For Sue O’Dell, GFWC and family have always gone hand-in-hand. As club president of the GFWC Southwest Region Woman’s Club, in Colorado, she continues to encourage members to invite their family and friends to join the Federation.
“I have grown up around GFWC with my mom, my sister, and my grandma. My whole life I have been around women’s clubs,” Sue said.
Sue explained that although she didn’t plan to join GFWC for many years, her sister, International Past President Babs Condon (2014-2016) convinced her to join in 2005. Since then, Sue has been club president on and off for several terms and said she is glad she decided to join a club.
“I don’t mind leadership – I enjoy it. It has been a great experience and it’s really opened a lot of opportunities and a lot of friendships to me,” she said.
Sue also had the opportunity to be at GFWC Headquarters when she served as one of Babs’s special assistants.
“I absolutely loved it, and I learned a lot about the organization at that point because I was so immersed in it,” Sue said.
With both of her daughters now also members of her club, Sue loves seeing multiple generations of inspiring women joining GFWC. “We strongly encourage the legacy aspect and inviting families and neighbors and friends to become part of our club,” she said. “We have a lovely mix of generations in our club. We range from the 20s to the 80s.”
Throughout her time as a clubwoman, Sue has had a focus on food insecurity and has supported many food banks and food drives. She said this has been particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with these projects, Sue said she has enjoyed participating in the club’s “tampon parties,” a collection drive to donate thousands of feminine hygiene products to a local action center for people experiencing homelessness. She said the club donates food to the center monthly as well, and hosts the tampon party once a year.
“It’s been a joy to be a part of that,” she said.
Now that Sue is working part time as a private lactation counselor, she said she tries to volunteer at least weekly.
“I believe in giving back to your community and I love volunteering,” she said.
With many club projects to choose from to participate in every year, Sue said being a clubwoman is a wonderful opportunity for anyone looking to support people in need and make a positive difference in the world around them.
“GFWC gives you a chance to meet the needs of your community,” she said. “Instead of being one person saying ‘oh, I would like to do this,’ if you’re part of a group of 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 women, and you combine your efforts with like-minded people, you make a big impact on your community.”
Ashley Williams found an outlet for community service through joining the GFWC Ackerman Twentieth Century Club.
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 Lawrence Classics Club
The GFWC Lawrence Classics Club (Kansas) has 19 members, and it’s an incredible mixture: one charter member has been involved since 1997; one member has been part of GFWC since 1960; there are a mother and daughter pair who are 2nd and 3rd generation clubwomen; four members are Boosters; and their youngest member only graduated from college last year. This assorted group shares the same values about volunteerism and puts them into action.