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:
GFWC's commitment to the arts dates back to 1894 when a literature committee was established. The Committee rapidly grew to encompass programs focusing on arts & music. Club-women became well known for their support of the arts and are credited with helping to establish the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A goal is to encourage youth and elder art projects and art shows. Members are encouraged and given the opportunity to expand their creative talents and to compete in local, state, and national arts and crafts events.
GFWC Florida has partnered with Arts4All . VSA 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 endeavor to create a world in which the arts are universally accessible.
In 1808 the Federation encouraged club-women to protect the environment by establishing committees to gather and report information on environmental needs in their states. By 1900 , GFWC was advocating legislation prohibiting dumping in the nation's rivers and in 1902 formed the Forestry and Irrigation Committee to preserve such national treasures as the California redwoods and the Appalachians. The Conservation Department has enjoyed a close working relationship with the National Park Service. Club-women have played an integral role in saving the Florida Everglades, and protecting wildlife and safeguarding America' s rivers and lakes. They 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.
In the early 1900's clubwomen supported legislation to improve school conditions and create compulsory attendance laws. In 1904 they helped establish the U.S. Dept. of Education. GFWC is credited with establishing 75% of the public libraries and developing kindergartens in public schools. GFWC is also active in both literacy programs and Learning Disabilities programs. They also sponsor ESO chapters to promote a commitment to lifelong learning and self-improvement. We support the GFWC Partnership with 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.
Over the years Club-women fought for legislation protecting the rights of mothers and children, informed communities of public health issues and advocated the passage of the earliest Food and Drug Administration In keeping with history, this committee 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, Hope Lodge, 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.
Clubwomen's involvement and interest in international relations have been long-standing. Early activities included work for disarmament support for overseas troops and official representation at the United Nations Charter Convention in 1945. Club-women have generated support for the United Nations and participated in relief efforts. GFWC's U.N. program continues to promote understanding through awareness of U.N. issues, especially those concerning women children, literacy, human rights and the environment. Clubs continue to support Operation Smile and Heifer International and are involved in educational and cultural exchanges'. With Operation Smile (for children born with cleft palates) the members are working on a sewing project that includes making Smile Dolls, child-sized hospital gowns, draw-string bags and lap blankets/quilts. An annual goal is to provide $240 for the surgery for one child.
The Public Issues Committee is an outgrowth of the American Citizenship Department established in 1920. At that time club-women were working toward the elimination of racial and religious discrimination. Since 1950, club-women have addressed such issues as health care for veterans, the eight-hour work-day, and child labor laws. Members are concerned about crime, safety, and voter awareness. Today members are concerned about crime, quality education, and home, highway, and community safety. 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 Hacienda Girls' Ranch, the Military Support Group of Alachua County, and Wreaths Across America and Fisher House.
GFWC Signature Project: Domestic Violence Prevention and Awareness:
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.