Stephanie Ballo opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. She then proceeded to look back on the previous year and all that we accomplished:
One year ago, we had a great turn out at our January 2019 meeting, and we broke you into small discussions groups. Knowing it was an off-cycle election year, we asked you “What are the issues you want to tackle? What’s important to you?”
A great majority of you were interested in doing more community outreach. So, we created an outreach committee and Chris Chase volunteered to be our outreach chair. DWCMarco member, Lauri Shafer connected us to Dr. Lisa Lufkow, director of Habitat for Humanity who spoke to us about families struggling to find affordable housing in the area. Our Marco members really delivered and we donated multiple car loads of everyday items much needed by families moving into their new Habitat homes.
Val Fisher from the Shelter for Abused Women and Children spoke to us about sex trafficking and those who seek shelter from abusive relationships. Our members generously donated two vanloads of items for the shelter.
Next we partnered with laces of love, an organization that provides new footwear to students in Lee and Collier County. At that meeting we collected over $700 and donated 40 pairs of shoes to children in need.
During the cold months of January and February, we collected blankets for the migrant farm workers.
And finally, we formed a partnership with Manatee Elementary school. Debby Eby, school counselor spoke to us about the needs of this under-served school, where more than 60% of the students are nonwhite, many of them children of farm workers and low-income folks in east Naples. We collected books for their media center, and held our first annual, very successful silent auction and raffle to benefit the school and our club.
Another topic of interest for many of our members was getting tips on how to talk to the “other side “. We heard you and we sponsored a workshop, facilitated byFGCU on conflict resolution. We also invited our State Senator Kathleen Passidomo and Supervisor of Elections, Jennifer Edwards to speak to our members. It was one of our most well attended meetings.
Another majority topic you asked about was, how to get more active. Last January, many of our members took part in the Women’s March at Cambier park. We also hit the beach for monthly beach clean ups! We all wore our very fashionable vest. The iridescent color looks good on everyone.
We got more involved in statewide events. We had members who traveled to Orlando for Leadership Blue and the FDP State Convention. We also participated in the DWCF Convention, where we won a first-place award in our tier level for “most increased membership”.
You asked us to provide informative guest speakers so we could get educated! Environmental Scientist, Renee Wilson, from Rookery Bay came to address us. We had Erick Carter from the Collier County school board and Vincent Keeys from Collier NAACP tell us about their organizations. Susan Cone, from Moms Demand Action spoke to us about the importance of sensible gun laws and legislation.
We learned about the upcoming 2020 census.
The Democratic Women’s Club of Marco (DWCMarco) presented a check for $3,040 to Debby Eby of the Manatee Elementary School. The DWCMarco formed a partnership with Manatee School to help fund The Leader in Me program and then conducted a very successful silent auction and raffle which culminated in this contribution.
Afterwards, Sara McFadden, the Democratic Candidate for the Florida Legislature, State House District 106 spoke about her extensive platform. She urges all Floridians to vote in the next election. There are so many important things at stake. If you have any questions, wish to volunteer or contribute, you can go to firstname.lastname@example.org . Her website is SaraMcFadden.com.
And finally, Vanessa Grisco, a member of the Bernie Sanders campaign, spoke briefly about supporting this candidate.
The next meeting of the Democratic Women of Marco will be held at Mackle Park on February 11. Our guest speakers for the evening will be Marilyn Michales from the Collier County Voter Protection team, Margie Stein from Future Now/Rising-tide giving circle, and Barbara Wagner from the Bloomberg campaign.