By Christopher T. Matthews
Last Sunday, The Gladettes gathered under the theme “ Ain’t No Stopping us Now,” a black history program and annual fundraiser, showcasing their junior division of young ladies active in the community.
Presentations were made acknowledging the past and present successful African American women in the country. Each participant held up a card representing various black women in the professional arena, with a brief synopsis on each, including Toledo’s Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson.
Mary Caldwell Simmons, member, stated that, in 2016 are celebrating 200 years of service and we are showcasing the young ladies this afternoon. These young ladies are active in the community, they have worked at the Kitchen For The Poor, they have given school supplies out to Ella P. Stewart, all girls academy, just to name a few activities.
“Ms. Ella P. Stewart was one of our national presidents, so the Gladettes are affiliated with that school because of that connection,” said Mary Caldwell- Simmons. “Basically, their mission is the same as the mother club the Glad Federated club. There is also a scholarship that is given in memory of an assistant supervisor, Sheila Gibson, who passed away.
The Gladettes were organized in 2000 under the leadership of Lillie Palmer; but currently, they are under the leadership of Barbara Campbell. They fall under the umbrella of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, the oldest African American female organization in the country.
Sha’Kyra Washington, a participant, stated, “I like being a part of this group. We are getting our lives together and we are learning to look at life in the proper perspective, making new friends and growing closer to each other. This group promotes growth as a young lady is maturing into a woman. We get to travel and see different places and things. I truly appreciate the experience that I have had and those to come in the near future.”
“This is new for me,” said Idalis Fletcher, who has been here in this group for a year. She likes it, and has learned valuable things that promote character, for a maturing young lady. The program has inspired her to be myself and not follow the masses, and to be a God fearing person. She stated, “I recommend that any young girl interested in this program or any other similar to this, to join. It will be one of the best decisions that they can make.”
The Glad Federated Club will send a delegation of Gladettes to the National Convention this July in Charlotte, NC where they will be celebrating their 200 years of Service.