Looking to the past and encouraging growth for the future has helped the NC, Charlotte-2 chapter thrive for a decade.
Founded by Sheri Calandra, the chapter is now led by Julia Edelson and Tricia Malinowski. Sheri gathered neighborhood friends and founded the NC, Charlotte-1 chapter in 2003.
“Those were the days when there was no video and we only had information downloaded from the website to discuss the grantees,” Julia and Tricia said. “We met on a fairly regular basis for about five years. Sheri moved out of the neighborhood and continued the chapter with some of us for a while in the nearby South Park area of Charlotte.”
Soon, the neighborhood group decided to meet closer to home and split into NC, Charlotte-2, with Julia as chapter leader. Tricia joined as co-leader about two years ago.
“We decided a number of years back that we would meet every month even if we only had a handful of women able to attend,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have occasionally missed a month – July or August when everyone is on vacation, or a crazy busy month like May or November.”
Each December, the group invites husbands and partners to join in as well.
With more than 40 people on the roster, the typical meeting includes about a dozen members. They take turns hosting, with the hostess typically cooking a main dish and members bringing sides and desserts to share. The co-leaders also take turns handling the administrative duties needed to make the chapter work so well. Recently, the chapter had a high school student participate for several months. Her senior exit project about girls and education in developing countries required volunteer service that she accomplished by presenting at one of the meetings and leading the discussion.
“I think all of our chapter members would agree that we appreciate being a part of Dining for Women because it takes us out of our ‘typical American lives’ and helps us center and focus on more important issues in our larger world,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have had great discussions and look forward each month to broadening our horizons. About a year ago we began inviting a few younger women, one of whom is the adult daughter of one of our members. This addition has enhanced our discussions with the perspective of these millennials. We highly value their contributions.”