection, and workmen’s compensation; 1921 – GFWC created the Indian Welfare Committee, which worked improving both education and health facilities on reservations, as well as preserving Native American culture; 1934 – GFWC began a 10-year study to review the question of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA); 1960 – Brighten the Night was a nationwide Federation campaign for street lighting to prevent crime and accidents; 1986 – the Federation instituted programs to protect and preserve endangered species; 1997 – over a five year period, GFWC clubwomen raised and donated $13.5 million to public libraries and public school libraries across the nation; 2000s – GFWC members contributed $180,000 for a fully-equipped ambulance for use by the New York Fire Department in response to the loss of equipment suffered during the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Today, GFWC continues its tradition of addressing social issues affecting women and families through programs that combat violence against women and promote human rights.
The state of Wisconsin currently has 61 active clubs, and nationally 4,000 clubs exist. There are clubs in more than a dozen countries.
“So you see that this is not just a local movement, but reaches around the globe. Ideas are born in every corner of our world and brought to the state and national stage over time,” explained Silvers. “We have an obligation to teach our youth that volunteerism is the backbone of our success as a community.”
Call Deb Silvers at 920.982.6201 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss youth and women’s volunteerism and the projects available in the upcoming months. “We are excited to launch our 2011 membership in New London and look forward to hearing from community members. Meanwhile check out the GFWC web site for any additional information.”