Envisioning Our Path Forward

We held an informal program on the theme “Reconnecting: Brainstorming WTB’s Path Forward” on Feb. 20, with participation both in person and via Zoom.

Much has changed since WTB was formed in 2001; yet in many ways our country seems more divided than ever. What can WTB do to build bridges of understanding and friendship with those who may be different from us? How can we find commonalities with those we may think of as “the other”?

We need your help and ideas as we move forward.

WTB president Barb Bova showed a brief PowerPoint presentation summarizing WTB’s founding 20 years ago, our mission statement, some successful past projects, and some current programs and projects. 

Co-founder Danya Wellmon moderated the discussion beginning with her conviction that the need to reach across boundaries of faith and culture and to cultivate respect and understanding for each other is as vital today as it was in the days after the 9/11/01 attacks (whose aftermath launched WTB’s two decades of adventures). She noted how challenging the Covid restrictions have been for WTB, since we are a group that thrives on personal interactions. 

Each person introduced herself, briefly spoke about when and why she joined WTB, and what activities/projects/events she most enjoyed. A screenshot shows the hybrid discussion, some participating in person and some via Zoom.

Some highlights: panel discussions and speakers from different religions, sharing stories and listening to each other, getting to know women of different faiths, panel discussions about how people of different religions honor life events, international dinners, women connecting heart to heart, supporting refugees newly arrived in Syracuse, World Interfaith Harmony Assemblies, and visiting faith communities.

Initiatives to explore:

  • Compile a WTB cookbook
  • Set up information tables at community gatherings such as farmers’ markets and downtown festivals
  • Develop a Women’s Round Table
  • Outreach to sororities at Syracuse University
  • Collaborate with SUNY-ESF on an environmental issue

Memorable programs and activities to reinvigorate:

NOTE: WTB is going to be a part of InterFaith Works’ “Ambassador Guide” program to support a specific refugee family who fled Afghanistan because of the recent US withdrawal. We will not be responsible for legal matters or basic services but will work as a team to help a family settle into the Syracuse community over a period of at least six months. Support could involve adding homey touches to their apartment, helping children in regard to school, driving family members to appointments, introducing them to local attractions and markets—just generally being a person-to-person resource smoothing their transition and becoming friends. If you are interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact Liz Spence at lizspence10@gmail.com.

WTB is collecting items for newly arriving refugees:

  • Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services has requested clothing items—new or clean, gently used. Needed: warm winter boots, socks, coats (especially men’s); causal shirts size S or M; jeans 32”-33” waist, kids clothes (2T- XL).
  • InterFaith Works Refugee Resettlement has requested $25 Gift cards for TOPS markets.

WTB continues to collect calendars for veterans, gently used bras, and cleaned, empty pill bottles.

Bring donations to the Feb. 20 meeting or call Barb Bova (315 415-2797) to arrange a pickup.