Celebrating GFWC Mothers and Daughters: Part One
May 3, 2016
Mother’s Day gives us the opportunity to thank our mothers for all they have done to make a difference in our lives. Mothers feed us, clothe us, and take care of us when we’re sick, often without any thanks or appreciation. When we get older, we begin to recognize our mothers for the caring and generous women that they are. That’s what makes sharing a connection in GFWC so special. There are many mothers and daughters whose bond has been strengthened by being clubwomen and volunteering together.
The Sisterhood of Service becomes even stronger when you’re able to share a love of GFWC with your own family. Jolie and Darby Frankfurth know this firsthand.
Jolie loves that her daughter is learning the value of volunteering and taking responsibility for her community. Even though Darby is now in college, Jolie knows that the lessons Darby learned in GFWC stick with her today.
“I’m most proud when she stands up to injustices and isn’t afraid to tell others what she believes in,” Jolie said.
Darby is constantly inspired by her mom. At fourteen, Jolie asked her if she wanted to join the Juniorettes. There was no doubt in Darby’s mind that she wanted to become a clubwoman.
“I’ve always wanted to be just like her,” Darby said. “She is a natural leader and everyone just loves her. She is my hero.”
Darby and Jolie even share a favorite GFWC memory—planting pinwheels for child abuse awareness.
“After the 1,000 pinwheels we stuck in the ground at Florida Headquarters, she walked up to me and said she saved the last pinwheel for me,” Darby said.
Melanie Carriker Stevens and her mother, Wendy Carriker, also share a favorite memory—standing on stage together at the 2015 GFWC Annual Convention and receiving a charter for the GFWC Legacy Woman’s Club, which is open to any GFWC members with a family legacy in GFWC.
“Knowing that Melanie is in the company of other legacies such as GFWC President International Babs Condon, COO Rosemary Thomas, Debby Bryant, and so many other dynamic women and mentors makes me so very proud,” Wendy said.
As clubwomen, Melanie and Wendy enjoy brainstorming ideas for GFWC, talking about the organization’s future, and participating in volunteer projects.
“Plus, you never know when we will show up at a District or State function with the same outfit on!” Melanie said.
Sharing her love of GFWC with her daughters is something Wendy will always treasure.
“I believe that it has brought us closer together on a different level than parent and child, but as volunteers and women who are trying to improve their communities while growing as leaders at the same time,” Wendy said.
Melanie’s life has been greatly impacted by sharing her GFWC experience with her mother, she said.
“I could not imagine being a member of something greater than myself without her by my side. While growing up, my sister and I were taught that you give back to your community and help those you can. I could not image this journey without her, and look forward to the memories still to come,” Melanie said.
Clubwoman Deb Adams of Iowa has shared a GFWC connection with her mother and grandmother. Her grandmother was a member until she passed way at the age of 90. Deb decided to join when her mother moved closer to her.
“I knew I would be driving her to the GFWC meetings, so decided I would also join the club,” Deb said. “My mother is now 89 years old, and still enjoys going to the club meetings. And I am glad I have also joined.”
Fran Edwards of Virginia and her mother, Miriam Premaza, both served as president of their respective clubs from 1980-1982. Fran’s mother became a member of the GFWC Tarrara Woman’s Club shortly after they moved to Virginia from Pennsylvania when she was 12 years old.
“She seemed to have such a good time going to meetings, working on projects, and helping in the community,” Fran said. “Following her example, after college, I eventually returned to my hometown and joined the Boykins Junior Women’s Club which gave me the opportunity to join mom when the two clubs met or worked together.”
When it was time to graduate from the Junior Club, Fran joined the Tarrara Club and worked alongside her mom for many years.
“I enjoyed being in club work with my mother because it gave us a common interest as peers, not as mother/daughter or grandmother/mother,” Fran said.
Miriam passed way in January, but Fran feels she is watching over her as she continues her GFWC journey.
“Hopefully, one day this legacy will continue when my daughter joins a Federated club,” Fran said.
If you’re a clubwoman with a legacy in GFWC, please consider joining the GFWC Legacy Club. Learn more by visiting the club’s Facebook page.
Stay tuned for more stories throughout the month of May about mothers and daughters who belong to GFWC!
Debra 'Deb' Strahanoski
GFWC Second Vice-President Debra "Deb" Strahanoski has been a dedicated GFWC Illinois clubwoman for 28 years and is highly regarded as a mentor to many.
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
GFWC Montgomery Woman’s Club
Since its founding in 1954, the GFWC Montgomery Woman’s Club, Inc. of Montgomery, Ohio has raised over $1.5 million for education and $430,000 for charity. Eighty-seven members strong, the club is known for volunteer service and community improvement, especially during the holiday months when members decorate the town for Christmas.