GFWC's Community Service Programs and Special Programs focus on major issues that affect our communities daily, supporting women’s health, preserving natural resources, promoting literacy and equality, citizen advocacy, and encouraging volunteer service and fall into the following areas of focus:
ARTS AND CULTURE
The GFWC Arts and Culture Community Service Program encourages members to promote and support arts activities in their clubs, schools, and communities. It is designed to inspire clubwomen and ignite within them a desire to make their world a more beautiful place. As Edgar Degas once said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” The goal is to create programs and projects that include music, literature, dance, drama, theatre, and other arts-related areas, both traditional and innovative, that cause the world around us to see and feel what they might have only once imagined.
EDUCATION AND LIBRARIES
From the 1996 Report of the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century and the 1997 Hamburg Declaration: Literacy, broadly conceived as the basic knowledge and skills needed in a rapidly changing world is a fundamental human right. There are millions, the majority of whom are women, who lack opportunities to learn or have insufficient skills to be able to assert this right. The challenge is to enable them to do so. Literacy is also a catalyst for participating in social, cultural, political, and economic activities, and for learning throughout life. Having founded over 474 public libraries and 4,655 traveling libraries in the 1930s, The American Library Association credited GFWC with establishing 75% of America’s public libraries. In the 21st century, libraries continue to be an important part of our communities, demonstrated by a 2013 survey in which 90% of Americans, ages 16 and older, said the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community.
The GFWC Environment Community Service Program encourages awareness of our natural resources and caring for the world around us. It offers information and ideas to promote environmental appreciation and protection. Work to preserve, maintain, and restore our natural resources; protect habitats for plants and animals; and develop sustainable habits. Environmental education; care for our air, land, and water; recycling; litter cleanup; partnerships with community groups, schools, and children; support of wildlife; energy conservation; tree planting; and beautification – this is what the Conservation Community Service Program is all about. Work to become more aware of conservation issues, enrich your communities, and become stewards of the environment.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The GFWC Health and Wellness Community Service Program is designed to inform members of issues that affect the well-being of individuals, families and communities by providing opportunities and resources to meet and address needs through volunteering. Through this program, clubs may develop and implement creative projects that promote a healthy lifestyle; increase awareness, prevention, research, and treatment of disease; target personal development; address the issues of hunger, inadequate housing, and homelessness; and/or prevent or correct financial difficulties.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION AND AWARENESS
The goal of GFWC’s Signature Program’s goal is to increase awareness of and help prevent the widespread occurrence of violence against women in communities across the nation—and the globe. One area of focus is Human Trafficking. GFWC clubwomen create awareness campaigns that will help educate our communities about human trafficking. We work to encourage the passage of legislation that will help find traffickers and hold them accountable, and to block legislation that decriminalizes various forms of human trafficking.
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND OUTREACH
Civic and social responsibilities are key components in our lives. The GFWC Civic Engagement and Outreach Community Service Program is designed to actively connect members with effective projects and activities relating to civic and social responsibilities. This program focuses on citizenship, military personnel, emergency and disaster preparedness, and safety and crime prevention.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION
GFWC is a national leader in the fight to end domestic violence by raising awareness about this social issue. The goal of this signature program is to increase awareness of and help prevent the widespread occurrence of domestic and sexual abuse and violence against women in communities across the nation by working with national domestic violence networks, supporting existing activities, working with various established programs, and initiating educational opportunities for club members and local citizens. GFWC is a powerful voice for those who have no voice.
ADVOCATES FOR CHILDREN
GFWC Juniors’ Special Program: Advocates for Children is designed to encourage all Women’s, Junior, Juniorette, and International Affiliate clubs to make a difference in our world by becoming advocates for children. Members may choose to organize projects that benefit children in their community, state, or the world. Clubwomen can become advocates by working to ensure that children are protected from harmful situations, encourage healthy physical and emotional lifestyles, impact policy to improve children’s lives.