Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm Thankful For the American Association of University Women

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we are supposed to reflect upon the things for which we are most thankful...Right?

I have a lot to be thankful for; my family is healthy, I have friends and neighbors that I love and can call on in times of need. All that good stuff.

I am also thankful for all the wonderful women I have had the pleasure of meeting and the privilege of working with for the last umpteen years - the women of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

At the AAUW New York State Board meeting last weekend, it hit me again, how different we all are. Some, like me, have difficulty at times keeping what pops into our heads from popping out of our mouths. Others, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, are careful in considered in their responses. Some are serious. Some are frustrated stand-up comics.

What draws us together for a weekend of long hours, difficult questions and a lot of hard work? Our mission.

"AAUW (American Association of University Women) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research."

We, on the state board, have the privilege of leading nearly 3,000 women from the farthest corners of the state to work towards this worthy and lofty mission. And the creativity and dedication shown by these members never cease to amaze me!

  • A half-day "Expanding Your Horizons" conference for 7th grade girls in NYC/Westchester to encourage them to continue taking math and science classes so that all career options remain open to them. The New York City Branch and Westchester Branch worked together in coalition with Barnard College and business and community sponsors to make these hands-on workshops available to 150 girls and 50 interested adults.

  • KIDS at RISK: A North Country Forum exploring issues facing the youth in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties. The Forum identified areas of need and created an action plan for meeting those needs and was sponsored by the Jefferson County Branch and St. Lawrence County Branch in partnership with Children's Home of Jefferson County, Jefferson Community College, Jefferson County Youth Bureau, North Country Region, NYS-PTA, Planned Parenthood of Northern New York, SUNY Colleges in the North Country, Thousand Islands Girl Scout Council, Watertown Teen Center, Inc., Watertown YMCA, and Women's Studies Program, Potsdam College.

  • The 3rd annual Transitions Conference for women and girls beginning or returning to college hosted by the Buffalo Branch. Going back to college for "non-traditional" students can be a daunting task. The goal of this conference is to help women make that leap to change their lives and that of their families and through them their communities.

  • The human trafficing study group at the NYC Branch has been focusing on the roots of this modern day scourge and most importantly, working diligently to end it.

This are just a small sampling of what AAUW is all about.

I am thankful for the women who selflessly dedicate their time and considerable talents to putting together all of the programs in their local branches. I am proud to count myself among their numbers.

If you are interested in find out more about any of these programs, or what's going on in your neck of the woods, we welcome your talents and energies. You can easily find a branch near you by clicking here for a map of the state. Or feel free to drop me a line with any comments/questions etc.

You'll be thankful you did.