GFWC Day In DC
It was an epic day. The GFWC Board of Directors spent the day before its August Board meeting on a whirlwind tour of DC that included a morning White House Briefing, an event at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial, a tour of Arlington National Cemetery, and capped with a visit to theNational Museum of American History.
The GFWC Board was honored to attend the White House Briefing, held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which featured welcome remarks from Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, and comprised of administration officials engaging members on a variety of topics and initiatives, including policy briefings, elder abuse, veterans and military families, violence against women. Ms. Jarrett thanked the Board members in attendance for their unyielding service to the country, GFWC’s 125 years of federation, and kicked off the dialogue by stating, “We do public service best when we learn from you.” She remarked how the administration’s agenda and GFWC’s was in “perfect alignment” and the following briefing reflected that alignment.
Nora Super, Executive Director of the White House Conference on Aging, and Judith Kozlowski, Senior Advisor for Elder Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, opened the briefing with background on their efforts to tackle financial exploitation and elder abuse of seniors. With 10,000 U.S. citizens a day turning 65, it’s an issue that is going to become more prevalent.
Nicole Malachowski, Executive Director of the Joining Forces Initiative and active duty colonel in the United States Air Force, next spoke of Joining Forces’ aim of highlighting positive aspects of military veterans and their families as civic assets. She also challenged GFWC to continue its work for veterans through education, care and homelessness solutions, and offered ideas on simple ways members can connect through community efforts.
Violence against women was the next topic, led by Marylouise Kelley, Director of Family Violence Prevention and Services Office, Department of Health and Human Services, and Jen Kaplan from the Office of Violence Against Women, Department of Justice. Each woman spoke about innovation in domestic violence programs, highlighting the fact that each day, 66,000 women seek domestic violence assistance, and as many as 10,000 are turned away because no service is available. GFWC International President Babs J. Condon made a plea with the officials to work with GFWC on this issue, GFWC’s signature project, where the federation could bring the weight of its membership to bear to make an immediate and lasting difference.
The briefing wrapped with Office of the First Lady Associate Policy Director Jackie Dineen leading a panel on Michele Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative.
From the White House, the Board made its way to WIMSA, for a luncheon and presentations from Brig. Gen. Wilma L. Vaught, Ret., Sandra Latta, Deputy Chief of Legislative Affairs for Strategy and Assessment in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs, and Commander Tamara Lawrence, Director of Public Affairs and Congressional Information in the Navy’s Office of Legislative Affairs. Each woman praised GFWC for its continued support of WIMSA-GFWC clubwomen have donated $482,187 to date-and its passion for community service. Lawrence specifically stated, “Your efforts are felt deep down by those who serve. You don’t realize the example you set.”
The Board then took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery, including stops at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite, before concluding the day at the National Museum of American History. Yes, quite a day indeed.
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