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New Riverview Woman’s Club offers membership to all ages

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image Jeanne Burkeson, President

The first meeting brought out 21 new members strictly by word of mouth...

By PENNY FLETCHER

RIVERVIEW — From 18 to 80 or even beyond, women from all over South County and Brandon are invited to join the new Riverview Woman’s Club incorporated in April.

“Anyone who is interested in Riverview may join, although our main focus is to get our membership from women who live or work in Riverview,” said President Jeanne Burkeson, in an interview Sunday, April 29 at Beef O’Brady’s on Big Bend Road, where the group currently meets.

The officers have filed for a tax-exempt 501 © (3) status, but it has not yet been granted. When asked if the club was going to join the national organization, the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs, like Ruskin, Brandon, Apollo Beach and Sun City Center’s clubs, Burkeson said they eventually hoped to.

“Right now, we don’t want to put any undue hardship on new members,” she explained. Belonging to the national organization requires higher dues, and also expenses for other events, and while this group is starting up, Burkeson and Vice president Donna Fore say they hope that will not be necessary.

First and foremost, they want to build membership, execute community betterment projects, raise money for scholarships for students living in Riverview, and form close relationships on a social level.
One of their first moves after incorporation was to join the Riverview Chamber of Commerce.

“I can’t speak highly enough of what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Tanya Doran, executive director of the Riverview chamber. “The chamber did a membership drive in March and got 167 new members. Some of these ladies talked about the club then. They were so enthusiastic and excited that I got excited too. In today’s time, a positive attitude like theirs can make all the difference to a community.”

Fore said she investigated Riverview’s history before forming the club and found that a Riverview Woman’s Club had existed in 1977 but had not been active. She even tried to find the original members, but located only one name, a person who now lives in Tampa, and was unable to contact her.

The first meeting brought out 21 new members strictly by word of mouth, said Burkeson.

Immediately they planned events: one for scholarships and others for luncheons.

Being in business themselves, the two understand that both daytime and evening events must be planned in order to include all types of women.

“Everyone will be treated equally. If a woman wants to say she has a business, that’s fine. If she wants to tell what she does during a day at home, that’s fine too. We want everyone who wants to be included to be included,” Fore said.

From flower growing and arranging to running flower shops – everyone is welcome to talk about what they do, enjoy, make or sell.

The membership drive luncheon is planned for May 16 at noon, after 30 minutes of “meet and greet” talk that begins at 11:30 a.m. It is scheduled to be held at Beef O’Brady’s on Big Bend Road, between the plazas where Walgreen’s and Ace Hardware are the anchors.

“The objective of the upcoming meeting is to promote friendships among members first,” said Fore. “Business, scholarships and community outreach will also play a big part.”

The group’s Mission Statement reads: “To enrich the quality of life in our community by creating an atmosphere of friendship to share life and cultural experiences, to take pride in our city by learning about the environment, its history, its needs, our flourishing business growth, and by purposefully doing something to improve the education of our children.”

Already by-laws have been written, a not-for-profit status applied for, and the core formation group has met four times.

“We are looking forward to seeing who will show up at the May meeting,” Fore said. “The bylaws say 18 and older. One girl we have is from college. And there is no upper age. People in their 80s or more are welcome.”

They hope to promote friendships among different generations by operating this way.

Each meeting will have a speaker. The first two will be County Commissioner Sandra Murman on June 20 and Earl Lennard, Supervisor of Elections on Sept. 19.

The May meeting basically will be to let members meet, talk and offer suggestions.

The club’s officers have asked the Art Class at Riverview High School to design a logo. The club gave the students some guidance, but left the design to them.

“There is a contest with iTunes gift certificates and publicity for the winner. The logo will also be used for business cards, letterheads, name badges and T-shirts. Its visibility will be widespread,” said Burkeson.

Besides the luncheons, a fundraiser for scholarships has already been planned as well. It’s called “Party Yourself Into Shape Zumba Fundraiser” and will take place Saturday, June 9, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Riverview High School gymnasium, 11311 Boyette Road in Riverview. The cost for admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students with a student ID. Certified Zumba instructor “Lolita” and several others will lead the group.

The core group has also been working with Dave Rameriz of the Hillsborough County Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department to find suitable walking trails and native or pristine environmental spots to highlight in Riverview.
For information about the fundraiser, or to offer assistance with it, call Daisy Vega at (813) 546-2329 or Doreen Ernandez (631) 806-5963.

For more information about the club, contact either Burkeson or Fore.

Burkeson may be reached at (813) 334-3196 or by email by clicking here. Fore may be reached at (813) 528-0902 or emailed by clicking here.

Interested women may just show up without calling ahead if they like.

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