Making an Intergenerational Chapter Work
By Corinne Blakemore, Central Regional Leader and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
When I first heard about Dining for Women in 2010, I was planning to join a local chapter and get involved in the organization straight away. Little did I know that there were no chapters in Indiana or even within a two-hour driving distance of South Bend, where I live. This stalled me for a bit, but just for a bit.
I was and am in love with this organization and I knew that I had to be a part of it. I looked into how to start a chapter: the expectations, time commitment, and startup fee, and that didn’t scare me away. I had two small girls at the time, aged 5 and 8, and I knew that if I had a meeting at my house there was no way I could keep them away. Then, when looking at who I wanted to invite — my sisters with small girls as well as one of my other friends with a very young baby girl — I knew that this wasn’t going to be a typical potluck DFW chapter. But this didn’t stall me either.
I wanted to do this and I thought it would be a good thing for my daughters and nieces to be exposed to. Then I thought about the women in these countries that we support and how everything they do is with their children in tow, and I knew I was going to make it happen and that it was going to be a success. I remember having the first outside person who was interested in joining our chapter, who found me through DFW’s website, and being terrified of what she would think of the chaos that encompassed our meetings. I knew that at any point, we would have to break up a fight over a toy, stop to heat up a hot dog, or tend to a bloody nose! All I could do was warn them but it wasn’t going to stall me.
There is no such thing as a perfect Dining for Women chapter. They come in all different shapes and sizes. They meet in café’s, houses, churches, libraries, and even at tennis courts. But that’s a whole different story! I love hearing my niece ask me when the next DFW meeting is going to be, and I’m proud to say my oldest daughter has just started a high school chapter.
Don’t try to fit in the potluck mold if it won’t work for you. Make DFW your own and let your chapter grow and change with you. Like me, you won’t regret it!