President’s Message: Meet Your Neighbor
Submitted by Bup Greenwood
I miss you! From many phone calls and Zoom interactions, I know we all miss our AAUW community. The members I’ve spoken with miss the camaraderie of our monthly meetings and our interest groups, miss learning about and discussing local and national issues together, miss hearing from our Tech Trek girls, miss discovering the wonderful young ladies who will receive the scholarships we worked so hard to provide. On a very deep level we miss being engaged with each other, miss talking, sharing, learning, laughing, working with our supportive army of AAUW friends.
On another level—the Branch level—the Board and I miss the personal interaction that powers everything we do. YOU, the members, direct the issues we address, guide us to action, work with us at every level.. We need your ideas, your energy, your guidance to keep this Branch alive.
How can we get the interaction we need while still keeping ourselves and each other safe during the Covid-19 pandemic? Gracious Helpers, in their tradition of helping support members, have been generously telephoning everyone periodically during the past months, and the book groups are meeting on Zoom. What is next? How can we get all members engaged?
One solution is Neighborhood Circles, small groups of AAUW neighbors. To hear your voices, and to follow Shelter in Place guidelines, we need to meet in groups of 10 or fewer. We’ve mapped out our membership and grouped those who live close together so no group is larger than 10.
Our Board subcommittee on Neighborhood Circles is meeting in early July to finish all the details. Stay tuned! We will post information on the web page, and send out emails and/or phone calls once the fine-tuning is finished. At that time, you’ll each get a map and a list of your Neighbors, guidelines for the group, along with Center for Disease Control tips for safely meeting in person. Our goal is for you to interact safely, and for us to hear your voices.
We’ve come up with many more ideas for us to connect and to learn that you will hear about in the next months, beginning with Neighborhood Circles. AAUW is about relationships and these small groups put relationships first. “Love my neighbor” has new meaning for me—and I hope for you.
A Privilege to Have Been Your President
What a challenge these past few weeks have been for all of us. Through it all our Board and Branch members have stayed positive, helped others, and remained engaged in our AAUW work, which has included lots of outreach calls to each other.
I feel extremely privileged that I have been able to work beside so many capable and giving women. We have had instructive and interesting General Meetings, celebrations at our Welcome Back Brunches, Holiday Parties, and May Luncheons, and spectacular and successful Tapas and Trivia Fund Raisers. We have continued expanding our support for women and girls through Local and Tech Trek Scholarships, and important causes at the AAUW national level. You have all given unselfishly of your time, your talent, and your financial support. We have much to be proud of.
The two years that I have had the honor to serve as our Branch President have passed so quickly. I have learned from all of you and am a better leader and person because of all the wise advice you have shared with me. None of us expected to be now learning how to make facemasks, how to attend ZOOM meetings, and how to stay connected and still keep our physical distance. And, yet here we are. And still we rise!
What are some lessons learned? For me, I am reminded that what is important in life is gratitude and finding a passion and purpose that keeps me growing, learning, and changing. That is my wish for you as we welcome the new Board (Elected and Appointed) for 2020-2021: Bup Greenwood, Melanie Heckel, Shirley Zeff, Karen Smith, Bernadette Sylvester, Penny Savelly, Jennifer Wilkerson, Franny Erickson, Jo Ann Schilling, Cece Royal, Ann Shulse, Susie-Monary-Wilson, Carolyn Feuille, Martha Rees, Barbara Johnson, Joan DeMarce-Rutledge, Deborah York, Sue Miller, Jan Williams, Margaret Munson, and Pat Pedersen.
We also thank our outgoing Board members for their service: Nancy Knaus, Kathleen Shaffer, Laurie Alire, Carolyn Feuille, Kris Welch, Deb Cubberley, and Susan Frater. They have served our Branch Board well for many years. We are in their debt.
May we all continue to support AAUW’s vision and mission, our local Branch, and women and girls every where.
With much love, gratitude, and respect, Virginia