Greenwood Women Care’s final Quarterly Meeting of 2022 was held at Destiny of Greenwood on Parkway.
As our members and guests fellowshipped with each other and marveled at the beautifully decorated large meeting room provided by the hosts, they sampled the delicious spread of fresh fruit, Mediterranean delights of kalamata olives, feta cheese, mini pita breads, and yummy hummus, as well as scrumptious desserts. And the beverages included a refreshing apple punch chilled with an ice ring of fruit, fruit infused water, and hot coffee, all provided by our Social Committee.
At approximately 6:00 pm, Mamie Nicholson opened our program and introduced the meeting venue’s hosts, Angela Christopher and Thelma Christopher. Angela thanked everyone for coming. She also shared with everyone the mission of Destiny of Greenwood that primarily feeds those who are struggling with food insecurity in Greenwood and the surrounding areas. Thelma shared an invitation to Destiny’s upcoming holiday fundraising event.
Carol Scales introduced the first speaker for the evening, Teresa Roy, Director of Community Outreach of Cornerstone. Cornerstone services Greenwood, Edgefield, McCormick, and Abbeville counties. This organization, founded in 1973, seeks to reduce the negative health, social, and economic consequences of substance use disorder. Teresa began her presentation by asking, “What does substance use disorder look like?”. The surprising answer was that at least 70% of those who have this disorder may appear “normal” and be successful in most areas of life. She highlighted the variety of prevention services, treatment services, and employee assistance programs that Cornerstone provides. She also stated that Cornerstone is a community distributor for NARCAN, a nasal spray to counteract opioid overdose.
Laura Padgett introduced our next speaker, Kimberly Ready of Oaks Recovery and Willow House. Kimberly and and her husband, Brian Ready, founded Oaks Recovery for men in 2015 for men and in 2021, opened Willow House for women. She shared that she grew up in a home with a parent that struggled with addiction. Kimberly noted that her organization has multiple local and national affiliations and partners, and that programs at both locations include one-on-one recovery coaching, staff on duty 24/7, the twelve-step recovery program, connection through peer-driven models, and more. She encouraged us to follow them on Facebook and suggested multiple ways that interested supporters may get involved.
Lisa Smith presented each speaker with a book purchased locally at McCaslan’s Book Store and that will be donated to Greenwood County Library in their honor. To Kimberly Ready of Oaks Recovery and Willow House, she presented The Year We Learned to Fly by Jacqueline Woodson. To Teresa Roy of Cornerstone, she presented A Head Full of Birds by Alexandra Garibal and Sibylle Delacroix.
Laura Bachinski, Vice Chair of the Advisory Board, thanked the presenters and shared how honored we all felt to hear them speak about their incredible programs. She then spoke of ways our members can “Help Greenwood Women Care Grow!”. Laura encouraged us to not just think about GWC when it is time for another meeting, but to remember the value of what we just experienced and consider how each of us can best share the richness of GWC with someone new. She asked us to think of a woman friend, relative, colleague, community leader, or church member that they felt would enjoy being part of our community of collective giving. Laura noted that a few members have donated gift memberships to enable other women to participate, and some employers cover the membership contribution for their employee. But just as many gift memberships have been provided by nonmembers who support GWCs mission. Laura challenged those who can to enlarge our circle by providing a full or ½ gift membership in 2023.
Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of the Advisory Board, thanked our hosts for welcoming us to this venue and our presenters for their steady, critical work and for reminding us that there is hope for our loved ones and those is our community who struggle with substance abuse disorder. She expressed gratitude to the Programs and Education Committee for another informative evening and the Social Committee for their lovely refreshments and welcomed our guests. But before closing the meeting, she did a fun question and answer session (“GWC 101”) with members about their knowledge of who may become a member (any interested woman!) , the number of guests they could bring (unlimited!), how many times guests may come as guests (unlimited!), and other basics about participation in GWC. Mary wished us all a peaceful holiday season until we meet again in 2023.