Celebrating 10 Years in Vienna/Fairfax

Food takes center stage at DFW’s Vienna/Fairfax chapter, led by Shelley Brosnan and Colleen McLain. The group is celebrating 10 years of wonderful dishes, passion for service, and dedication to each other.

The chapter was founded by Shelley, along with Tamara Drozd. The pair had been thinking about starting a cooking club when they learned about DFW. It was a natural fit, helping them to combine their passions of good food and helping women and children.

The group now has about 60 women on its roster, with anywhere from 12 – 30 attending the monthly meetings held in members’ homes. They start with socializing, then watch the video from the featured grantee and discuss the project. Afterwards, they enjoy dinner together, often focused on dishes from the grantee’s country.

The co-leaders share duties with one handling the administrative side of things (sending emails, processing donations, etc.) and the other leading the meetings and facilitating discussion. They have changed roles as needed. The hosting member sends an email invitation to the group each month. The group’s longevity has come through its leaders’ commitment to flexibility and openness, something Colleen encourages in her role as a DFW Mentor for chapters in her region.

“Find a small group of women you enjoy spending time with and start there,” they said. “Make sure everyone has an interest in global affairs. Don’t put too many rules in place. Remain welcoming to new members – it’s fun to grow outside your normal world! Don’t make this another iteration of your book club – same people, different day. That’s less likely to stay a vibrant group. We have whole neighborhoods who’ve joined, thanks to the initial participation by one person on the street. We really love getting together, and the initial social part of the meeting is very chatty as we catch up with each other. We’ve learned a lot about each other’s lives outside DFW, and care for and support one another during difficult times.”