The Monticello Chapter of Women of Today is a non-profit organization dedicated to community service, promoting personal growth, and offering leadership training opportunities for women 18 years and older.
The local chapter strive to improve the lives of its members and others within the community through various projects. The Monticello chapter hosts two craft shows a year. Traditionally, the first show is scheduled for the second Saturday of March and the second show the first Saturday in November.
The fall show celebrated its 25th anniversary last November; the March 9 spring craft show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Monticello Community Center Gym will mark a similar milestone. Sixty-five booths will feature a variety of crafts. The day-long event is free and parking will be available in the west lot behind the community center.
The chapter’s craft shows are unique because the organization asks vendors to make all items displayed or sold. Commercial or home-based businesses aren’t accepted.
The Monticello Women of Today will host a concession stand with homemade baked treats during the March craft show. Proceeds from vendors and concessions at the spring show will benefit local organizations such as the Monticello Food Shelf, New River Care
Center, Rivers of Hope and the Senior Center.
Jennifer Lewis Kannegieter has been involved with the Monticello Women of Today since early 2008. She joined the organization about six months after moving to Monticello.
“I was looking for a way to get involved and meet people,” she said. “MWT ended up being perfect for me – I’ve met a lot of friends and really have a sense of community now. Monticello is home, not just the place that I live. I jumped in right away and have held various board positions in our chapter.”
Throughout the year, the Monticello Chapter of Women of Today strongly believes in serving others. The organization contributes to area communities by fundraising efforts, providing services and education to both the community and the members of the chapter.
Examples of these efforts include involvement in a long list of events, including Meals on Wheels, monthly nursing home bingo and the annual nursing home Christmas Tree decorating, Toys for Tots collection, Giving Tree, March of Dimes Walk for Babies (formerly Walk America) and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The Monticello chapter also has annual involvement with Make a Difference Day, Monticello Walk-N-Roll, Riverfest Kid’s Bingo during Art in the Park. the Riverfest Parade Ambassadors program, Wishing Well, Work Skills Day, Santa in the Park and Grandparents Essay.
“With all of our donations we really try to stick close to home,” Lewis Kannegieter said. “We’ve supported Rivers of Hope [the domestic abuse agency for Wright andSherburne Counties), Kindred Family Services/PATH [the crisis nursery for Wright County], the Hospice House of Wright County, the food shelf here in Monticello, an animal shelter in Buffalo, and many more. Occasionally, there is a donation made to a national or state organization, particularly if the organization is a special project of the state or national Women of Today.”
The Monticello Women of Today chapter represents the national organization at the local level. Minnesota is broken up in to 16 different districts in order to better serve members more efficiently.
The Monticello chapter is a part of District Seven. In addition to Monticello, District Seven is comprised of chapters in Rice, Sauk Rapids, Foley, and St. Cloud.
In the fall of 1949, the first discussions began about creating what would later become known as the Minnesota Women of Today. By May of 1950, the organization was formally created as the Mrs. Jaycees of Minnesota. Within the first five years, there were already more than 60 local chapters of the Mrs. Jaycees formed in the state. By 1957 Minnesota had the largest state organizations in the nation, with 90 local chapters. By 1979, there were more than 5,000 WOT members within the state of Minnesota.
If you are over 18 and interested in community activities, would like to meet other women in the community, or want to enhance your personal skills, Monticello Women of Today meets the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Monticello High School Home Economics Room. Visit www.MonticelloWomenofToday.org for more information or to contact the local chapter.
Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at [email protected]