When Marie Ambrosino moved to Wesley Chapel last year, she wanted to join a woman’s club for her surrounding community.
After all, she had been involved with GFWC (General Federation of Women’s Clubs) organizations for nearly four decades — most recently with the GFWC Woman’s Club of West Broward in South Florida.
With the help of social media, word-of-mouth and some other GFWC connections, the GFWC Woman’s Club of Wesley Chapel came to life.
And, it happened in a mere matter of months.
The club was established in February with 12 charter members. That came less than a month after a group of six GFWC-minded women met for dinner with the idea of forming a new club that puts its focus on the burgeoning Wesley Chapel community. Many of the members had past affiliations with other GFWC clubs, such as the GFWC Pasco Junior Women’s Club.
The group is now in the process of seeking its 510c3 status, and is being sponsored by the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club.
The new club is actively looking for new members — women over 18 years old. There is no requirement to live in Wesley Chapel.
Though most members are Wesley Chapel residents, the club’s vice president, Shantel Meyers is a Lutz resident, for instance. “I could’ve joined (other) clubs, but I wanted to be a part of joining a whole new group,” Meyers said.
The group welcomes anyone who is interested, said Kim Hanscel, club treasurer.
“If somebody lives in Zephyrhills and wants to come here (to our club) because they travel here all the time, or whatever’s convenient for them, absolutely they’re welcome to come,” Hanscel said.
Kindness and helping others is the group’s purpose, club leaders say.
Ambrosino, the club’s parliamentarian, said the common thread among the ladies is this: “We are women who care about our communities, and that’s our mission.”
She added: “We share the same bond, and that’s just to make our world better.”
The GFWC Wesley Chapel Woman’s Club is dedicated to community improvement and helping those in need through volunteer service and fundraising events. The organization is likely to focus much of its efforts on domestic violence and awareness, homelessness, hospice, and foster care, among other community issues.
The group is currently brainstorming various club projects for those purposes, as well as fundraisers and events for other local charities, in the way of bingo nights, bunco nights, casino nights, golf tournaments, murder mystery games and so on.
“Everyone in the group is very energetic and looking forward,” club president Cindi Nalon said. “We all just want to jump in and get busy, and do things.”
She added, “I think we’re going to grow quick. We’ve started off quick with 12 members off the bat, and with everything we’ve got going, I think we’re really going to grow.”
Besides working to better the Wesley Chapel community, the group will be mixing in some social activities to build camaraderie — whether it’s seeing a movie, shopping or having dinner together. “We do have fun, as well,” Nalon quipped.
In her short time with the upstart club, Ambrosino has come away ecstatic with her new peer group.
Not only are they “very warm and welcoming,” she said, but they’re also go-getters ready to make a difference.
“This group of women are absolute doers,” Ambrosino said gleefully. “I’ve been thoroughly impressed with them, being in club work for a while and seeing how things go, these girls have jumped right on board.
“I keep telling my friends down south, ‘You’ve gotta meet these girls.’”
In Florida, there are over 9,000 members in over 230 GWFC-affiliated clubs, according to the state chapter’s website.
It’s the many lifelong friendships forged that make each club special, Ambrosino said.
“We help each other, we’re supportive of each other,” she said. “We’re there for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, deaths — the good times and the bad times, and that’s really what life is about.”
The GFWC Wesley Chapel Woman’s Club meets the first Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Parks Ford of Wesley Chapel, 28739 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel. The next meeting is April 1, which will feature guest speaker and member Amanda Markiewicz, director of outreach for Sunrise of Pasco County Inc. — Domestic & Sexual Violence Center.
Attendees are asked to wear teal as a symbol of sexual assault awareness.
Published March 18, 2020