Jul 03, 2016 News
By Kiana Wilburg
Rich with a sense of dedication, sisterhood and an untiring love for helping others, the Inner Wheel Club (IWC) of Georgetown not only exemplifies the power of giving back, but quite easily through its work, stands out as the pearl among Guyana’s non-profit organizations.
On Tuesday last, I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to the installation of the 2016-2017 Executive Committee of the Club, which was held at the Red Cross Headquarters. There, a number of things were very apparent. Not only is advocacy deeply rooted in the DNA of the strong women who comprise this non-profit organization, but they demonstrate that sharing power and leadership is necessary for any unit to be a stronger force for good.
Chairing the occasion was IWC’s Executive Member Mitzy Campbell, who served as the President from 2015 to 2016.
Campbell introduced to the attentive audience, the new members of the Executive Committee. They include; Secretary, Sinikka Henry; IWC Treasurer, Barbara Walrond and International Service Organizer and Club Correspondent, Maxine Cummings. Other Committee members who were officially installed for the new period were longstanding IWC partner Marva Patterson, Santosh Bera, Yvonne Quintin and Margaret Gittens.
The Outgoing IWC President also expressed thanks to those who attended the event and registered her satisfaction in serving in such a post for the Club. Campbell related that she was happy to pass on the baton to Dorothy Fraser.
Fraser heartily thanked Campbell for holding the fort over the last year, for her concern with reaching vulnerable people, and for her passion in ensuring that the Club members understood the need to be more intimately involved in health issues.
The new President said that there is a great need for service clubs like the IWC to be more involved in issues such as mental health, parenting and raising awareness regarding non-communicable diseases, inclusive of cancer.
She also gave a commitment to members of the Rotary Club of Georgetown who were present at the event that the IWC would help with books for their library venture. The IWC President also assured the Rotary Club that support in other areas would certainly be rendered.
That aside, Fraser expressed that the IWC plans to increase its fundraising events so that it continue to do more of its charitable works. She also noted that the theme for the club this year is “Touch a Heart.”
“So let us talk specifically about our international Inner Wheel theme. Dr. Jeff Millar in his ‘Words of Wisdom’ said, ‘When you touch someone’s life it is a privilege. When you touch someone’s mind it is an honour. When you touch someone’s soul it is a triumph. When you touch someone’s spirit it is a miracle. But when you touch someone’s heart it is a blessing.’ So in the IWC year ahead of us, we have an opportunity to provide privileges, to be filled with honour, to touch spirits, to be triumphant, to help with miracles and to give and be blessed,” expressed Fraser.
The IWC President then asked those in attendance to take a few moments to write on heart-shaped paper provided, one way in which they feel they can touch someone’s heart. Those suggestions, she promised, will be considered, and the IWC would conquer as much as they could this year.
Fraser in her closing remarks, urged those present to continue to give support to the less fortunate.
Providing a report on the Club’s accomplishments for 2015-2016 was Committee Member, Margaret Gittens. She noted that while membership currently stands at 19, the Club was able to conduct a number of activities which exemplified its objective to promote true friendship, encourage the ideals of personal service, and foster international understanding.
Gittens added that membership consists of women with connections to inner wheel members/former Inner Wheel members, women with connections to Rotarians/former Rotarians and women with similar ideals with the club’s consent.
During the period under review, she noted that the immediate past President, Mitzy Campbell, invited various speakers to address various topics such as diabetes, cancer care, and the need for assistance at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
With regard to community outreach initiatives, Gittens reported that the committee which takes care of this ensured that the Club stayed on track with its food hamper drive, of which four persons continue to benefit.
“We still call it our food hamper programme, but the recipients not only receive food items but whatever they need temporarily, most times cash in lieu of hampers, as we have found that the needs of the recipients have changed.”
As for the IWC’s National Park project, the IWC Executive Member said that they were able to get assistance from a partnership with the Rotary Club to assist with the painting of the fence and toilet area. She said, too, that the sum of $394,381 was spent on repairs and maintenance.
Gittens also shared that the Club kept its Christmas cheer tradition alive as it partnered with the Guyana Red Cross to give cheer to a large number of children on December 19, last.
“It was a fun afternoon, well organized with lots of snacks and dancing enjoyed by all. Each child left the premises with a gift and instructions not to open the gift until Christmas day,” the Committee Member noted.
She also spoke about the work of the Club’s scholarship committee which was initiated in 1998. This committee, Gittens explained, has been involved in financial support to teacher trainees, trainee midwives and rehabilitation helpers.
“In the inception stages, we focused on hinterland students, but have now expanded our service to all areas where the need exists, with the firm expectation that those trained will return to serve their communities and share their skills…We should be awarding some young women in the nursing field soon.”
With regard to fundraising activities, Gittens said that the IWC was only able to hold one such event in this regard – the highly popular Annual Hat Show and Garden Party on April 2, last, in the Promenade Gardens. She said that this event was able to generate over $970,000.
The IWC Member also reported on other club accomplishments for the period 2015-2016.
“Our international theme—Touching Hearts—for the year was unique and united, and we were reminded by our international president that we are certainly distinctive, being the largest women’s voluntary organization in the world, and united in our desire to help others who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
In her closing statements, Gittens took the opportunity to congratulate the new IWC President who would be filling the position for the fifth time.
And to her sister members, she implored them to remember that success is due to teamwork more than anything else. She stressed that there is no substitute for good relations and unity.
Giving the vote of thanks at the event was IWC Treasurer, Barbara Walrond. She acknowledged the Club’s auditors, Jack Ali and Associates, who provide their auditing services to the club for free.
Walrond also extended special thanks to the Club’s faithful supporters and her Inner Wheel sisters, particularly Marva Patterson. She remarked that the Past President is always willing to volunteer her home for emergency meetings or special activities.
“She is also willing to volunteer her car, time or family members for the good of the club and we thank her immensely for that,” the IWC Treasurer expressed.
As the IWC under new leadership gears for another fulfilling year, it cannot be said enough times how its years of service, commitment to humanity and spirit of sisterhood unequivocally offer any outsider new lens for understanding the power of touching hearts. By their words and action, it is undeniable that they demonstrate daily and represent the extraordinary relationship between philanthropic efforts and social change.
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