1. What inspired you to apply for the fellowship program?
Christina Valerio shared that she was exposed to Project W while meeting Lauren Sustersic, a Project W board member, at a co-sponsored TCF event. Christina said that Lauren explained to her Project W’s mission of improving the lives of women in Delaware County and introduced her to the Fellowship Program. As a recent college graduate, Christina was looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community and where better to do that than where she grew up and currently resides. It was the perfect opportunity!
Elizabeth Aimee shared that after she became aware of the Project W Fellowship program she was inspired to apply in order to have a chance of positively impacting women in the county that she spent her whole life living in. Elizabeth was keen in fulfilling the responsibilities of the role while at the same time offering her perspective that may have otherwise been unrepresented as a woman who became a teenage single mother. Due to her experience as a young single mother Elizabeth said that the three categories of Grants offered by Project W can potentially make a huge difference in the lives of women and children who she can relate to. She added that it was very exciting to have the opportunity to be part of that process.
2. How would you describe your experience with Project W?
Christina Valerio said, “My experience with Project W has been wonderful so far. Everyone I’ve met from the kickoff meeting at the beginning of the year up to the virtual committee meetings has been super welcoming and gracious. This is a fantastic group of women to be involved with and I’m honored to be a part of it.”
Elizabeth Aimee responded, “I have really enjoyed my experience with Project W, I think it would have been a better experience if we weren’t living through a pandemic and we were able to meet in person but I think that Project W has really done a great job with making health and safety adjustments by meeting online instead of in person.”
3. As a new organization, we are constantly evolving and would appreciate your feedback for any improvements, and would you recommend Project W to others?
Christina Valerio suggested that maybe some more get-togethers with members could help boost morale! She shared that it would be great to meet more ladies through a virtual Zoom happy hour or “coffee date.”
Elizabeth Aimee would absolutely recommend Project W to others. She suggested that one or two Project W members meet with the new Fellowship recipients before the yearly kick-off party. This way the new Fellowship members would see familiar faces at the kick-off gathering. Elizabeth also emphasized the importance of Project W members becoming more involved with the organizations and specifically with the people being impacted by the grants. She felt that although Project W is an incredible group of women trying to help other women, Project W would benefit by understanding more deeply the perspective of those individuals being helped. Elizabeth suggested that not only should we rely on statistics and data during the Grant Application review process, but that we should take the opportunity to meet the individuals in the community who we are trying to impact positively.
Thank you Christina and Elizabeth for sharing your thoughts with our members and for your valuable input. A special thank you to all four 2020 Fellowship Recipients: Brianna Robinson, Kim Eckenrode, Elizabeth Aimee, and Christina Valerio for donating their time and input during this year’s Grant Review process.