Our Community Service Programs and Special Programs are structured to enable us to use the vast resources of our membership to address the needs of our communities.
GFWC Community Service Programs and Special Programs focus on major issues that affect our communities daily—supporting women’s health, preserving natural resources, promoting literacy and equality, citizen advocacy, and encouraging volunteer service—and fall into the following areas of focus:
Arts and Culture
The GFWC Arts and Culture Community Service Program encourages members to promote and support arts activities in their clubs, schools, and communities. It is designed to inspire clubwomen and ignite within them a desire to make their world a more beautiful place. As Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
The goal is to create programs and projects that include music, literature, dance, drama, theatre, and other arts-related areas, both traditional and innovative, that cause the world around us to see and feel what they might have only once imagined.
GFWC Florida has partnered with Arts4All. Arts4All Florida provides meaningful learning experiences that increase artistic skills, foster creativity, promote social skills, and provide new ways of communication. Each year, Arts4All Florida provides direct services to all 67 counties in Florida and serves over 60,000 individuals with disabilities, as we endeavour to create a world in which the arts are universally accessible.
The GFWC Environment Community Service Program encourages awareness of our natural resources and caring for the world around us. It offers information and ideas to promote environmental appreciation and protection. Work to preserve, maintain, and restore our natural resources; protect habitats for plants and animals; and develop sustainable habits.
Environmental education; care for our air, land, and water; recycling; litter cleanup; partnerships with community groups, schools, and children; support of wildlife; energy conservation; tree planting; and beautification – this is what the Conservation Community Service Program is all about. Work to become more aware of conservation issues, enrich communities, and become stewards of the environment.
GFWC Florida clubwomen design and support conservation activities in their local communities.
We participate in local river clean-up, beautification of our community and recycling programs. Through this committee, the Club provides annual sponsorship of a Capuchin monkey at the local college zoo and built and helps maintain, with the third-grade science class, a Butterfly Garden at the High Springs Community School.
Education and Libraries
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
From the 1996 Report of the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century and the 1997 Hamburg Declaration: Literacy, broadly conceived as the basic knowledge and skills needed in a rapidly changing world is a fundamental human right. There are millions, the majority of whom are women, who lack opportunities to learn or have insufficient skills to be able to assert this right. The challenge is to enable them to do so. Literacy is also a catalyst for participating in social, cultural, political, and economic activities, and for learning throughout life.
Having founded over 474 public libraries and 4,655 travelling libraries in the 1930s, The American Library Association credited GFWC with establishing 75% of America’s public libraries. In the 21st century, libraries continue to be an important part of our communities, demonstrated by a 2013 survey in which 90% of Americans, ages 16 and older, said the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community.
In the early 1900s clubwomen supported legislation to improve school conditions and create compulsory attendance laws. In 1904 they helped establish the U.S. Dept. of Education. We support the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY). Our Club has adopted the High Springs Community School and provide mentors, tutors, school supplies for teachers, and books for the elementary school library and Daycare Centers. We also have a "little library" in front of our Clubhouse where anyone can pick up free books for their entertainment.
Health and Wellness
The GFWC Health and Wellness Community Service Program is designed to inform members of issues that affect the well-being of individuals, families and communities by providing opportunities and resources to meet and address needs through volunteering. Through this program, clubs may develop and implement creative projects that promote a healthy lifestyle; increase awareness, prevention, research, and treatment of disease; target personal development; address the issues of hunger, inadequate housing, and homelessness; and/or prevent or correct financial difficulties.
This Program educates members as to women's health-related issues through support of local and national programs such as Relay for Life, Easter Seals, and the Ronald McDonald House, and Habitat for Humanity The committee offers the opportunity for members to assist nursing homes and to assist local Social Services by donating food, participating in the Holiday Angel Program, and purchasing blankets for the homeless. Financial issues such as securing personal identity and making wise choices for charitable donations are also a focus.
Civic Engagement and Outreach
Civic and social responsibilities are key components in our lives. The GFWC Civic Engagement and Outreach Community Service Program is designed to actively connect members with effective projects and activities relating to civic and social responsibilities. This program focuses on citizenship, military personnel, emergency and disaster preparedness, and safety and crime prevention.
The Program is an outgrowth of the American Citizenship Department established in 1920. At that time clubwomen were working toward the elimination of racial and religious discrimination. Since 1950, clubwomen have addressed such issues as health care for veterans, the eight-hour workday, and child labor laws. Members are concerned about crime, safety, and voter awareness. First responders are honored with grab and go snacks on the Day of Service and Remembrance (September 11). Our club has held a Candidates Forum two weeks before each city election since 2000. We feel it is important that our citizens have access to the candidates and issues that involve our community. We support K9 for Warriors, the Military Support Group of Alachua County, Wreaths Across America and Fisher House.
GFWC Signature Program: Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness and Prevention
The GFWC Signature Project Standing Committee seeks to make the community more aware of Domestic Violence within our community and identify ways in which the Club can help local Shelters and educate the public. The Project covers not only Domestic Violence, but also Child Abuse and Elder Abuse issues. It addresses Teen Dating Violence and related issues. Each April, we plant a pinwheel garden in honor of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month. This Committee hosts the October meeting which is also National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.
GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship As a national leader in the fight to end domestic violence, GFWC will award $2,500 to help survivors of intimate partner violence obtain a post-secondary education through the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship. The scholarship deadline is January 31 of each year. Promoting the GFWC Success for Survivors Scholarship is a key component to helping us change lives, and we can’t do it alone. Spread the word. Visit www.GFWC.org/Scholarship to download the press release and other marketing materials. For more information contact the GFWC Programs Department at 202-347-3168 or Programs@GFWC.org.