A new committee, Development, has been formed by the Women’s City Club. It’s purpose is to broaden awareness of the Club in the Grand Rapids area. Our members are volunteering with organizations that we support such as HQ, a drop-in center for homeless youth. Our members volunteered at the HQ booth on June 15. Our next volunteer opportunity will be at the first African Festival of Grand Rapids organized by member, Joan Cornelison, on August 10. This is an exciting new venture for us!
Linda Girard has been a member of the Women’s City Club since the fall of 2013 when she joined during an ArtPrize promotion. She was impressed the house and the idea of a women’s club.
She likes the impromptu conversations at $2 Bucks Tuesday coffee time and during committee meetings. Linda is the current editor of the Bulletin, our monthly newsletter. This is a huge job and requires her to compile and edit information sent from committee members and Board members, send to the designer to be formatted and then receive back to send to the printer. When the newsletters are ready, she picks them up, applies mailing labels, sorts and prepares a complicated form required by the post office for mailing to our members. Linda manages this each month promptly and accurately on a predetermined schedule.
She is married to John and they have a 26-year-old daughter, Lauren, who is a school psychologist. They enjoy helping with their daughter’s dog Cooper, a golden doodle. Linda loves to read, walk, garden, and travel. They have a home on the lake shore near Holland which they are fixing up. She is a real estate agent with Rockford Realty, helping people buy and sell houses in the West Michigan area.
Linda has deep roots in West Michigan. One branch of her family was living near Holland before it was settled by Dutch immigrants from the Netherlands in 1847!
Linda is currently the president-elect of the Club. Her term will begin in 2021.
This is Ruby Fuentes. She is the very first winner of the Hazel Whitaker Vandenberg Award! Ruby was homeschooled until this year when she came to Union High School as a junior. Her winning entry was an essay about her friend Alexandria who was an inspiration in her life. She met Alexandria at the Roanoke Ranch for Kids in Lowell where they both volunteered. Ruby has been so influenced by this experience that she would like to attend Michigan State to pursue a psychology degree and eventually become an Equine Therapist.
Jeaune Allard has been a Women’s City Club member since November 2015. She enjoys the vibrant and interesting programs, community engagement, social activities, Mah Jongg, and, most of all, the delightful members. “It’s rewarding to develop friendships with a large group of women who value our WCC community.”
She has served on several WCC committees over the years and feels that it is a wonderful way to deepen friendships and give back to the club. She is also a member of the WCC board. “Being on the board has given me the opportunity to appreciate the numerous efforts made by board members enhancing and strengthening our club.” Jeaune was involved in planning our most recent Annual Meeting, the 95th! The Annual Meeting celebrates accomplishments over the past year, honors our past presidents, long-time members, and outgoing board members, and gives members time for fun and fellowship. Jeaune arranged our entertainment for the event, securing soprano, Elizabeth Barry and pianist, Todd Wilke. This year was very special because we awarded the first Hazel Whitaker Vandenberg Award to a Union High School junior. “It was fun and gratifying to help plan our 95th annual meeting at Kent Country Club.”
Jeaune and her husband Tim share a passion for service, family and fun! They enjoy traveling, boating, biking, and skiing. They have three married children, seven grandchildren and delight in family time together.
As a past special education principal, she supported the White Cane program leading her to become a member of the GR Lions Club. She volunteers weekly at the vision center and recently went on a service trip bringing eyeglasses to children in Jamaica. Other service activities include hiking 21 miles in one day on the North Country trail raising funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She plans to hike again this September.
“I am excited to continue serving on the board this year and help WCC grow.” Thank you Jeaune! The Women’s City Club is grateful for your time and talents!
Fashion Shows have been happening for many years at the Women’s City Club. A recently unearthed newspaper photo from the 20s shows the Committee for the Fashion Show discussing an upcoming show. The fashions may change but the interest in fashion doesn’t!
Our most recent show was the first week of May featuring fashions from Kimberly’s Boutique in Rockford. The organizer extraordinaire of these current events is member Mae Preston. She is responsible for making arrangements with area stores who present the shows, obtaining the models who are our own members, submitting information about the event to the Bulletin editor, coordinating the event set-up, door-prizes, microphone and stand, and making sure the models are ready to make their entrances. She is aided by Cat Timermanis, her vice-chair, and volunteers who help set up and model.
Mae has been a member of the Women’s City Club for 45 years! She has headed up the Fashion Show Committee for at least 10 years. She enjoys the stimulating programs, the camaraderie, and the friendships at the Club. She is a former teacher who graduated from Illinois College Phi Beta Kappa and Michigan State University with an MA in Elementary Education. She has been married to her husband Randy, a former Amway VP, for 68 years. They have two daughters, Kimberly, a non-practicing attorney married to a former San Antonio Spurs basketball player, mother of three children and two grandchildren, and Lynae, a retired buyer with Amway.
Mae enjoys Bridge and water aerobics. She is the past chair of the Porter Hills Resident Advisory Council and now is the resident representative to the Porter Hills Board of Directors. She serves as lector at Trinity Lutheran Church.
Fashion Shows are held each year between September and June. We are grateful to Mae Preston for her energy and organizing skills that make these popular events happen!
The Community Outreach Committee represents Women’s City Club in the community. For many, we are the face of WCC. Our mission is “uplifting women and children throughout the Grand Rapids community, through service and donation.” The Women's Resource Center, HQ and the Y are the organizations the committee supports through your generous donations. During the month of March 2019, the WCC raised $466.00 for Women’s Resource Center, to assist women in re-entering the workforce. Donations for undergarments/foundations will give our sisters “a lift.”
HQGR, is an organization that helps the disenfranchised youth and young adults within our community. It’s hard to believe that we have a homeless crisis right here in Grand Rapids. It’s even more sad to realize many of the homeless are children. This is an ongoing project for WCC, as HQ has so many needs. Right now, we are urgently seeking donations of new underwear for these teens and young adults. They prefer boxers, for the males (S, M, L, XL) and any style panties, in all sizes (S, M, L, XL) for the females. They also appreciate donations of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc., even your hotel sizes, and gift cards for youth to use for evening meals.
The drive for The Y’s domestic abuse families culminates in December. Those donations were happily received when they delivered them.
Peg Spoelstra, chairperson of the Outreach Committee, has been a Women’s City Club member since 2014. She retired early 2015 from CETUSA, an international student organization providing opportunities for cross-cultural learning and living. With her family, they’ve hosted more than 40 students from various countries, a shared experience (gift) that is theirs forever! Peg is passionate about her faith, and thrillingly, involved in a church plant. The Awakening meets Sunday afternoon at 12:30 at Dégagé. To worship with the clients of Dégagé, and youth from Cornerstone University, is perhaps the highlight of her life currently. Other passions include travel and spending time among other cultures. She’s loving this time of her life with my family and friends. She is a lifetime member of Beta Sigma Phi. The most valuable lesson she’s learned is, that there are tiny miracles every day - that following every loss is another gift.
Cat Timermanis, co-chair of the Outreach Committee, has been a Women's City Club member since 2011. Cat is a retired art teacher who has a special soft spot for children, and adults who need TLC because of circumstances which deprive them of food, shelter and clothing. She volunteers for numerous non-profit organizations such as HQ, Festival of the Arts, Circle and Civic theaters and Granville Avenue of Arts and Humanities. She and her husband enjoy reading, foreign movies, British mysteries and travel.
Community Outreach is visibly working in our community, giving back to those less fortunate on behalf of the Women’s City Club!
A $500 cash award will be given to a GRPS high school junior (Union High School)
The student will submit an entry describing a role model in their life
GRPS Superintendent, Teresa Weatherall Neal will present the award at the WCC Annual Meeting on May 16 at Kent Country Club
Women’s City Club of Grand Rapids was established in 1924 by a group of area women who were actively involved in the Grand Rapids community. Many of the activities that club members enjoy today began when the Club initially started, and the activities revolved around its mission. The mission of the Women’s City Club is to promote educational, civic, and social activities through study, community service, and friendly association. Hazel Whitaker Vandenberg was one of the 500 original charter members of the Women’s City Club. After moving to Washington D.C. with her husband Senator Arthur Vandenberg, she sent a monthly letter to be published in the Club’s newsletter. The letters described the happenings, events and social gatherings in Washington D.C.
“Hazel was active in civic affairs and was widely known for her charity activities. She was a role model for those she worked with because she was always trying to do good and to help others.” Nancy Dausman, WCC President
Students entering the contest for the HWV Award must submit an entry about a person who has been a role model in their life. Entries for the award must be one of the following choices: essay, photo, painting, poetry, short story, drawing, collage, or song. The entry will include a brief artist statement about why this person is a role model for them. Entries are due on April 10, 2019. GRPS Superintendent, Theresa Weatherall Neal, will present the cash award to the winning student at the Women’s City Club Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2019.
The Women’s City Club continues to find ways to promote its mission. The Hazel Whitaker Vandenberg Award is a recent endeavor to help support education and learning as one of the keys to future success.
April has been designated as Campaign Month to fund the award and donations are welcome. Make checks payable to Women’s City Club with HWV Award on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: Women’s City Club, P.O. Box 2231, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.
Women’s City Club
March is Reading Month
Every month is reading month at the Women’s City Club! We have a Literacy Committee whose mission is to promote reading within the Club and the community. The committee recently established the WCC Book Club. The book club is warm, welcoming and flexible. The club meets once a month on the 4th Tuesday at East Congregational Church. Members of WCC can join any time or come for the discussion of a certain book. Books have been chosen through June and include, Into the Magic Shop by James R. Doty, A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Klein, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Lab Girl by Hope Jahre and The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict.
The committee has taken on various other projects. Their first was to collect books for children staying at East Congregational Church during the holidays. A project under consideration is to collect books for the Book Fairy at DeVos Children’s Hospital. The Book Fairy is a hospital volunteer who reads and gives books to patients, carefully choosing a specific book for each child.
Anne Hill, chairperson of the committee, has been a WCC member since 2014 and a Chair and Board member since 2016. She was a Special Education teacher in Ottawa County and then a school psychologist in Rockford Schools for 26 years. She loved the continuous opportunities for learning new ideas and found the job very interesting.
Anne has been married to her husband for 45 years. They enjoy time with family, reading, travel and playing cards and games. In the summer they live in Pentwater where they are involved with the Historical Society, a coffee group and a Euchre league. Their daughter, son-in-law and 3-year old grandson live in Rockford now after living in Minneapolis for many years. Their son and daughter-in-law live in Denver where their daughter-in-law started a PhD program in the fall. The family members are all MSU fans!
The WCC holds an informal coffee once a month on the 3rd Tuesday at 10:30 am at East Congregational Church. Members are encouraged to bring books to swap and to stay and share some good conversation. This is a great time for those interested in learning more about the Women’s City Club to come and meet some members.
Promoting literacy and reading is very important to the Women’s City Club!
In early 2018 the difficult decision was made to leave the Sweet House and our last day there was April 30, 2018. Sorting files, moving equipment, and untangling our finances was a HUGE job. Restructuring the Board and committees brought clarity out of chaos. The Articles of Incorporation, Standing Rules and our Bylaws have been revised to reflect who we are now. Accounts have been set up for designated funds and members are showing their support by generously donating to them. Miss Kitty graces our table at Thursday Programs and gratefully accepts our money to help with miscellaneous expenses. Great articles have been written about us in the GR Business Journal and GR Mag online. We have a Facebook page and a new website.
We became WOMEN ON THE MOVE and our first event out in the community was a Mother’s Day Brunch at the Wheelhouse. A Royal Tea was held at the Plaza Tower Condos. We secured Kent Country Club for our Thursday Enrichment Programs and had the May 2018 Annual Meeting there. Programs on nature photography, music as therapy, Paleolithic Art, literacy initiatives, mindfulness, Qatar, Kid’s Food Basket and MORE have enriched our lives. Beacon Hill has been a great location for Board meetings and will be the venue for our January Thursday Programs.
Tours to the Meyer May House, Meijer Gardens, Fountain Street Church, and Hemingway’s Michigan up north kept us on the move. Roundtable discussions, protocols for events, buttons with bling, a Bulletin printed in color, and a new Directory with members’ photos are more of our innovations.
East Congregational Church is our home on Tuesdays. Committee meetings, Mah Jongg, classes, book exchanges and $2 Bucks Tuesday Coffees are held there. We established Tuesday Social Time (TST) to meet once a month at local restaurants from 4-6 pm. Cork at Watermark, Zeytin, Charley’s Crab and Rose’s Restaurant have been welcoming and accommodating.
We have Let’s Do Lunch and Let’s Do Dinner periodically at restaurants around town. Our fabulously festive Evergreen Gala was held at Thousand Oaks this December. The Outreach Committee has projects that allow us to give back to the community.
All of this and more in only EIGHT MONTHS! We are extremely grateful for YOU, our members, for your faith, commitment, and friendship. The future is bright for the Women’s City Club!