Celebrating Our Legacy, Enhancing Our Future


Poughkeepsie Branch of the

American Association of University Women, Inc.

P.O. Box 1908, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601





Volume 31, Number 1                                                                     62 nd year of publication                                           http://www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Follow us at  www.facebook.com/AAUWPoughkeepsie2014                                                                                            September 2017



From the Editor:

Margaret Nijhuis *635-8612* margaretnijhuis@gmail.com


Over the summer, I attended one of the graduations of the Girls Leadership Worldwide  program that has been offered by the Eleanor Roosevelt Center for over 25 years.


One of their themes for this year’s workshop was “Communication is Key.”  Many of the participates made reference to that theme in their short graduation speeches.  As I listened I thought – that is so true.  Whether it be GLW at Val-kill, AAUW, or even Congress – we must communicate!. 


Applying that to Poughkeepsie AAUW – please send the  plans for your Interest Groups, your Community Service Initiatives, or your monthly programs to our newsletter, our Facebook, etc.  Let’s Communicate!  Let’s Share



Interest Groups send your information to Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com by to 10th of the month preceding your event. 


Community Service Initiatives, monthly programs, board members, and anyone who would like an article in our newsletter, send your information to: Margaret Nijhuis margaretnijhuis@gmail.com by the 10th of the month before you want the article to appear.



Facebook information should be sent to Mary Coiteux  mcoiteux@frontiernet.net when you want it posted.



Information for the monthly “AAUW Alerts,” emailed approximately the first of each month, should be sent to Cathy Kinn at cathy@kinn.org  by the 25th  of the previous month.



Board members, projects leaders and anyone that has information on the website or would like information on the website, send this to Margaret Nijhuis margaretnijhuis@gmail.com or Joanne Scolaro joanne.scolaro@gmail.com often so these pages are kept up to date and communicate to our member.


“Communication is Key” to the success of any program or organization – let’s do it!





Welcome Fall!  We hope that everyone had a wonderful summer and is now ready to start another great year with AAUW.


Please join us at our annual Open House where you can welcome prospective members, new members, and old friends.


Open House

Thursday, September 7, 2017

7:00 pm

Hellenic Center

54 Park Avenue, Poughkeepsie*


Enjoy refreshments provided by our members and learn about our Interest Groups, Community Service Initiatives, Annual Events, and monthly programs/meetings.


If you know of a friend, neighbor, or relative who might enjoy our organization, please send their name and address to Sheila Zweifler at sheilaz@optonline.net and an invitation will be sent to them.



The Hellenic Center is located off Hooker Avenue on Park Avenue between Ziegler Avenue and Grand Avenue.  It is behind the Greek Orthodox Church and next door to Temple Beth-El.


The Photography Committee is working on a project to photograph all AAUW members – so if you want to participate, please come 'camera ready'.  (You can “opt out” if you are camera shy!)




Susie Blecker 462-7074 iblecker@aol.com

Sheila Zweifler 462-6478 sheilaz@optonline.net


Online Calendar at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org

Contact: Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com


Aug 31     Board Meeting: 7:00 pm

         St John’s Lutheran Church, Poughkeepsie

Sept 7       General Membership Program: 7:00 pm

         All members are invited and encouraged to attend

         – see details on Page 1

8       Daytime Literature: 10:00 am

         Book: The Snow Fox by Susan Schaeffer

         The Manor at Woodside, 168 Academy, Pok.

         Coordinator: Leona Miller (471-0777)

10     “The Branch” deadline for October.

11     All those books...: 2:30 pm

         Book: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

         Hostess: Karin Fein karin.fein@verizon.net

         Coordinator: Carol Loizides (452-3208)

11     Live Your Dream Conference Committee: 5:30 pm

         DCC, Hudson Hall, Room 315. 

         Contact and Co-Chair:  Diana Babington (471-5385)

12     Movie Night: Time TBD by show

         Movie: Group members will be notified the

         Thursday before - sign up with Sue.

         Discussion: Eveready Diner, Rt. 9, Hyde Park

         Director: Susan Osterhoudt (889-4469)


         Producer: Diana Gleeson (229-8458)

13     Bridge I: 1:00 - 4:00 pm

         Hostess: Gloria Gibbs (454-7262)

         Coordinators:  Linda Ronayne (897-9745

13     Pedal Pushers: 10:00 am

         Bike over the Walkway to Town of LLoyd

         Meeting point: Overocker Road Rail Trail Parking lot

         Coordinator: Sheila Zweifler  sheilaz@optonline.net

15     Aventures en Soleil: 1:00 pm

         Poughkeepsie Farm Project Tour and

         Cooking Demonstration

         Contact:  Janna Whearty aauwsoleil@gmail.com

         Coordinator: Janna Whearty (546-9190)

15     Poetry and Plays - Emily D to Tennessee: 1:45 pm

         Poems reflecting our nationalities or

                  a heritage we admire.

         Hostess: Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com        

         Coordinators: Jackie Sweeney (518/947-6682) &

                  Barbara Hugo BHugo2@gmail.com

18     Manderley Literary Society: 7:30 pm

         Book: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

         Hostess: Shelly Friedman rfriedman5@gmail.com

         Coordinator: Shelly Friedman (462-4996)

19     Cuisine: 6:30 pm

         Harvest Theme Pot Luck Dinner

         Hostess: Mariellen Pangia (473-3545)

         Coordinator: Barbara Lemberger


21     Gourmet: Out & About: 6:30 pm

         The Would, Highland, NY

         Contacts: Mary Ann Boylan (462-2504)

                  Kay Saderholm (229-8545) Ksaderholm@aol.com 

22     Art on the Go: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

         Golf club at James Baird State Park

         Meet at the Parking lot by the restaurant

         Eighteen by Cappolas.

         Lunch will be at the restaurant after the work session.

         Coordinator: Mary Coiteux (226-8275)

23     Bridge III: 10:00 am

         Hostess: Carol Mastropietro (221-8862)

         Coordinator: Donna Reichner dlr0804@verizon.net

26     The Ediss Book Group: 7:00 pm

         Book: Nutshell  by Ewan McEwan

         Hostess: Cathy Lane (229-1036) 

         Coordinator: Celia Serotsky (473-8426)

27     Contemporary Literature: 7:30 pm

         Book: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

         Hostess: Linda Freistzer (266-5427)

         Coordinators: Ann Wade (229-5267) &

                  Linda Freisitzer (266-5427)

27     Mah Jongg & Canasta: Noon - 4:00 pm  

         Hostess:  Kathy Friedman kfriedman33@gmail.com

         Contact Blanche (462-3955) by Sept 25th

         Coordinator: Blanche Bergman (462-3955)

28     Bridge II: 12:00-4:00 pm

         Red Lobster, Route 9, Poughkeepsie

         Coordinator: Cathy Kinn cathy@kinn.org 

28     Pins & Needles: 7:00 pm

         Project: Alcohol Ink Tiles

         Hostess: Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)        

         Coordinators: Pat Luczai (463-4662) &

                  Mary Ann Williams (868-7465)      


Trekkers: Watch for emails from Tori. 

         Contact Tori to be put on her list.

         Coordinator: Tori Smith (345-0043)



No meeting in September


Diversity: Out of One Many People:

         Coordinator: Jacqueline Goffe-McNish


Photography Club:

         Coordinator: Carol Demicco (845-204-9553

World Travelers: No Meeting

         Coordinator: Jeanette Cantwell (452-4188)


Word Games: No Meeting

         Coordinator: Susan Doyle (914/474-1232)




Oct 12: Bettering our Community: Using Resources Wisely,

         page 7.

Oct 12: New Member Reception

Oct 21: District IV Conference, 9:00 –  1:00,  Moving
         Forward: Influencing the Future,
page 6

Oct 29: Woman of the Year, Beekman Arms, page 5

Nov 4: Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference, DCC, page 8

Apr 15, 2018: Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction, The Links

Apr 20-22, 2018 AAUW-NYS Convention, Cortland


PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE                

Maria DeWald *266-4960* mfdewald@yahoo.com


As we enter our new membership year, my thoughts are on how very speedily time goes by.  It truly seems like yesterday that I began my term as President for the Poughkeepsie Branch and here we are more than half way to the end of my two-year term!  As I look back, while many things have changed over this year, I wanted to note some things that have remained the same.


The first is a sincere welcome to all our continuing, new and potential members and my anticipation of another great year of working together.  Another is my theme and logo which remain “Celebrating our Legacy, Enhancing our Future” represented by the musical symbol pictured here, the “C” CLEF.  There are many kinds of clefs although most of us are most familiar with the well known “G” CLEF we all learned back in elementary school.  However, I chose this unusual one because we are not your usual membership organization (and, okay, also because I like the way it looks!).


The third thing that hasn’t changed is AAUW’s mission which has been ongoing since 1881.  Oh, there are modern updates but the same themes, all centered upon improving the lives of millions of women and girls.  The same is true for our branch, going strong since 1925.  The number of interest groups might change, the current focus of our community service initiatives might vary, but the enhancement of our personal and community well-being remains the same.  Of course, what also stays the same, is that our members continue to be wonderful, passionate, interesting, strong women!


So, back to the time issue I began with. Really, as we count our resources, our greatest commodity is time.  How is it that we will spend that precious commodity this year?  How will we seek to enrich the future for all women and girls…as individuals, collaboratively, in union with our community, as legislative advocates?  Whatever way you choose to spend your time, whether it is on one big thing or a series of great little things, please know we appreciate that part of that time is “AAUW time”!  Each of you contributes so much to our branch and our organization and we simply could not do it without you.


I hope to meet many of our prospective, continuing and new members at our annual Open House on Thursday,

 September 7 as well as at our other many programs and events.  Onward and upward as we strive to “Celebrate our Legacy and Enhance our Future.”



June 30, 2017- June 30, 2018


Elected Positions


President                                      Maria DeWald

Program Co-VPs                         Monique Jones

                                                      Sandy Lash

Membership Co-VPs                 Susie Blecker

                                                      Sheila Zweifler

Development VP                        Jocelynn Banfield

Communication VP                    Bonnie Auchincloss

Secretary                                     Kathy Friedman

Treasurer                                     Diane Jablonski

Membership Treasurer              Mary Anne Hogarty


Appointed Positions


Community Service Initiatives Barbara Hugo

Diversity & Inclusion                Jacqueline Goffe-McNish

Historian                                      Eileen Hayden

Honor and Awards                     Betty Harrel

Interest Groups                           Barbara Lemberger

International Relations              Sabashnee Govender

Legal Advocacy Fund               Janna Whearty

Newsletter Editor                       Margaret Nijhuis

Nominating                                 Barbara Van Itallie

Public Policy/AAUW Priorities  Patricia DeLeo

Publicity                                      Cathy Kinn


Off Board Positions


Assistant Historian                   Barbara Hespenheide

Assistant Newsletter Editor      Kathy Friedman

Assistant Secretary                    Susan Doyle

Communications Assistant       Joanne Scolaro

Database Manager                     Claudette Hennessy

Facebook Manager                    Mary Coiteux

Irene Keyes Fund                      Marcine Humphrey

Photography Committee           Bonnie Auchincloss

State & National AAUW Liaison  Mary Lou Davis

Tech Support                              Mary Ann Boylan

Webmaster                                  Mary King


Also we have 7 Community Service Initiatives,

21 Interest Groups and 9 Special Events, all with Chairs and/or Coordinators.  Complete list under About Us/Officers at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org


Welcome to our newest members:


Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Christine Romano

Martha Steuding Bilsback

Susan Kennen

Merilee Osterhoudt





Doris Kelly passed away at her home on June 6, 2017 after a yearlong fight with cancer.  On July 16 many AAUW members joined others in a celebration of the life of Doris.  Below is a memory of Doris from her good friend, Pat DeLeo.


While many will remember Doris Kelly as assertive activist constantly fighting for the rights of women and children, or as a dedicated elementary teacher, or as a peace activist marching with Pete Seeger, or as a candidate for Congress, those of us that knew her well will remember her for something else: her love of the dance.  Doris was a ballroom dancer who could tango, cha-cha, rumba, fox trot, swing, waltz and put on her boots and country line dance.  She had her favorite dance spots, The Moose Club and The Elks Club, and she took classes.  At AAUW and NYSRTA conventions she was Lady of the Dance who mustered everyone to get on the dance floor.  Whatever your memory of Doris, she will be best immortalized at Val-Kill.  A scholarship fund has been established in her name and will go to deserving girls from low economic families to participate in the Girls' Leadership Worldwide Program.  Donations may be sent to Doris Kelly Scholarship Fund, Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, PO Box 255, Hyde Park, NY  12538. ■



Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


Thanks to a recent grant from 4Imprint.com, the Leading to Reading project now has 200 new string bags.  The funds were received from OneByOne, the company’s charitable arm, to be used for any of their products.


Bags were recently filled with books, bookmarks, and book reviews written by middle school students.  They were distributed to students attending the Rural and Migrant Ministry camp in Holmes, New York.  Another set of the bags sported books and stuffed animals and went to children at Grace Smith House.


The logo on the bags was designed by Leading to Reading volunteer Mary Coiteux.  A big thank you to the company and all of those involved in distributing the bags!



Ann Pinna ajpinna@aol.com


Since 2011, the AAUW Court Watch Program is still strong and effective.  Our loyal team of 12 volunteers continues to monitor Family Court proceedings every month, advocating for victims of domestic violence and citing systemic issues in the justice system.  If you would like information about training to become one of our dedicated court monitors, please email Ann Pinna at ajpinna@aol.com . ■



Barbara Van Itallie bvanitallie@yahoo.com


AAUW’s newest initiative, Math Buddies, is seeking more volunteers for the coming school year.


Math Buddies work in grades one through four in the City of Poughkeepsie schools helping struggling students with their math work.  Volunteers work one-on-one with the students or with groups in the classroom, as specifically directed by the classroom teacher.  Volunteers typically offer about one hour per week although there is often flexibility in scheduling.  Potential volunteers need not be elementary or math teachers and should not be concerned about any new approaches to math since the material is very basic.


I personally find this an extremely rewarding experience.  Any extra help in both math and confidence-building is particularly needed.  Please contact me for more information. ■




Annual contributions from members help defray the expense of publishing The Branch and other communication expenses.  All patrons and sponsors are listed in each monthly newsletter unless anonymity is requested.


Patrons ($25 or more)

Anonymous, Marge Barton, Sharon Clarke, Ruth Gau,

Gloria Gibbs, Sandy Goldberg, Elizabeth Harrel,

Shaileen Kopec, Margaret Nijhuis


To add your name to the list, mail a check payable: “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.” to Margaret Nijhuis, 9 McAllister Drive, Pleasant Valley, NY 12569


Honor our Woman of the Year 2017

Mariel Fiori

Managing Editor of La Voz

Sunday, October 29, 2017

12-3 pm


Beekman Arms

6387 Mill Street

(Corner Rte 9 & Market Street)

Rhinebeck, NY


To use Pay Pal/Credit card or to get Directions go to www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org


Cash Bar & Hot Luncheon


Name __________________________________________

Phone _________________________________________

Email __________________________________________

If you are making reservations for more than one person, please list all additional names and choices on the back.


Meal Choice:

Dutch Style Turkey Pot Pie                   _______  

Tournedos of Pork Tenderloin             _______

Grilled Fillet of Atlantic Salmon           _______

**   If you have any dietary concerns, please let us know:

       Vegetarian _______ Gluten Free _______


Price: $50 (includes gratuity)/ $52 if using PayPal or Credit Card


Reservations and checks due: October 17, 2017

Make checks payable to “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc.”

Mail to:    Betty Harrel

                  28 Laffin Lane

                  Poughkeepsie, NY 12603

Questions: Betty Harrel  845/462-2141, bharrel28@gmail.com


If you are unable to attend and would like to make a contribution in Mariel’s honor, please send it to Betty Harrel at the address above.  Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW is a 501(c)3 organization.


Mariel Fiori


Mariel Fiori, MBA, is a journalist, translator, educator and entrepreneur.  She co-founded and is the managing editor of the Bard-sponsored La Voz, which is the only Spanish language print publication serving the 140,000 Latinos in the Mid-Hudson Valley and Catskill regions since 2004.  She co-hosts a weekly Spanish language news radio show for WGXC and WHDD, and is a bilingual business counselor and instructor with Women Enterprise Development Center Mid-Hudson Valley.


Fiori holds an MBA from NYU and a bachelor's degree from Bard College.  Before coming to the United States in 2003, she lived and worked in Spain and Buenos Aires, her hometown, where she earned a degree in journalism at the Catholic University of Argentina.  She has worked for a variety of media groups in Argentina, Spain and the United States.


Mariel has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, the latest in August 2017 when she was an honoree at the Northern Dutchess NAACP 2nd Annual Freedom Banquet.  She is a member of many organizations including AAUW and has served on various boards.


“Accepting the status quo is not part of my blood, my upbringing or my background. We need to use whatever tools we possess, be it education, network, time or money, to help improve the part of the world where we live. In my case, I do it through my passion for communications”, ―Mariel Fiori.



Sponsored by Poughkeepsie Branch, Inc.


Moving Forward: Influencing the Future


Ø  How can AAUW members make our voices heard?

Ø  Presentations on
 Health, Education and Governance


Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017


Location: Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, an urban renewal project in the City of Poughkeepsie (8 North Cherry Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601).  Parking available behind the building.



8:45 - 9:15 Registration and refreshments


9:15 - 9:30 Opening Remarks: Hudson River Housing


9:30 - 10:25 Session One: Women’s Health: The current status of women’s access to affordable health care and the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood.

Speaker from Planned Parenthood


10:35 - 11:30 Session Two: Women and Education: Latest information on status of public schools, charter schools, vouchers and potential State Constitutional Convention.  Speaker from NYSUT


11:30 - 12:15 Catered Lunch


12:15 - 1:30 Session Three: Women in Politics: Getting to 50% - Elect Her: How to support women candidates.

Panel discussion by local women involved in politics. Discussion with question and answer period.


1:30 - 2:00 Closing and Processing: What can I bring back to my branch?


Post Conference: Visit local historical sites or walk on the Walkway Over the Hudson.  (Just 5 minutes away!) Stretch your legs and finish the conversation.


Registration Fee of $22 will include continental breakfast, and lunch.

Send check payable “Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW”  by October 15 to:


Peggy Kelland

13 Susan Lane

Poughkeepsie, NY 12603


District IV includes Adirondack, Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown, Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and Schenectady Branches.  Come and enjoy meeting member from these branches.



Maria DeWald *266-4960* mfdewald@yahoo.com


Even though we sometimes resist giving up time for leadership training, AKA professional development, it really is a motivating and informative experience and time well spent.  So it was for AAUW-NYS annual summer leadership conference

 held at Cazenovia

College this past

July 21-23.  Here are a few highlights from this rewarding and fun weekend:


Ø  State President Roli Wendorf was warm and gracious as she gave her State President’s report

Ø  Cordy Galligan, AAUW VP for Marketing and Communications, stayed with us all weekend giving several excellent workshops throughout the conference.  I came away knowing a lot more about: AAUW resources including many videos (all of which can be found on YouTube and the National website), research programs/workshops and the Two-Minute Activist program (which we all signed up for on the spot with our cell phones your time will be coming!). I also learned sensible and easy ways to harness our energy into AAUW action and “small but mighty” ideas that make a difference ranging from sites for making terrific posters easily (www.canva.com ) to building might through collaborations to giving short and sweet “elevator speeches to attracting new members (AAUW is a national membership organization that changes the climate for women and girls) and to clarifying your purpose (you can’t be mighty if you don’t serve a purpose!).

Ø  A presentation by Brockport junior Bailey Morse, winner of the AAUW Campus Action Project Grant for her team’s month long effort to “Start a Revolution” to create substantial change regarding understanding biases, developing cross cultural competencies and featuring a “Know your Rights Panel.”

Ø  A presentation by Dr. Karen Pastorello, Women and Gender Studies Program Chair, Tompkins Cortland Community College, on Labor Feminism

Ø  Break out meetings with our counterparts (training and specific job skills) and our District IV branch members

Ø  Game night, movement with a ballet teacher, interaction with members from across the state, nice dorms, good food, an all inclusive price of $115, and ice cream all the time!

Ø  All facilitated by our own Betty Harrell, AAUW-NYS Administrative Director, and friends!  Great job Betty!


Worth it…absolutely! ■


Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


Ready, Set, Recycle

Bettering our Community: Using Resources Wisely


As good stewards of our community, we should be recycling around 80% of what we discard.  Plan to join us for the upcoming meeting, Bettering our Community: Using Resources Wisely.  It will be held on:


Thursday, October 12

7:00 pm

The Barn at Vassar College’s Environmental Cooperative


 Learn about food recycling as well as ways we can recycle more items in our homes.  Speakers include Siennah Yang, Coordinator of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine in Mid-Hudson New York and Atticus Lanigan, General Manager of Zero to Go.

Check the upcoming issue of The Branch for further information.  We hope to see you there!


A resource was developed earlier this year by Barbara Van Itallie and Mary Ann Boylan “How to Get Rid of Stuff.”  It is available at www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org /Resources/Useful Links



Sabashnee Govender  *914/850—0195*  Sabashnee@aol.com


Days for Girls


This summer members from AAUW Poughkeepsie have partnered with Days for Girls International. We established The Poughkeepsie NY Days for Girls Team. Our members together with other members of the community have been volunteering in making feminine Hygiene kits for girls who miss 5-7 days of school each month because of lack of feminine hygiene products.


Our project started off with an inspiring introduction to Days for Girls (DfG) by AAUW Poughkeepsie member Gwen Higgins on June 19, 2017.  Followed by 2 work sessions where we learned to cut patterns and make kit components.


When girls from under privileged communities and refugee camps miss 5-7 days of school each month, they often find it hard to catch up and most drop out of school severely impacting their socio-economic situation.  Girls in refugee camps have the added risk of being raped when they are left alone in their camp during this time,


“DfG is an International Organization whose mission is to create a freer, dignified, and educated world, through providing lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education.  The vision for DfG is: Every girl and woman with ready access to feminine hygiene, by 2022.” 


Thus far, Days for Girls has reached over 640,000 women and girls.  They have 800+ Chapters and Teams that are active in 100+ countries and have over 50,000 volunteers


This hygiene solution is a little thing that becomes a big thing quickly, when millions of women and girls suddenly have what they need to stay in school, pursue opportunity, and succeed.


Days for Girls envisions a world where menstruation is no longer a source of shame and taboo.  Through volunteers, through enterprises, and through public and private partnerships, Days for Girls is working to shift how women and girls see themselves and are seen by their communities”


For more information about Days for Girls, please check out this website https://www.daysforgirls.org .  There are many opportunities to volunteer and participate in the Poughkeepsie NY DfG team.  Please contact me for more information Sabashnee@aol.com  or poughkeepsieny@daysforgirls.org


Currently we are meeting at Vassar Hospital Conference Room A on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month from

3-5 pm and would love for you to join and assist us in giving girls back 5-7 days of school each month. ■



Membership Programs

Sandy Lash *845-227-4650* sjlash@optonline.net

Monique Jones *845-849-1692* myj712@aol.com


The monthly membership programs offer a presentation of general interest for members and guests and also provide a time for all to enjoy the company of their fellow AAUW members.  They are usually held on the 2nd Thursday of the month.  When needed, business of the organization will also be conducted at these gatherings.  Join us to discover how we can make a change for the better.  Our branch programs are free and open to the public so invite family, friends and colleagues to join you. 


Our exciting year will begin on Thursday, October 12th with a program on current recycling projects in our community. Siennah Yang and Atticus Lanigan will offer two perspectives on sustainability. This will include a discussion about local efforts to reduce food waste and food insecurity as well as a general look at recycling. The October program will be held at The Barn at Vassar College Environmental Cooperative, 50 Vassar Farm Lane, Poughkeepsie.


On November 9th, we will have a program by Sabeeha Rehman.  Ms. Rehman authored Threading My Prayer Rug: One Woman’s Journey from Pakistani Muslim to American Muslim and will speak on topics covered in this memoir. Stay tuned for more details about this offering.


Planning for the remainder of the 2017-2018 year is underway and other exciting programs will be announced as they are confirmed.


Please check The Branch, our monthly newsletter, and our website www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org  for program details. ■



Patricia DeLeo *883-5181* pattide2@optonline.net  


The Past is Present and the Future is Tense


America reacts as government officials leak threats of internal communist influences (1954/2017).  Dignitaries and representatives, along with friends and allies, meet in secret and devise their own strategies and agendas to profit. Government corruption reaches a high (1921-22/2016 ).  Chants of "lock her up" echo against women running for president (1872 /2016).  Women get the right to "bear/bare arms" (1787/2017).  Yellow Journalism and cries of "Fake News" threaten the free press and its credibility (1900/2016).  A woman flees the country for fighting for the right to birth control, a term she coined. Her actions and discussion were considered a violation of obscenity laws but later turned into a national organization to protect women's health which once again remains under threat (1914/2017).


The New Colossus: Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.  The Newer Colossus:  Don't give me anybody; The Muslim ban; The Wall (1883/2017).  Isolationism and G20(-1 ); 195-1= 3 countries not in Paris Climate Agreement (1930's/2017).  The cover-up is bigger than the crime (1972/2017 ).  A candidate wins the electoral vote but loses the popular vote (1876/2016).  Rallies for Youth (1940's/2017). The list goes on.


Aren't we supposed to learn from history?  Progress as a cultured and educated society?  Improve the quality of living for all people regardless of race, sex, religion?


Instead we find ourselves scrambling to save America's education system: to maintain separation of church and state and not fund religious and charter schools with tax payer dollars while we suffer Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's attempts to demean and defund public education.  We march for reproductive rights and medical care for women and children.  We witness women being ignored in the Senate and House although Senators Collins, Murkowski and Capito were able to halt 48 senators with their 3 no votes on the repeal of Obamacare and then witness Collins and Murkowski lead a charge to stop the repeal and replacement of healthcare.  13 male senators drafted the legislation and barely mentioned women's healthcare except when tied to abortion. 


How do we avoid reliving the mistakes of history?  By staying actively involved.  Register for the Two Minute Activist at www.AAUW.org to keep abreast of the issues and communicate directly with your Congressmen and Senators.  You will receive emails about current women's issues and legislation and a two minute opportunity to directly message your representatives.  Join the AAUW Action Network today.  (Editor: Communication is key!) 


Your future doesn't have to be tense.




Dear AAUW Members

from Barbara Van Itallie


Thanks to the AAUW board and membership for honoring me this past year with an Educational Opportunities Fund named gift.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my roles in the branch, including participation in interest groups and volunteer activities.  And so since I get a lot of fulfillment and enjoyment from my participation, I want to give back by taking an active role in the leadership of the organization.   I am please to be associated with AAUW’s EOF fellowships and grants program, given  to women to conduct research or further their education. ■



Diana Babington *471-5385* dibab@aol.com


Our Committee meeting dates: Mark Your Calendar!


September 11, 2017

October 2, 2017

October 16, 2017

October 30, 2016


All our meetings are at 5:30 pm at DCC in Hudson Hall, Room 315.  Everyone is welcome!



We need many volunteers to attend school open houses in September!  This is the most urgent need at the moment.  Please contact Bonnie Auchincloss

(635-5191) or bauchincloss@gmail.com  


One evening or more – only takes a few hours - information, handouts and visuals will be supplied.



We need volunteers on the day of the event (November 4). Contact Diana Babington (471-5385) dibab@aol.com



Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


who brought stuffed animals to the annual dinner in June.  Leading to Reading distributed them to children at Grace Smith House during the summer.  In the midst of a heart-wrenching situation, the animals and books gave the children something to smile about.  Thanks for your care and concern!





Presented at the

June Annual Dinner


Each year, our branch honors a member who represents the “foundation” of AAUW.  She has contributed her energy, enthusiasm, and talents to AAUW but is rarely in the limelight.  Through her efforts, she helps to further our mission, increase branch visibility, and make others feel that they, too, are a vital part of who we are.


This year’s honoree is Gloria May Gibbs.


Through her quiet enthusiasm, she has brought in countless new members and helped to further involve those who have already joined.  Many of our interest groups were formed and grew due to her influence.  She was the impetus for Bridge 2 and Bridge 3 and has been an enthusiastic player and teacher.  In the Daytime Literature and Cuisine Groups, she made sure that people had rides to meetings and felt welcome.  She has served as both a cheerleader and hostess for the Word Games group and has again involved many new members.  Gloria played a vital role in organizing the Diversity initiative and has always helped to ensure that we enhance our diversity in all we do. As part of the World Travelers’ Interest Group, she has often provided refreshments.


She has also helped to spearhead special events, such as a musical benefit program at the Howland Art Center and the UN trip which included the South African and Israeli Embassy visits. Countless goodies bags were stuffed by Gloria for the Live Your Dream Girls’ Conference.  She is a valued member of the Writers’ Tea & Benefit Auction committee and has played a vital role in collecting items for the auction. 


In all, Gloria has been a wonderful role model for all of us.  The presentation of her award was a delightful part of the  annual meeting in June.  Congratulations!





Through our members and generosity of Irene ‘s family we are able to offer a scholarship from The Irene Keyes Memorial Fund to send talented young college women to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders held each year.  We wish to remind our members that contributions to this Fund are always welcome!  The following is from Qadan Mohamed’s reaction to NCCWSL


By Qadan Mohamed - Marist College student


I am beyond grateful that I was selected and awarded this scholarship. Opportunities like this scholarship make a significant difference in the lives of driven and passionate women.                                    Continued in the next column...


My experience at the NCCWSL 2017 conference was simple but powerful.  I learned a lot from listening, observing and engaging.  Understanding one's self worth was a crucial theme I was constantly reminded of at this conference.  Growing up, there were countless times that I went to bed wishing I could wake up different. (Note: Qadan was born with one arm)


I did not like how I looked or felt when I was teased.  Being different is not “normal” in the eyes of others and I wanted to feel “normal.”  It was not until I graduated from high school that I started to love and accept myself.  I am still learning to build my confidence.  It has only been a few years since I started to stop focusing on the need to feel “normal” to reach my full potential and Jessamine Stanley’s journey was a perfect reminder that it is never too late to realize your own value.  Small things like going out for shopping can be challenging for me because I have to think about what to do with the empty sleeve or how to wear a sleeveless dress or top.  I always thought that my trouble of loving myself fully was about my missing arm, but now I know it has always been about my lack of self love and respect.  Stanley could have quit the second time she tried yoga just like she did before but the difference was persistence and positivity.  Even though I did not have the chance to talk to Stanley in person, I am grateful that I was introduced to her and for the great cause she stands for.


The 2017 Women of Distinction Event was a very eventful and empowering aspect of this conference.  I had the opportunity to meet and talk to people like Amanda Nguyen.  It is one thing to meet an inspirational person, but it is another to look beyond their success to realize that their change did not happen overnight.  I had a few minutes to talk to Amanda Nguyen to thank her for her bravery and persistence for her foundation” Rise.”  In many communities sexual assault survivors are blamed for what happened to them.  Some girls are married off to their rapist to save her and her family's reputation.  So seeing and meeting Nguyen was a perfect reminder that we need to persist and accept challenges that come our way to make a difference.


My experience from this conference gave me a better vision of what lies ahead in college and after.  As an international student and first in my family in college, I am committed not only to creating opportunities for my future, but also for other girls and women in my community.  I met strong, educated, and transformative women at NCCWSL, and I want to see more women like them.  So, I feel like my experience at this conference will go a long way, and I will continue to advocate for creating more leadership opportunities on campus. 




Barbara Hespenheide, Eileen Hayden


Another trip to the local history room of Adriance Library in downtown Poughkeepsie lets us continue to examine our AAUW branch history.  Minutes of board meetings in 1955 report on study groups in International Relations with a focus on Southeast Asia, the status of women, far Eastern literature and Music/Art Appreciation.  The balance in the treasury was $1,921.25.  Our banking was done at Marine Midland, which is familiar to long time members.  


A request came from National AAUW in 1966 for every member's social security number and also zip code  (introduced in 1963).  Dr. Spock was to speak at Vassar on "Child Rearing in the Atomic Age."  In 1975 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our branch and the International Women's Year, we began our custom of honoring outstanding local women with our Woman of the Year award.


Records and minutes are available for all years in between, but our look back will jump to approximately 25 years ago.  It was reported in 1990 that "for the third year in a row, we will have to use money from our contingency fund to cover our expenses."  After local residents had attended a Moscow Peace Symposium, our members were asked to begin correspondence with Russian women.  Our major fund raiser was the Hudson Valley Designer Craft Show. 


In 1992 we had 112 members.  One project was to establish a small library at Camp Beacon, which became Beacon Correctional Facility.  We raised funds for scholarships by raffling a signature quilt we made to honor Eleanor Roosevelt and other well known women.  Barbara Markell, pictured with the quilt, sent fabric swatches for signatures and many were returned including Rosalynn Carter (whose first name is Eleanor), Barbara Walters, Barbara Jordan and Bella Abzug.  For many years the quilt hung at Val-Kill, Eleanor's cottage in Hyde Park.


This look at our history seemed to be complete when Barbara Hespenheide found minutes she had taken in 1993 and 1994.  The activities and events of the last 15 years are familiar to many of our current members.  Information about the past 10 years is found on our web site, www.AAUWPoughkeepsie.org From the headings across the top, click on About Us and then click History.  An overview of each year since 2006 is given.  It is evident through the years that AAUW Poughkeepsie has made a difference in our own lives as well as in our community.  Looking ahead, our branch will celebrate 100 years in 2025.  It comes with a jolt to realize that is just 8 years away!!  Let's keep up the good work. ■


Betty Harrel *462-2141* bharrel28@gmail.com


If you stop by a local laundromat or food bank, you might see our newest Leading to Reading outreach, Laundromat Libraries.  This joint project with the Friends of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District started in June.  A number of the books are donated by the Friends Bookstore at the Boardman Road Library.  AAUW volunteers regularly visit the sites and refill the colorful crates.


Two new sites were recently added.  The project ties in with the mission of both organizations and helps to enhance reading opportunities and increase home libraries for children who don’t have many books available.  Feedback has been very positive, with both children and adults enjoying the books at the centers and taking them home. 




Poughkeepsie Branch AAUW, Inc. Officers 2017-2018


President                              Maria DeWald                      266-4960

Program Co-VPs                 Monique Jones                     849-1692

                                             Sandy Lash                           227-4650

Membership Co-VPs           Susie Blecker                        462-7074

                                             Sheila Zweifler                     462-6478

Development VP                  Jocelynn Banfield                 454-5551

Communications VP            Bonnie Auchincloss              635-5191

Secretary                             Katherine Friedman              485-8671

Treasurer                            Diane Jablonski                    485-6228

Membership Treasurer       Mary Anne Hogarty              221-0203


Association website:  www.aauw.org                               

NY State website: www.aauw-nys.org

Poughkeepsie Branch website: www.aauwpoughkeepsie.org 


AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.                                


In principle and in practice, AAUW values and seeks a diverse membership.  There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, race, creed, age, sexual orientation, national origin, disability or class.


The Branch is published ten times a year, September through June, by the Poughkeepsie Branch of the AAUW, Inc.  Send articles to the editor: Margaret Nijhuis, MargaretNijhuis@gmail.com (635-8612).