We celebrated our 15th Anniversary with a gala international buffet dinner at Temple Concord in Syracuse on Nov. 6, 2016. President Betty Lamb welcomed members and friends of WTB. After paying tribute to many women who have generously offered their wisdom and skills over the years, she introduced co-founders Betsy Wiggins (a Christian) and Danya Wellmon (a Muslim), who described how they met over coffee after the 9/11 attacks and decided to invite friends to join in the conversation.
The expanding mutual learning process and service to the community, both local and international, has been guided by our council, advisory board, and a series of presidents, including Jan Garman, Ann Port, Gay Montague, Jennifer Roberts Crittenden, Joy Pople, and Betty Lamb. Photos and displays of meetings and projects stimulated conversation about the many challenges and discoveries that have enriched our lives and brought together people of diverse religions, cultures, races, and walks of life.
Our keynote speaker was Ruth Colvin, founder of ProLiteracy Worldwide, who played a key role in launching WTB, urging early members to formulate by-laws, obtain a non-profit 501(c)3 designation, and set in place a leadership structure to ensure continuity. She is celebrating her 100th birthday in December. “100 is only a number,” Ruth Colvin asserted, and reported that she continues to write books, travel to spread the message of literacy, and tutor people, including her current student from Hong Kong who is learning English. Her secret to longevity? An ongoing cultivation of physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development.
The evening closed with a call to action by Helen Hudson, a member of the Syracuse Common Council, and closing blessing sung by Kari Siegel, cantor at Temple Concord.