News & Notes: May 27, 2021


May 27, 2021

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GFWC Participates in May 16 Ceremony to Open Turning Point Suffragist Memorial

On May 16, more than a decade of fundraising came to fruition with a dedication event to open the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial. Located in Occoquan Regional Park, Fairfax County, Virginia, the Memorial was built to honor the work of millions of suffragists who fought for the right for women to vote. On behalf of GFWC International President Marian St.Clair, GFWC President-elect Deb Strahanoski presented at the dedication program along with leaders from the National League of Women Voters and the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission. Among these inspirational women speakers were Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association Executive Director Patricia Wirth, Senior Vice President and Director of the David M. Rubenstein Center Colleen Shogan, and others. Following the dedication program, Deb Strahanoski participated in the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Memorial; GFWC International President Marian St.Clair was unable to attend the ceremony due to a prior commitment at a GFWC State Convention.

In addition to shining a light on the brave women who were imprisoned at Occoquan, Virginia, during their fight to win voting rights for women, the Memorial aims to provide awareness and education about how their courage, methods, and commitment led to the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. To accomplish this goal, the Memorial includes 19 education stations that recount the 72-year history of the suffrage movement with a focus on those imprisoned on the historic premises. Visitors can also stop at a meditation area, which provides the opportunity to reflect on the Memorial’s message of empowerment.

Members who missed the remote event can still view the dedication ceremony on Facebook or YouTube. GFWC would like to thank all of its members who donated to make the Memorial’s opening possible.

Jane Jenkins Herlong to Speak at “Wonders of the World” Banquet

Sirius XM Humorist Jane Jenkins Herlong, international best-selling/award-winning author, professional singer, and recording artist, will speak at the 2021 GFWC Annual Convention “Wonders of the World” Gala on Sunday, August 29. Herlong will also present at the ESO Breakfast on Monday, August 30.

Herlong has crisscrossed the country and traveled the world to share her “down-home principles delivered with uptown humor.” Distinguished by the National Speakers Association as a Certified Speaking Professional, Herlong is also a recent inductee into the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame, which honors professionals who have reached the top echelon of platform excellence. Two of her books, Rhinestones on My Flip-Flops: Choosing Extravagant Joy in the Midst of Everyday Mess-ups and Bury Me with My Pearls, are Amazon Best-Sellers.

Herlong’s keen sense of humor evolved from being labeled dyslexic and constantly told, “You can’t do that!” She changed the word No to Next and the rest is what dreams are made of. Her life stories and humor leave audiences with the same message she lives, “Prove people wrong and laugh while living your dreams.”

Register by June 15 to secure the Early Bird Rate through the Member Portal.

Volunteers in Action

The week’s GFWC Blog features GFWC Woman’s Club of Lake Wales (Florida), GFWC Monroe Woman’s Club (Wisconsin), GFWC Millville Woman’s Club (New Jersey), and GFWC Service Guild of Covington (Georgia). Check out these stories about how clubwomen participated in a gently-used  shoe drive, promoted awareness of mental health, donated Mother’s Day gifts to a local community shelter, and raised funds for families at Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Have a success story to share? Email

Attitude of Gratitude

By Beth Smith, Health and Wellness Community Service Chairman

Depression in older adults often occurs due to chronic illness and other losses in later life. Depression can negatively affect older adults’ quality of life and ability to function.

Attitude is everything when life-changing events occur, like what happened during all of 2020. One tip is to use gratitude to turn negative events into positive ones. When things are going well in our lives, it can be relatively easy to express gratitude on a daily basis. But when things are not going so well, expressing gratitude can become more of a challenge.

Adopting an attitude of gratitude means tackling the negative things and challenges in our lives by finding ways to be grateful for them. Here are some gratitude ideas that will connect you with others:

  • Write thank you notes to people who have made a difference in your life.
  • Make a small gift for someone who has helped you out.
  • Do a random act of kindness for someone you don’t know.
  • Acknowledge the work of a colleague or a fellow volunteer or club member.
  • Offer to help with a task that you know your friend, family, or neighbor does not like doing.
  • Donate your time to an organization like GFWC, and reconnect with others in your community.
  • Share photos or stories that make you smile with loved ones and ask them to do the same with you.

By showing gratitude through action, we can engage in life and create the positive interactions we all need. Share a club project success story that shows gratitude with to be considered for the GFWC Blog.

Avis and Budget Car Rental Savings Program

According to many 2021 travel trend reports, some pandemic-era habits show no signs of slowing down, including domestic road trips to small towns, scenic drives to nearby lakes and beaches, and exploration of the great outdoors. Plan your next getaway and enjoy the open road with deals from the GFWC Avis and Budget Car Rental Savings Program. GFWC members can save up to 30 percent off of base rates on every rental, plus receive additional offers like dollars off, a complimentary upgrade, or a free weekend day.

You can also skip the counter and paperwork at many locations. Go straight to your car for faster pick-up and drop off when you sign up and use your complimentary membership in the Avis Preferred® or Budget’s Fastbreak Rewards Program.

When making a reservation with Avis, be sure to use your Avis Worldwide Discount number B155149. When booking with Budget, use your Budget Customer Discount number R584749.

Legislative Corner

In recognition of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, the House of Representatives passed several bills with strong bipartisan support. These bills now move to the Senate.

H.R. 433

Family Support Services for Addiction Act of 2021 would authorize the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award grants to support family community organizations that develop, expand, and enhance evidence-informed support services for families and family members living with substance use disorders or addiction. The grants may be used to build connections between family support networks, behavioral health and primary care providers, and foster care services, among others.

H.R. 1475

Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act would authorize federal funding to address mental health disparities among underserved populations, including communities of color. The bill would create a grant program targeted at high-poverty communities for culturally- and linguistically- appropriate mental health services; support research into disparities in mental health; reauthorize the Minority Fellowship Program to support more students of color entering the mental health workforce; and study the impact of smartphones and social media on adolescents.

H.R. 721

Mental Health Services for Students Act of 2021 authorizes grants to fund school-based mental health services. The initiative would support screening for social, emotional, mental, and behavioral issues, including suicide or substance use disorders; treatments and referrals; development of evidence-based programs for students experiencing these issues; and other strategies for schools to support students and the communities that surround them. The goal of the program is to create partnerships between schools and community-based mental health professionals across the country.

H.R. 2877

Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act of 2021 requires the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop best practices for schools to establish behavioral intervention teams, properly training them on how to intervene and avoid inappropriate use of mental health assessments and law enforcement.

H.R. 1324

Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act of 2021 would create a grant program to improve the identification, assessment, and treatment of patients in emergency departments who are at risk for suicide by developing policies and procedures for identifying and assessing individuals who are at risk of suicide and enhancing the coordination of care for such individuals after discharge.

H.R. 1480

HERO Act would create a data system at the CDC to capture public safety officer suicide incidences and study successful interventions, authorize grants for peer support behavioral health and wellness programs within fire departments and emergency medical service agencies, and require the development of best practices for addressing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in public safety officers and educational materials.

H.R. 2862

Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act would direct HHS, in coordination with the CDC, and SAMHSA, to carry out a national suicide prevention media campaign to advertise the new 9-8-8 number (when it becomes effective), raise awareness for suicide prevention resources, and cultivate a more effective discourse on how to prevent suicide. The bill would also provide guidance to TV and social media companies on how to talk about suicide by creating a best practices toolkit.

H.R. 2955

Suicide Prevention Act establishes two grant programs to prevent self-harm and suicide. The CDC must award grants to state, local, and tribal health departments to expand surveillance of self-harm. SAMHSA must award grants to hospital emergency departments for programs to prevent self-harm and suicide attempts among patients after discharge.

State President’s Project: Abby Jo Lorenz, Wisconsin

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and GFWC Wisconsin State President Abby Jo Lorenz chose Mind-Body-Spirit as her theme. Her Administration’s lapel pin was designed to promote the importance of being well balanced, and the butterfly was chosen for its representation of rebirth, change, and transformation.

To quote Deepak Chopra: “When mind, body and spirit are in harmony, happiness is the natural result.”

Mental illness affects nearly 20 percent of adults, 46 percent of teenagers, and 13 percent of children in the U.S. The two most common types of mental illness are anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, phobias, and general anxiety; and mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.

Despite efforts to promote mental health awareness, studies still show a stigma associated with mental illness, largely due to stereotypes and lack of education. Although the general perception of mental illness has improved, only half of those affected receive treatment, often leading to issues such as domestic violence, major depression, and suicide.

GFWC Wisconsin clubs have been asked to incorporate mental health awareness in their education by inviting local speakers from mental health organizations to their meetings. While everyone strives to live a mentally healthy life, sometimes issues arise that can quickly bring changes to a person’s feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and physical activity. Alcohol and drugs are often used as coping mechanisms, but substance use disorders can adversely affect a person’s relationships, home and work life, and mental health. Seeking professional help is a sign of strength.

Abby’s goal is to collectively raise $5,000 for nonprofit organizations throughout Wisconsin that support people struggling with mental illness. She offered her gratitude to clubwomen for bringing mental health awareness to the forefront and believes that together people can help end the stigma and educate the public on this important topic that affects the mind, body, and spirit.

GFWC Marketplace: Emblem Stickers

Whether you are sending out notes, organizing your calendar, or want to add some pizazz to a card, GFWC Emblem Stickers are the perfect way to enhance any letter, gift, or planner! These full-color stickers are one inch in diameter and are sold by the sheet, with 63 stickers per sheet. Order yours today.

There have been reports of mail service delays in many communities throughout the United States. GFWC staff is processing Marketplace orders as quickly as possible, but Headquarters is still operating with limited staff onsite daily. In order to speed up processing of your order, we request that you pay for your order at time of purchase in the Member Portal. For details on mail service in your area, visit the USPS Service Alerts page.