COLUMBIA — The General Federation of Women's Clubs' Tuesday Club has received international recognition for its work with girls living in Missouri Girls Town, a nonprofit residential facility located in Kingdom City for abused or neglected young women.
The club took first place in the Advocates for Children division of The Junior’s Special Project award, one of several awards the federation gives each year to clubs that excel at improving children’s health, safety and social status.
The federation's Tuesday Club organizes several activities for Missouri Girls Town, including:
- A bullying prevention program to help build awareness of bullying on the Girls Town campus.
- Speakers who provide career information as well as success stories from women who overcame their own obstacles.
- Making fleece throws for women's shelters.
- Collecting and donating stuffed animals to Serve Inc., an organization that helps low-income families in Callaway County.
- Crocheting hats for infants born prematurely at the MU Women's and Children’s Hospital.
- Making Christmas cards for veterans at Truman Veterans Hospital.
- Making Valentine's Day cards for nursing homes in Fulton.
- Volunteering at the Fulton Soup Kitchen and encouraging the girls to donate pennies from their allowances to pay for meals there.
- A recycling program on the Girls Town campus to collect papers, plastics and metal cans.
- Making pine cone bird feeders to hang on the trees on the Girls Town campus.
- A blood drive.
Mentors from the Columbia-based Tuesday Club visit Missouri Girls Town once a month to teach the girls leadership skills, volunteerism and to have confidence in their ability to overcome struggles.
“The girls appreciate the help,” said Kathy Becker, executive director of Missouri Girls Town.
When Carolyn Dye retired from teaching six years ago, she wanted to contribute her time to community service. A friend of hers told her about the Tuesday Club, and she was immediately impressed by its positive impact.
Now president of the club and a mentor herself, Dye believes the trials faced by girls living at Girls Town can be overcome. “I want to give (the girls) a sense of hope for the future,” she said.
Recovering from the state of hopelessness some girls arrive in isn't an easy task, but it's one Dye is pleased to facilitate. When she and her fellow mentors organized a letter-writing campaign to veterans last December, one of the girls wrote a letter of compassion to a soldier.
"She recognized that she came here alone, but she started to offer help to the people who need it," Dye said.
But signs of progress aren't always so profound. A hug from one of the girls can make Dye's day.
"I am glad that they begin to trust people again," she said.
The Tuesday Club expands its programs for Girls Town every year and plans to bring more activities to the girls this fall.
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