With 8000 members spread out from Bangor to Santa Cruz, DFW uses email as the most efficient way to communicate. These messages include monthly newsletters, donation acknowledgements, tax receipts and other messages.
Dining for Women is very aware of the flood of emails all of us receive on a daily basis. To that end, in 2013 we significantly reduced our communications. Most months, the average member receives one email from us – The Dish; chapter leaders get two with the CL Newsletter. We have consolidated what used to be separate emails for new programs, trips or products into these monthly communications.
The Education Team has developed a slide show template we will use to offer each month’s program in a brief and consistent format, rather than requiring each grantee to develop a PowerPoint presentation. Beginning with our January Featured Program, presenters will have clearer options for sharing the month’s featured program in ways that work best for each chapter.
Annie Johnston (left) and Karen Faunt in the living room of Karen’s new home.
By Patricia Andersson Chapter leader, Portland
Annie Johnston could never have predicted that getting involved with our Portland Southeast chapter of DFW would allow her to once again visit the home where all her childhood family gatherings took place.
And Karen Faunt, long-time chapter member who’s also on DFW’s Program Selection Committee – as well as being the home’s new owner — would never have guessed that by hosting a DFW potluck, she’d be able to provide a new friend with a cherished walk down memory lane.
In Jacksonville, FL, First Coast News produced a multimedia feature story that aired on the local ABC and NBC affiliated networks in December 2013. Cheryl Tupper, the Jacksonville co-leader, and Michelin Tutein, who is launching a new chapter in the area, were both interviewed.
During the afternoon, we headed to the Munda tribal village on the outskirts of Ranchi. The projects in this village are overseen by Matrichaya graduate, Bacchan Devi. Bacchan is a shining example of the ever widening circle of women. When she heard about Matrichaya, she thought because she was uneducated, she wouldn’t qualify. Details
Barb Collins, co-founder of Dining for Woman, was elected as chair of the Board of Directors at its fall meeting in Newark, NJ. Barb takes over the chairmanship from acting chair Barbara Wagner. Details
Debbie Britt, right, and Cindy Ariel, left, with the retreat facilitators.
By Laura Haight
Operational retreats are a fairly common practice among big business and this fall two DFW regions employed the practice to bring leaders together to discuss a variety of topics.
Chapter leaders in the Mid-Atlantic and West had regional retreats in October.
Debbie Britt and Cindy Ariel, co-leaders in the Mid-Atlantic, brought in two facilitators – both are professional leadership coaches as well as DFW members – to run the program, which included a discussion of what is working at the chapter level and what could be improved, an idea-sharing discussion that “harvested” ideas from each member. Details
The day began with a visit to the Spoken English and Computer Literacy programs for girls. Each is a three-month program. These are introductory classes, and the current group of students has had only had one week of classes. All of the girls are from impoverished families. Details
The Pushkar Fair, also known as the Pushkar Cattle Market or the Pushkar Camel Fair, is a world famous event. It is held annually in the month of Kartika (October/November) ten days after the festival of Diwali. The Pushkar Fair is one of the largest cattle markets in all of Asia, and a major attraction for visitors to India. Details
Today is a day that all of us have been looking forward to since signing up for this Indian adventure. As we enter the Vatsalya building, we are again greeted by the lovely Jaimala. Today is a workshop day, so the women are sitting on the floor, sewing, measuring, and marking fabrics with Executive Director Colleen Cline. Details
On Nov. 9, after our visit to the Taj Mahal and on our way to the Agra Fort, we rode through an agricultural area with miles of recently harvested flat land, providing a respite from clamorous and congested Delhi. We saw no villages or houses, just the highway and farm land. In the middle of nowhere, a restaurant appeared, where we had a buffet lunch. Details
The Amber Fort in Rajhastan is yet another architectural marvel. We were all stunned by its beauty, design, and engineering — the result of almost unlimited resources. It was constructed by the Hindu Kachhawaha, who were allied with the powerful Muslim Mughal Empire. It was built in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh I on the remains of an 11th century fort.
This morning we drove to the outskirts of Jaipur into the countryside and down a rugged dirt road to the orphanage run by the organization Vatsalya and directed by Jaimala, who has an MPH from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Details
The astonishing white dome, barely visible in the hazy morning sky, rose above the deep red stone wall. Just this preliminary glimpse of the iconic Taj Mahal was sufficient to bring a collective gasp of awe from our group. We had waited in line for an hour and a half and that moment made it all worthwhile.
We piled into the bus at 6:15am for a short ride to the Taj. Our most excellent guide, Sujata, secured our tickets and we joined the already lengthy line. We had heard the day before that the sky would be hazy in the morning, but we decided to take our chances, As we came at last to the red stone gate, the Taj Mahal was framed in the arch like a mirage. I was surprised to find, in spite of the growing crowd, that each of us could capture that moment on our cameras unobstructed.
Now the Taj could be seen in all its splendor. In the gauzy light, the Taj seemed constructed from the sky itself, floating above the earth. We spent quite a bit of time photographing the Taj and each other in front of the Taj, interspersed with long moments contemplating its ethereal beauty. We also had a group picture taken before making our way down the steps onto long path to the world’s most famous tomb.
We were up and out of the hotel by 6:45 a.m., headed back to Kairali spa for morning yoga in their beautiful garden. Our instructor, Swami Ganeshanand, is the founder and leader of Ananda (Bliss) Yoga. Dressed in traditional white guru garb, he moved us through an energetic practice focused on quick repetitive movements synchronized with powerful exhalations to detoxify, energize, and open the body and mind. The alignment cues were minimal – and as a yoga therapist – I was worried about the members of our group with lumbar and shoulder issues. My sense is that the acute focus on anatomy in the U.S. is a point where East and West diverge. Perhaps the truly integrated practice is a place where the traditional practice, with its emphasis on spirituality and energetcs, meets the modern view of wellness.
We ended with a lovely guided savasana, listening to the urban birds singing their Delhi morning songs. As we came to standing – Swami Ji announced that we would be ending with Laughter Yoga, throwing his arms up into the air and releasing the most contagious laugh I have ever heard in my life! We all joined in, arms extended toward each other with the Swami at the center of our circle. “It is important every day to laugh”, he said. “It releases stress and warms the spirit.” Wise words from our wise teacher.
Travelers on last weekend with their guide – Manuel (center). Back row (L-R): Sue Fernbach, Colleen Blanchfield, Cristina Ramey, Rosemary McGee, Sheila Cook Front row: Lauren McCarthy, Manuel and Lynn McClenahan
By Christine Ramey Atlanta (GA)
Friday morning, October 11th, we are up for our last day in Panajachel where we have until 10am before our journey to Antigua begins. Some of us head off to a used Huipil Market, others take a walk to Lake Atitlan to enjoy the view one last time and several wander the main streets of Calle Santader for some last minute bargain shopping.
At 10am, we load up our bus with our trusted driver of Four Directions, Noel, and take off. Not too long after taking a final ascent up our favorite windy road of Panajachel, we come to a complete stop amidst a parking lot of traffic. We discover that the local community is protesting the high cost of electricity. This puts a less than desirable kink in our journey, as we make the decision to turn around and head back down into Panajachel to take an alternate route. What would have been a roughly 2.5-3hour trip, quickly turned into a 5 hour ride! But, hey, we can at least say we experienced everything Guatemala has to offer, right! Details
Our DFW adventure officially began on Nov. 6, Wednesday, with everyone arriving throughout the day.
We met at Grace Home – situated in a trendy area of South Delhi – and a small group of us shared dinner and got to know each other. After breakfast on Thursday, we gathered together and shared our experiences with DFW. Taryn Walker, trip leader, also asked that we share an attribute we bring the group, and something we would like to work on personally while traveling in Inda. Details
Gloria Steinem, far right, with (from the left) Diane Wege Sherodan, Marsha Wallace, Elizabeth Howard, Jessica Neuwirth and Joan Davidson.
By Marsha Wallace Co-Founder, Dining for Women
My recent tour of the Northeast region was a dream come true,. It began with visits to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., and Susan B. Anthony’s home in Rochester, and ended with dinner at friend’s apartment in New York City, where I had the privilege of spending the evening with Gloria Steinem.
I was thrilled to be able to share the mission of DFW with Steinem, who remarked that our model of fostering meaningful connections and thought-provoking dialogue among our members “is how the feminist movement gained momentum. …Making enough room for discussion is critical for deepening our understanding of the issues.” Details
After attending a fundraising event in Albany in September, the Albany Times-Union followed up with area chapter leader Rosemary Revoir and published a blog post about DFW’s mission and the camaraderie of our chapters that fuels it.
Technology has put incredibly high-end photography features into the hands of everyone with a smartphone, but it hasn’t done a great job of educating this new class of photographer.
This becomes a problem for us when media calls and wants a “high-resolution” photo for print publication. This primer may help you understand some basics of managing digital photos – whether it’s personal or professional.
We started our morning leaving our hotel, Utz Jay, which today I discovered means “good home”, to walk over to the Mayan Cultural Center where we would spend time with our third organization, Oxlajuj B’atz’, or Thirteen Threads.
Receiving a warm welcome by the ED Ana Socorro Cumatz, we enter to find a room full of beautiful Mayan women and an altar that has been set up for us to participate in a Mayan ceremony. We were given some background on the altar set before us. Oct. 9 is a particularly special day as the Nawal-Energy is B’eleje’ B’atz’ signifying the female energy of the universe. Details
We visited Mercado Global on Wednesday and saw a different side to traditional Mayan weaving. Mercado Global has 31 cooperatives with about 340 women across Guatemala. It is a fair trade fashion nonprofit that sells wholesale to Anthropologie, Lucky Brand Jeans, Levi’s, Red Envelope, Henri Bendel, Calypso, and some Japanese retailers, among others. Although it is based in New York, the bulk of the staff are in and around Panajachel. Mercado Global’s immediate goal is to double its number of cooperatives/women in the next year but its larger objective is to change how the fashion industry operates, especially since the majority of workers in the industry are low-paid women. Details
We woke to a glorious sunny morning in Pana today and after a quick (but delicious) breakfast of fruit and banana bread headed off to visit with Friendship Bridge located around the corner on Calle Santander.
We were greeted warmly by Marta Ixtuc, Communications Coordinator and all around promoter of Friendship Bridge’s mission. She gave us a quick overview of the Microcredit Plus Loan Program, which received a DFW grant in 2007, and emphasized their dual mission of providing loans as well as education to Guatemalan women since 1998. Details
After breakfast at our hotel, Utz Jay, this morning we took the one and a half block walk over to Starfish One by One. Melanie was our guide for the day and greeted our group with many hugs and warm welcomes!
After introductions to the staff and volunteers, they gave our ladies an overview of the services which include tutoring and mentorship programs for first generation high school students. Most of the girls are the first in the family to graduate due to many economic and social obstacles. This is where the work of the mentors fits in. Because parents haven’t received formal education, they often don’t understand the opportunities and benefits that can help the whole family after educating their daughters. The girls who are selected enter into a six-year leadership program. There are 220 girls currently enrolled. Since the pilot program in 2008, Starfish One by One has had 13 graduates, 7 of which are in university! For this team, it isn’t about how many, but rather how far one girl can go! Details
View of Volcán Atitlán, Volcán Tomilán & Volcán San Pedro at Lake Atitlán overlook.
By Christine Ramey
Another early day greets us as we wake up in Panajachel for breakfast at 7am. Once our bellies are full and happy, we are all gathered up and ready for our bus ride to Totonicapán, a 100-kilometer ride through very windy mountainous terrain, which left a few of us (me included) a little queasy. We are with our same guide from yesterday, Julio with Four Directions, who starts our morning off with a question, “is your heart happy today?” Which definitely puts one in a great mood! Before we took off officially from Panajachel, we stopped off at an overlook to see the gorgeous view of Lake Atitlán with three of their volcanos set as the backdrop; Volcán Atitlán, Volcán Tomilán & Volcán San Pedro. Some of the ladies even managed to get in some early shopping of jewelry and handmade figurines, as there were street vendors at the stop. Details
We started our tour of five visits to featured organizations at MayaWorks, spending the better part of Thursday and Friday there. MayaWorks uses traditional Mayan weaving techniques to create products for an American market, such as luggage tags and yoga bags. Jeannie Balanda is the director of MayaWorks and accompanied us both days to introduce the women, give background, and translate. We had the wonderful opportunity to meet with several groups of women weavers and seamstresses, as well as some of their students. Details
The Guatemala travelers: Front row L to R- Colleen Blanchfield( Detroit, MI) Sheila Cook (Columbia, SC) Sue Garcia (Erie, CO), Karen Rawley (Weavers Way, PA), Lynn McClenahan (Portland, OR). Middle Row (L-R): Lauren McCarthy (Minneapolis, MN), Sue Fernbach (Asheville, NC) , Cindy Badocious (OH), Meg Sears (Bowling Green, OH), Cristina Ramey (Atlanta, GA), Rosemary McGee (Abbington, PA), Caarol Huckabee (Danbury, CT), Kira Walker (Atlanta, GA- trip leader). Back row: Barbara Myers (Newton, CT), Stephanie Sawyer (CA), Erica Crawford (Santa Cruz, CA).
By Lauren McCarthy
We are all here! A few members of our group arrived early, but as of Wednesday at noon we have all made it safe and sound to Guatemala! We have had sunny and warm weather (about 75 degrees) and felt safe, although it is a bit conspicuous being with a group of 17 gringos.
After we got our luggage (and everyone’s arrived) and went through immigration and customs, we met our driver, Noah; tour leader Alfonso, and group leader Kira Walker, who were waiting for us. Details
Marsha Wallace, DFW Co-Founder, in front of our video in Times Square
By Laura Haight DFW Communications Director
A 10-second public service announcement for Dining for Women is now appearing on the CBS Superscreen in Times Square.
The video, which will run through Jan. 4, focuses on the future for women that Dining for Women works to secure – strong women, who are skilled and able to support healthy and happy families with hope for a better world for their daughters to grow up in. Details
A lot of classy ladies (like co-founder Marsha Wallace and Executive Director Jamye Cooper, to name a few) appear in this photo spread in Greenville’s top shelf magazine, Town. They covered a reception hosted by Women of the Peace Center for Marsha and 65 special guests. – October 2013
Girls are more likely to be left behind, left out, left off – just because they are girls.
This simple fact has been the focus of complex global initiatives undertaken since 2002 that include the Millennium Development Goals and UNESCO’s Education for All campaign. Since then, progress has been made toward parity in educational opportunities at the primary level, but a massive UNESCO global report on gender inequality, notes that those drop off at the secondary and college levels. Details
Editor’s Note: Foundation Rwanda, this month’s featured program, addresses horrific situations that are the result and the legacy of the 1994 civil war. Rape, brutalization, genocide are not pretty and many of our members have been disturbed by some of the images. We provide an array of tools that can be used to learn about our programs – the video is only one. Due diligence – on all of our parts – to make sure we make members aware of sensitive content is important. But equally as important is understanding that there are horrible and ugly things in the world. We can’t help to change them, if we won’t open our eyes to them. This post looks at the sensitive balancing act we must try to walk.
The International Violence Against Women Act is one of several important pieces of legislation around the world needed to stop stoning, rape, assault and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment of women around the world.
By Laura Haight Communications Director, Dining for Women
On the wall in my office there’s a map showing newspapers and periodicals in a portion of the country based on data from the 1880 Census. It is actually one of the first infographics with red triangles showing dailies, blue dots showing weeklies, squares showing periodicals and different colors denoting the number of each in the area. There is hardly a town not covered with dots, triangles and circles.
Today, there are many fewer formal publications and yet probably even more communication channels when one considers blogs, websites, tweeters and more. Nonetheless, when a group, business or non-profit wants to get information out they turn to the established media: newspapers, television stations, magazines and, perhaps, established mainstream blogs.
Often, they find they don’t get the response they expected. So here are five tips to get your press release or information noticed.
Lysa Salsbury wrote a post on the University of Idaho’s Women’s Center blog about her first exposure to Dining for Women when a friend invited her to a meeting. Her article talked in equal parts about the concept of DFW, the featured program (One Heart) and the experience of the meeting. The Women’s Center’s mission – as stated on the blog – dovetails with ours: To promote and advocate for gender equity on campus and in the community through programs and services that educate and support all individuals in building an inclusive and compassionate society.
Editor’s Note: Jeanette is the daughter of DFW co-founder Barb Collins. We asked her to be our roving reporter during the 10th anniversary weekend and record her impressions, special moments and emotions from the event.
By Jeanette Collins
I was 13 when I first heard of Dining for Women.
Marsha Wallace and my mom, Barb Collins, have done an amazing thing: They took an idea and made it a reality. I feel honored to have grown up with what began as one small gathering and is now an international organization changing the lives of women and girls. Details
The Women Peace and Security agenda’s goal is to empower women – representing half the world’s population – as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened by war and violence. Details
A group of journalists known as The Documentary Group were looking for ways to continue the work of a media icon – Peter Jennings – after his death in 2005. They wanted to do the work that he would have done – telling important stories that can effect change in the world.
Their focus became ending global poverty – a pervasive issue with many causes. But as they researched the topic, reaching out to experts in many different fields including international development, public health, peace and security, economic politics, one message came clear.
Cari Class started her DFW chapter in Santa Cruz, CA, nearly six years ago. “That same passion for what we’re doing as an organization, which just rocks my world and gives me a deep sense of purpose in my life, is no less vibrant today than the day I started,” says Class, whose energetic presentation drew cheers and applause from conference attendees. Details
If you talked to your child’s teacher, questioned your doctor or sent a letter to the editor of your paper, then you have acted as an advocate.
“We are each advocating for a host of important community and personal issues every single day,” noted Nancy Delaney, manager of community engagement for Oxfam America. “As members of the Dining for Women community, you’ve each become advocates for the women and girls whose lives and dreams you support.” Details
Food – cooking it and sharing it – is a part of who we are. But it got started that way because co-founder Marsha Wallace, who admits she’s not much of a cook, liked the idea of people bringing food over to her house. For more interesting details, check out this in a Philanthropy Journal story about DFW, Marsha’s contribution to the Women for Women cookbook, and our 10th anniversary #DFW10year this weekend.
A very nice web post from Anchal Executive Director Colleen Clines reflecting on her experience at our 10th anniversary conference. We loved having Anchal there – to display the beautiful quilts and scarves and to help us see and understand more about the impact Dining for Women is having.
It’s nice to see student journalists covering Dining for Women. The St. Rose Chronicle, a student newspaper at The College of St. Rose at Albany, NY, wrote an article about the Albany chapter’s meetings – potluck meets global discussion.
By Patricia Andersson Portland, OR, chapter leader
Update #2 from Borneo: Our luck has been continuing on this trip — finding lost cameras, rains not arriving until the completion of a big celebration, and biggest of all — everyone staying happy and healthy. We’ve just wound up three amazing days with ASRI/Health in Harmony in Sukandana, and are heading off tomorrow to visit the orangutans. In Indonesian, the word orang-utan means “person of the forest” and indeed their word for person is orang, which makes it an easy one to remember. As always, I’m trying to learn a bit of the local language, and have down a few phrases, which I trot out much to the amusement of the local “orangs.” Occasionally I unknowingly toss in a little Spanish too, having only one file in my brain called “foreign language.” Big laughs, at my expense. Details
Beth Gaines and Susan Altman, co-chairs of the Cedar City, UT, chapter were interviewed by The Spectrum. The article is substantive and talks about how the pair learned about DFW and decided to start a chapter.
We began our day with a walking tour of Old Town Hoi An. Well preserved temples, pagodas and ancient homes line the vibrant narrow streets. UNESCO has named this a World Cultural Heritage Site. Centuries old structures gave us the feeling of walking through 16th century Viet Nam. Our guide bravely took us through the Hoi An market to look, not shop! The bustling market was bursting with exotic fresh fruits, vegetables fish ,and meats. Open kitchens serving fresh local dishes, flowers, and spices all contributed to the visual and aromatic delights. Artisans sold their crafts, vendors offered silk scarves, kitchen utensils and so much more. Details
Kay Smith, chapter leader in Provo, UT, is spotlighted in an article in The Daily Herald. The article notes that there are now three DFW chapters in Utah – that’s pretty exciting. Smith is also one of our international travelers and visited Vietnam in March 2013.
Since our group split up to visit the women in the Children of Vietnam program, here are a few notes from Group Three’s meetings. The beneficiaries in our group were: Mai, Nhung, Mui, Trang, Chi, Dao, Bich, and Ha.
This is Mai’s story.
Mai has been in the Empowering Women Program since 2009. She is a hairdresser. Details
Living in Washington, DC, I tend to think of a nation or a destination in terms of its monuments and memorials. So, during this week in Vietnam, as I have seen 200-foot tall Buddhas, statues, etc., I immediately assume “National Monument” and try to find out what it is in my guidebook or from my Vietnamese contacts at home. Finally, one Vietnamese friend texted, “Remember, very few national treasures remain in Vietnam today.” Details
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the efforts of Dining for Women and its “deep and transformational” impact in a letter sent to the organization and released at an event in Manchester, NH., on Tuesday March 26, 2013. Details
Kay Wynn has written a column in the Sulphur (LA) Daily News about why it is important that we open our eyes to problems that are so far away. She talks about how she became involved with Dining for Women and how her faith influenced her decision to become involved.
Why do we travel? Pico Iyer, the esteemed travel writer, says “We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate.” Certainly a Dining for Women trip does just that.
After a full first day, culminating with dinner and a water puppet show with the 13 sweet girls, age 4 to 16, of the Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam foster home, we started the second day slowly with a rickshaw ride. Details
By Lynn Broadbent Fairfax Station, Virginia chapter member
On March 8, our journey began. My flight out of Washington, DC was 14 hours into Seoul. The first lovely surprise was the flight itself and the delightful Korean Air crew. I watched four movies and enjoyed some authentic Korean dishes, and glimpses out the window of mountains, snow, and eventually the beautiful suspension bridge of Seoul. Details
Read Article Kristi York Wooten, a blogger and women’s advocate, writes on the Huffington Post about 7 ways to celebrate International Women’s Day. She mentions Dining for Women and some other great ideas that we can use every day of the year.