Lauren Smith always knew she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and join GFWC, and a few years ago, she found herself at a time in her life when she finally had an opportunity to do just that.
“I’ve always had a servant’s heart,” she said. “I grew up in a small town so my parents were members of everything and helped in any way they could, so they instilled that in me.”
As the 2020-2021 club president of GFWC Eupora New Century Club in Mississippi and a school counselor, Lauren said she loves being able to give back to her community and school district.
“My mom was a member when I was little and she was a teacher. It seems like a lot of teachers are members and the club gives back so much to the school system,” she said. “Being a school counselor, I see kids who need clothes or need hygiene products and need food, and there are always people who want to help. I’ve enjoyed that aspect, seeing it from the school and club side.”
As a member of a small, rural town, Lauren said it is particularly important that people in her community take the time to help their neighbors.
“I have a passion for helping others. I really enjoy it and I say I would love to be a full-time volunteer if it paid and had insurance,” she said.
Although Lauren has been involved in many exciting volunteer projects and events throughout her time with the club, she said one of the biggest projects the club puts on is a tea party that generates funds for the local library.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she said they raised more than $900 in 2020 for the library during the tea party, which had more than 60 girls in attendance.
In addition to this event, Lauren said she is working to develop a project to donate backpacks to local foster care children that are filled with personal care and hygiene products.
“That has become a new passion for me,” she said, adding many other members are interested in the project as well and that she hopes to see it become an annual activity the club can take on.
One of Lauren’s biggest goals has been getting more people involved in the club to help others, especially younger women. She said by creating fun activities and events that benefit local children, she has seen a great interest in the community.
“The younger people are the ones who are doing a lot of things now, which can be so different from a lot of clubs,” she said. “I’m very grateful.”
Lauren said she intends to stay with the GFWC Eupora New Century Club and would encourage everyone to join a volunteer club even if they feel that their lives are too hectic to fit another responsibility into their schedules.
“I think everybody could use this,” she said.
Serving as MVR President has been a wonderful experience. I’ve been able to work with members from my own state of Missouri for my first Region Conference and from Iowa for my second Regional Conference. Having been able to get to know our International President, President-elect, and the Presidents from the other 7 Regions has been an enlightening and wonderful experience. I’ve learned so very much from each of them!
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 Polk County Service Club
GFWC Polk County Service Club (Oregon) served as the coordinators for the Polk County Fair Talent Contest. There were two divisions (Youth from age 3-12 and Young Adult from 13-19) with 17 contestants. Laurel Jones, Vice President of GFWC Polk County Service Club, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies. Parents, grandparents, and friends all came out to fill the audience and it was very well attended. One of the Judges was GFWC Oregon State President, Pam Briggs.