August 14, 2009
I called Leah with the news of our decision.
“Who is the lucky lady, Cheryl,” Leah asked.
Earlier this evening, Isis Initiative board members discussed our four scholarship candidates. We had a tough decision, weighing each young woman’s financial needs, GPA and family situation. It was close between two candidates. We wished we could offer all four a scholarship.
Our local Filipino committee had offered a recommendation. In the end, the input from the three women who had met and interviewed the candidates–and who understand the local culture–swayed us. The local committee recommended Marethel.
I spoke with Leah and she assured me that Marethel is a excellent choice and would be a serious student who would value the gift and the opportunity of a college education.
I trust Leah’s judgment. The board members trust Leah’s judgment.
August 4, 2009
Yesterday morning, Alice and I grabbed a table tucked in front of a window with a view of the harbor at the aptly named Harbor Cafe in downtown Stonington, Maine. Today, when I woke at 5 a.m., I wandered outside: light and the loud voices of fishermen were already spilling into the the fog-shrouded streets from the cafe.
In Maine, rumor–and custom, apparently– have it that you’re considered a foreigner if you weren’t born in Maine. People can live here for 30 years and still be considered an outsider. In this climate, Alice was skeptical that my usual keen curiosity and desire to strike up conversations would be met with much enthusiasm.
I turned in my chair and introduced myself to a group having breakfast in the booth behind us. I told them Alice was working at the Zone C Lobster Hatchery. I told them she was also on the board of our nonprofit, Isis Initiative, Inc.
Mary Halpin, a local woman, asked me about the work of our nonprofit. When I explained that we sponsored scholarships and helped support college education for women overseas, she quickly explained that she is a member of P.E.O., the Philanthropic Educational Organization, one of the pioneer societies for women, founded in 1869. For years, they kept their mission and their membership fairly secretive, Mary said. Now they’re trying to spread the word and reach the younger generation.
I smiled at Alice as she joined our conversation.
Pancakes and possibilities.
April 21, 2009
My friend Jeanene was my guest at a community event tonight, sponsored by the Corvallis chapter of Zonta. Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.
In March in celebration of International Women’s Day, Zonta presented me with a yellow rose to honor me for Isis Initiative’s work funding and promoting women’s education. I was guest for the program “Rose Day Honors: Helping Women Return to College.”
Tonight I want to acknowledge my friend Jeanene and all the women and girls who support Zonta’s mission.
Jeanene helped me create the three-year projected budget for Isis for our IRS Form 1023. It was Jeanene’s idea to use my photo note cards as a fundraiser for Isis Initiative. Jeanene organized our card party when we assembled our first 50 sets of cards.
And tonight, when the women asked “How can we help?”, Jeanene stood and gave a heartfelt pitch for our notecards. She collected $210.
I am grateful for Jeanene’s friendship (of 17 years we just realized tonight) and for her support of Isis Initiative, Inc. And for her iPhone photo that accompanies this post.
I didn’t know about Zonta before my yellow rose. At tonight’s meeting, I met local women from all professions and backgrounds with a common passion: uplifting women. Girls from Crescent Valley and Corvallis High Schools spoke about their work in Z-Clubs; many are sophomores who impressed me with their clarity, compassion and sense of purpose.
Zonta, like Isis Initiative, Inc., is an all-volunteer organization. Thank you!