When Ann Sebastian left her house to get groceries one day in 2012, she never expected to join the Village Improvement Association of Rehoboth Beach, in Delaware, but she immediately knew she couldn’t say no to the opportunity.
“I was headed to the grocery store and in front of the store was a nice group of women that were selling raffle tickets because they needed to build a new clubhouse. When I stopped to talk to them I found out they were a GFWC club and I basically threw myself at them saying I wanted to join,” Ann said.
Years previously, Ann had been part of the Junior Women’s Club of Chevy Chase, Maryland. She held many leadership and board positions throughout the years, but when her work schedule began to conflict with the daytime meetings, she eventually had to leave the club.
Despite taking a step back from GFWC for several years, she always loved being part of the Federation, and was thrilled to be a clubwomen once more.
“With the previous GFWC experience, I knew where to jump in and what to do and got involved with the fundraising and volunteering,” she said.
Ann explained volunteering and community service is important to her because it gives her a connection with other like-minded people who want to work together to make a difference, whether it is volunteering with elections, helping at local libraries, or supporting community resource centers.
“It’s a feeling of contributing to a better community, no matter how small it might be,” she said.
As club president in 2021, Ann said her special project was working with Delaware Hospice’s Katybug Program. This pediatric program specializes in helping kids from perinatal to young adult find relief from pain and symptoms in their own home, while offering families the practical resources and emotional support they need.
Ann said the club made gift satchels that included a toy, handmade blanket, games, books, and other items for children receiving care, as well as their siblings. The gift satchels were made for newborns and those up to 18.
Ann noted it was important to the clubwomen that the siblings of the patients receive something also.
“We received several notes from the families through the Katybug Program expressing their gratitude and sheer joy that the siblings had when they received something too. It was special for them,” Ann related. “You know, when all the attention is on the sick child, other children may feel like they are not being noticed as much, so we were very pleased to be able to do that for the entire family.”
As Ann continues her Federation journey, she said she hopes others find themselves joining a GFWC club and experiencing the joy that giving back can provide.
“It’s something bigger than yourself. It is a way to meet people in the community, to forage lifelong friendships, and to do something more important for the family of the community,” she said.
When Bethany Flint first joined a Juniorette club in 2004, GFWC was already a significant part of her life due to her mother being a club member for many years. Now after years of being part of the Federation herself, Bethany loves it just as much as she did when she joined.
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.
Junior Woman's Club of State College
When Robbin Zirkle moved back to the area after grad school, she addressed the challenge many people face as adults—making new friends— by joining the Junior Woman’s Club of State College (Pennsylvania). GFWC provided her a place to connect with like-minded women who shared her passion for community service.