A Message From The President

April 2021

Practice random acts of kindness – I’m sure we’ve all seen the bumper stickers.  I was thinking about kindness today after a Racial Equity committee meeting because we discussed an upcoming Athena Shares spotlighting homelessness with Julia Gorzka Freeman and Sylvia Campbell.  Sylvia heads up a group, comprised mostly of breast cancer survivors and people from her church, who feed the homeless on Saturdays, and the group is known as “Kindness Matters.”  I walk with the group occasionally, and one of the many things I’ve learned in participating is that, indeed, kindness matters – it matters a whole lot!  While thankful for the coffee, sandwiches and socks we disperse, our homeless friends are mainly happy to have someone to talk to – about politics, the vaccine, WIFI access, and, of course, their problems.  As is true for many of us when we talk to friends about our problems, they don’t necessarily expect us to fix these problems, but they want to know that they matter enough that we’re willing to listen to them.  And, as happens with interactions like these, I find that I get far more from them than they get from me.  Kindness does matter –

I was subbing at a school recently where a co-teacher had the class complete a project that she found at careforthree.com.  It involved the kids writing notes to 3 strangers, saying things like “you are an amazing person,” and “remember to love yourself.”  The notes are left anonymously, like on car windshields, and also ask the recipient to “pay it forward” by leaving similar notes for strangers.  Just another random act of kindness, and the kids loved it!  Random acts of kindness make both the giver and the recipient feel better and reduce stress.  What’s not to love about the idea?

You may be wondering what this has to do with Athena, other than the upcoming Athena Shares (April 29th, by the way).  In truth, not that much, but I think we can always use a reminder to be kinder, whether to Athena sisters or strangers.  As more and more of us get vaccinated and venture back out into the world, especially after the stress of the pandemic, we should consider the impact of facing the world with kindness – it can only strengthen us and brighten the day for others.

So that’s looking forward – let’s look back briefly at what a great month Athena had in March.  The March program, featuring 4 young women who seem destined to be Athena members in a couple of decades, was so inspiring!  Another great job by Jessica Muroff and her committee. Then there was the amazing bonus with the history museum in Orlando, walking us (remotely) through the Ocoee Massacre exhibit – great find, Leslie Stein!  Athena Reads read “Between the World and Me,” and had a fabulous discussion, thanks to Tina Tenret’s hard work.  Lots of committees had a very active month, with Young Women of Promise and Career Assistance Grants sprinting into action, and the Community Action Committee and its sub parts meeting, as well as membership and nominating.  Another “remote” month, but we’re getting closer to seeing each other not just on a zoom screen.  We just need to be patient a little longer – and kind.