Gulf Breeze

News and Updates

May 2022

Message from our Co-Presidents

As we look forward to the promise of the next season of the AAUW Greater Naples Branch, we are excited as we anticipate all that lies ahead. The Board of Directors has worked hard this past year to develop goals and action plans which we have shared with you at our monthly meetings. We intend to post these plans on our President’s Blog by the end of April. Our members have already begun to work our plan and we know that the 2022-2023 year will be energizing, thought-provoking, encouraging and rewarding.


Given the current pandemic conditions, we believe we will continue to be able to meet in person for our Branch Meetings beginning in October; we plan to have a virtual option for meeting attendance for the upcoming season. Safety protocols will be developed as necessary for the safety of our members.



We are grateful for the success of our programs this past year despite the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic. Our STEAM-in-a-box, led by Charmaine Klein, was a huge success! Our Reading is Fun program is getting ready to start up again in the Fall of 2022!


The refurbished National website (www.aauw.org) is up and running and you can now renew online your membership for the 2022-2023 year. We were excited that our branch achieved our membership goal for the 2021-2022 year and are looking forward to working with all of our members next year. We need YOU and are hopeful that you will renew your membership for next year as soon as possible.


The Branch Board of Directors met for the annual “transition” meeting in early April. The meeting took place at the Collaboratory in Fort Myers. The Collaboratory (formerly known as the Southwest Florida Community Foundation) is committed to bringing Southwest Florida non-profit organizations together to solve all social problems on a stated timeline – they are very ambitious and very inspiring! You may recall that we had a speaker at one of our Branch meetings from the Collaboratory – Leslie Delsis, Senior Philanthropic Advisor. Leslie helped to coordinate our meeting where we met with the President & CEO, Sarah Owen, and Jason Teeters, Nurturing Lead. We discussed our Branch’s goals and action plans and hopes for the future of our Branch.

During the transition meeting, we also addressed the ongoing development of the Branch Strategic Plan and will continue to work over the summer to complete it. We will forward information with our draft plan to membership as soon as it is completed. Additionally, the DEI Committee will work over the summer to develop mission-based goals and programming for our Branch.


At the transition meeting, the Board appointed the following people to fill Board positions:


Susan Barley: Bylaws & Policies Chair

Carol Light: Co-director for Public Policy

Karen Dempsey: DEI Chair


We plan to submit our work from the past year to the AAUW National Five Star program before June 30,2022 and we are currently compiling the documentation. We will keep the membership advised of our progress!


We wish you all a lovely summer and look forward to meeting again in person in the Fall.



Jacky & Karen


Membership Matters
We Look Forward to You Renewing Your Membership for Our Greater Naples AAUW.
   See the article below from our Treasurer, Susan Barley, about renewing your membership.   Membership expires June 30, 2022, if not renewed.
  Our Branch is very active, and we look forward to
 Elaine Wade 
     Membership Director

Dues News

AAUW 2022-2023 Dues Renewals

It is time to renew your dues for 2022-2023. You may choose one of two ways.

Dues: $67 AAUW national + $12 AAUW Florida + $38 AAUW GNB = $117 total.

The AAUW data base is now able to accept your renewal with a credit card.

Go to www.aauw.org. Click Log In in the top right corner of the screen. If you have not yet reset your password, you will need to do so. If you have already set up your account, log into your Personal Snapshot, and follow the directions to renew.

If you wish, you may renew with a check. Send it payable to AAUW GNB, to PO Box 9742, Naples, FL 34101.

This is also a good time to add a donation to the AAUW Fund.

AAUW Note Cards Coming

AAUW Note Cards Arrive in Your Mailbox
The exclusive new collection of AAUW note cards created by the winners of the 2022 Art Contest should have arrived in your mailbox. Information about the artists is printed on the back of the cards. Included with the cards is an invitation to make a donation to the AAUW Fund. This is an easy wonderful way to support AAUW and help keep making a difference in the lives of women and girls. Send your check or make your contribution on the AAUW website.

STEAM 2022 a Huge Success

The 25th annual STEAM Girls Count program, under the leadership of Program Chair Charmaine Klein, broke new records yet again, with 249 local fifth-grade girls served. 232 fifth-grade girls at Collier County Public Schools ("CCPS") were served, together with 17 more at New Horizons.
 The girls received two KiwiCo STEM project kits vetted by Judith MacGregor and CCPS, the book, Girls Think of Everything, signed by author Catherine Thimmish, safety goggles, links to eight professional videos of local women in STEAM careers, plus one of a current FGCU student pursuing a STEM degree, biographies of the video presenters, guidelines and feedback forms, and a STEAM Girls Count bookmark, all packed into totes bearing FGCU's 25th-anniversary logo! Some lucky girls also received books written and signed by author Dr. Ellen Prager, Ocean Scientist (left from the 2020 STEAM program).
This year's outstanding video presenters were: Adrianna Orion: "Architecture for All"; Jennifer Wangler: “Helping People Feel Better;” Jeannine Stetson: “Preparing your Money for the Future;” Dr. Sulekha Coticone: "Whodunit? Learning to Investigate or Investigating to Learn;" and Kaelyn Julmeus: “Passion, Positivity, and Mentors.”  

Here are some of the inspiring comments from the girls:
“I learned that science, technology, engineering, art and math are a huge role for jobs and everyday life.”
Don’t let people tell you that you can’t and follow your dreams.”
"I learned to not give up and keep trying.”
“Keep trying even when you feel like you’re going to run out of STEAM.”
“I learned from the book that accidents can turn into great inventions.”
“I have learned that everybody can do something great.”
“STEAM is more than just a fun day at school. STEAM is something that can help in the real world.”
“I got to see women in my community doing awesome things that inspired me.  
"I am very glad that I got to participate in this extraordinary program!”
“The experiments were so fun! It had hands- on and you could enjoy the final result.”
“It was fascinating to read about the inspiring female inventors, especially the younger females who were about my age when they invented something and came up with a creative idea.”
“If you make a mistake, something good can come of it!”
"I learned that you could do and think of anything by using STEAM, and that girls can achieve and do anything" 
"Girls can do anything anyone can do, don’t let people tell you can’t, and follow your dreams."
"I learned that girls can do a lot of things. Like engineering, science, arts, math, and tech. This whole experience is so inspirational and wonderful."
"Girls can do whatever they want if they really want it. Girls are just as great as boys and can accomplish the same, gender doesn't matter."

Serving on the planning team under Charmaine were Nancy Beights, CCPS Liaison (and more); Laura Candris, Kits, Assembly & Delivery; Susan Coman, videos; Judith MacGregor, video presenters, Kits, & New Horizons liaison; Donna Walker, bookplates; Cathy Hackney (lead on the grant application to Arthrex, with Judith, Laura, and Charmaine), and Pallas Diaz, FGCU contributions.
Jeannine Stetson took delivery of the 500 KiwiCo kits, 250 FGCU totes, and 250 goggles, hosted assembly, helped with assembly, and opened her home for pick-ups for delivery to CCPS after assembly.  
In addition to hosting, organizing, and documenting the meetings and everything else, Charmaine got an article about the program and the Branch placed in the February edition of Life in Naples and prepared it with help from Nancy and Laura. Charmaine procured the sponsorship (donation) from Edward Jones; Pallas procured the sponsorship from FGCU; Nancy Beights persuaded CCPS to do all of the labeling and photocopying; Laura procured the donated books, and Judith procured the platinum sponsorship from Martin Kurtz/Charles Schwab. The lead gift from Arthrex was in response to the grant application.  Thank you to all of the program donors!
The wonderful members who helped with assembly, in no particular order, were: Beverly Friese, Angela Parrilli, Carol Siwinski, Margo Gibbs, Kim Tucker, Cynthia Preston, Paulette Carabelli, Jeannine Stetson. Susan Coman, Shelly Gebar, Mary Schoenheider, Elaine Wade, Maryanna Crawford, Roberta Zimmerman, Linda Gloner, and FGCU student Kim Tucker procured, and me. A number of these, including Susan Coman, Maryanna Crawford, Linda Gloner, Roberta Zimmerman, Mary Domack, and Laura Candris delivered the assembled totes to the CCPS warehouse; several others had volunteered to help with delivery but were not needed since several members had giant SUVs!  
Members of the Friday afternoon book group who attended the November meeting inserted the bookplates signed by the author into the 250 books for the girls. These included Cathy Hackney, Carol Siwinski, Susan Becker, Barb Richardson, Nancy Chism, Laura Candris, and Marcia O'Reilly.  
Thank you to all member and presenter volunteers!  Contact Charmaine to be part of next year's STEAM Girls Count Program.

StartSmart a Big Hit

We were thrilled to provide the 5th StartSmart Workshop at FGCU on April 11th facilitated by Judith MacGregor and Jeannine Stetson. Twelve students and 4 staff attended to learn the proven techniques to maximize your salary.  Pallas Diaz was on hand to encourage students to join AAUW. A new 3-year license for the program was initiated in April, the funds for which donated by a generous AAUW members.

Great Decisions

Putin’s Russia

Russia and the United States have many areas of conflict. Arms control, Russian interference in U.S. elections and support of cyberattacks, and the fate of opposition politicians in Russia have affected US relations with Russia in recent years. With the invasion of Ukraine and war crime charges being investigated, can Russian-American relations ever hope to improve while Putin is still in power? The Great Decisions group will meet in person on Monday, May 2, at 6:00-7:45 p.m. in the community room at the North Collier Government Center, 2335 Orange Blossom Drive (behind the headquarters library). Carol Light and Maryann Pennella will be our discussion leaders. We will also watch a brief video from the Foreign Policy Association series. If you are interested in learning more about the group, please contact Carol Light at her phone or email in the GNB AAUW Directory

Public Policy

Child Care in Post-COVID America

Many women who left the work force during COVID have not returned, and lack of affordable childcare is one of the main reasons. Staff shortages and closures of many childcare centers since the pandemic began have reduced parents’ options. Half of U.S. families report difficulty finding childcare, according to a survey by the Center for American Progress. Also, over the past 30 years, childcare prices have risen more than twice the rate of inflation—faster than the price of food, housing, and other items. That trend is expected to continue, especially with demand for services exceeding supply and the need to pay staff, mainly women, more competitive wages.

Childcare, which encompasses daycare services for infants and small children and preschools, offers more than babysitting. Preschools prepare children for kindergarten and future learning, which is vital for families and the community’s workforce today and in the future. Southwest Florida children are already at a disadvantage: Only 50% of the students in Collier were ready for kindergarten through early literacy assessments in 2020 and it dipped even lower last year, according to the Florida Department of Education.

Please contact your members of Congress to support the Biden Administration’s 2023 budget proposal for investment in early care and education programs. These include the Child Care and Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Preschool Development Grants program. Let’s increase availability of and access to affordable dependent care and pre-kindergarten learning for all children. Doing so will also allow women to return to the workforce and boost their economic security. If you have any questions, please contact Carol Light, Public Policy Co-Chair

Summer Book Group

The summer book group will have an organizational meeting at noon on Friday, May 6, 2022, at Ridgway Bar and Grill in Old Naples.
Members should bring suggestions and plans for summer reading.
Because this is a luncheon, there are no walk-ins and reservations are a must. 
Susan Becker:  smmsbecker@gmail.com by May 4th.
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