By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer
Women LEAD is an organization which brings women together at various ages to support and encourage each other to face life’s challenges.
Many women find themselves alone following the death of a husband, said Women LEAD member Stephanie Temple. Often their families have moved out of the community and the women are faced with loneliness.
“They feel forgotten in a way,” she said. “They are still vibrant, but they have no contact with each other.”
But the organization is hoping to reduce the that solitude with the establishment of the Generations Coffee Club.
Some women have social or church groups or fellow retired workers to bond with, said Temple, but many don’t have that to fall back on. The Coffee Club is designed to bring them together to meet each other, learn about the issues they face as a group, but most importantly to have fun, she said.
“We don’t want this to be a sad experience. We hope they will forge a family with each other,” agreed fellow LEAD member Jesse Purcell.
Starting in March, the group will meet at a rotating list of area businesses. The meetings will begin with coffee and donuts, feature a guest speaker and then break into discussion groups, card games or just time to chat.
“We also want to show the ladies what the community has to offer them,” said Temple.
A specific date and place have yet to be set for the initial meeting. More information will be available in the upcoming weeks at the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, 419-673-4131.
For example, if the meeting is held at a gym, the women could learn yoga or chair exercises.
“Things they could do besides pump iron,” said Temple.
A gathering at the museum would be a good place for a “senior show-and-tell,” she continued, where the members could bring in items they recall using that are not commonly identified today. There could be discussions on home security, baking, credit card scams, beauty suggestions or technology.
One program expected to be offered this summer, Temple said, is to encourage the women to visit the county library and read to young people to help them retain their learning habits once school is out.
“This won’t be based on need,” she said. “It would be open to everyone.”
There are also plans for a senior-senior project in which the senior ladies would pair up with high school senior girls to join forces to solve problems and learn from each other.
There also will be cooking instructions, said Temple.
“Often you hear one of the women say they make something to eat they like, but they don’t want to eat it seven times because they live by themselves,” she said. “We can talk about preparing smaller meals … We hope once we get started, the ladies will come up with ideas of their own that we haven’t even thought of.”
The goal of Women LEAD is to move all women forward, said Purcell. The organization is in its fifth year and recently met to reorganize and re-energize its membership, she said.
“We want to do things which inform us as women and business professionals to lift each other up while helping the community,” she said.
That includes young women who are looking for guidance in planning their future. Purcell said LEAD members are planning to meet with sixth grade girls throughout the end of the school year to influence them and encourage them to continue to strive to meet their goals.
“It is important for girls to learn skills and have faith in themselves,” agreed Temple.
The group is planning its fourth Empowering Conference for March 31 at the Ohio Northern campus. The plan is to expand to a wider number of high school women and offer them programs guidance in leadership skills.
“We want to show women of all ages what is available to them and enrich their lives. That is a benefit to everybody.” said Purcell.