In the early 1990s I thought I might like to take a look at what was then the local University Women’s Club and see what they did.
I was terrified that they might actually ask to see a university transcript, to see if I was acceptable, and I certainly wasn’t going to let anyone have a look at that. To my relief, they took my word and I paid my money to join for the next several years.
I stayed until I decamped to join a church choir, having to leave since both took place on Thursday evenings.
Talking to Pam Scott, a two-time president of the club, about the current version of the Canadian Federation of University Women, CFUW – Leaside-East York, I was pleased to see that some things remained the same.
There is an issues and actions group to follow up and speak locally on a variety of issues that are policy of the national group. Le Groupe Francais continues to meet regularly and whether it is going for a meal, to a movie, theatre or a book discussion, all the conversation is in French.
One of the big changes in recent years is that a university degree is no longer a pre-requisite to joining. Any woman who supports the CFUW aims and objectives of advocacy for education and women’s rights and the participation of women in public affairs is welcomed.
Scott was telling me that she first heard of the group from a friend when she was at home with three small children. They are now all over 40, and she continues to enjoy her connection to CFUW. As she says, “My life has been enriched. I’ve met wonderful people.”
So, come the third Thursday in October and subsequent third Thursdays, you might think about going to Northlea United Church at 125 Brentcliffe Rd., starting at 7:30 p.m. to see what goes on. Most of the meetings have a featured speaker. This month it is Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls. Who might you find there? Women of all ages, many of them from Leaside, some from East York and some from further afield, approximately 90 of them. The annual dues of $110 pay for the routine running of the club.
In addition, there is a separate scholarship fund. For the past years, the money contributed has been sufficient to provide for a scholarship of $1,500 awarded to each of three girls from Marc Garneau Secondary, Leaside High and East York Collegiate in university.
As well as the monthly general-interest meetings, and the two special groups mentioned above, there are other groups – book groups, bridge groups, gourmet, the outdoor group, special events, theology and world affairs, and you can attend as many of these groups as you can fit into your schedule.
A special fundraiser is a pot-luck dinner to support a woman teacher of girls in Afghanistan. At the last dinner, $1,200 was raised.
You can learn more at www.leaside.org/cfuw
When they kick me out of my church choir, I’ll be back.