I worked in my community as the Cultural Wellness Coordinator and part of my job description included coordinating the annual children’s Christmas party and community dinner. It was during the preparations that I had a lesson in the power of women.
I enlisted the help of a fellow coworker who had young children to help get a group of volunteers together. The group would meet weekly to discuss what was wanted for the party. At first I was concerned that I would not be able to fulfill my obligations. The group seemed a little disorganized. I left open invitations for ideas by the second meeting to get the ball rolling. It worked and the ideas began to flow.
We decided to approach the Salvation Army toy fund for presents to give to the kids. It seemed like a good idea but once we got there, we were faced with a great disappointment. In order to get toys from the Salvation Army, we would have had to get on their list by the previous September. It was already November and time was running out. At that point I had lost hope. My stress levels were peaked. The group was also devastated but urged me not to give up. I felt sure I was going to lose my job because I failed to produce an event the community would remember. At the next meeting I voiced my concern to the group.
These women, many of whom had children of their own looking forward to this party, looked at me with a determination I have yet to see again. For some of these kids, this party would be heir whole Christmas and we weren’t about to let them down. We decided to push forward and approach local businesses for donations. Each and every group member went to about 20 businesses each and from those businesses, we had more toys than we needed. We had so many toys we didn’t know what to do with them. I felt so relieved, my job was saved and more importantly the kids had an awesome Christmas party.
I am humbled by the determination of the women in my community. They come together during the tough times and push through hard times with community in mind. That year I owed so much to those women and gleaned some of the power they posses.