For more than a century, education has been a cornerstone of GFWC beliefs and practices. In fact, Jane Cunningham Croly formed the General Federation of Women’s Clubs “to support clubs throughout the nation and further their efforts at providing education, improved working conditions, health care, scholarships and other reforms.” The GFWC Education Community Service Program works to improve literacy and education awareness in communities at home and around the world. Clubwomen are dedicated to promoting a commitment to literacy and lifelong learning by:
• Encouraging members and others to foster and support educational opportunities for all ages in their communities.
• Promoting and supporting Epsilon Sigma Omicron, an honorary educational society open to all
per capita paying GFWC members that provides clubwomen with a structured reading program
for self-enrichment and personal growth.
• Educating members and others on ways to improve low adult and youth literacy rates.
• Supporting libraries in their efforts to provide information and materials and educational opportunities.
• Examine the factors in your community that may affect literacy levels, such as:
• Existence of learning disabilities
• Prevalence of English as a second language
• Formal education terminated early
• Visual difficulties, or physical or mental conditions that inhibit learning.
• Educate your club and community on the local and national literacy levels.
• Hold a “How to Use the Library” program for local students and English as a second language (ESL) and English as a foreign language (EFL) students.
• Offer scholarships to local high school students.
• Host events at and in conjunction with your local library and/or literary council, including sponsoring a speaker or author, holding craft sessions, or planning read aloud experiences for children.
• Celebrate library card sign-up month annually in September by encouraging community members to apply for library cards.
• Identify and recruit qualified adults as potential tutors from among club members and the community at large. Pair them with tutor training opportunities in your community.
• Recruit tutors by distributing brochures at libraries, grocery stores, malls, athletic clubs, and
other community locations.
• Start a local book club for club members and community members.
• Apply for a GFWC Focus on Literacy Grant to fund a literacy program in your community.
• Hold a fundraiser, with proceeds benefitting the GFWC Disaster Relief—Library Replenishment Fund.
Source: The 2012-2014 GFWC Club Manual