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Sedona-Women-1-19 In a city with no official town square, one local group strives to be the next best thing.
By Tyler Midkiff
Larson Newspapers
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In a city with no official town square, one local group strives to be the next best thing.

Sedona Women, “Dames Who Make a Difference,” is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to community service and personal enrichment.

The group of more than 200 women meets monthly for eight months out of the year and is open to all who would like to attend.

“The topics are always issues of importance to the community, as well as issues of importance to the women who come to the meetings,” says Helen Wolfe, Sedona Women co-founder and former president.

“We also want to have fun,” she adds.

Every year, a member of the group who has demonstrated her commitment to the community and the goals of the Sedona Women gets a chance to be president.

This year, that woman is Katie Hamilton.

“For me, being president is my way of giving back,” Hamilton says, “because my life has been so enriched by being part of this group. If I were to join one group in Sedona, this would be the group I would join.”

Wolfe believes that Hamilton has the leadership skills and personal love for the organization to be a great president.

The group is currently working on implementing its next series of “90-day Impact Projects.”

Several members of the  group will organize and lead community service projects they believe can be completed within 90 days. The remaining members will join the projects they would most like to participate in.

In the past, they have renovated Sedona Community Center and The Verde Valley Sanctuary Safehouse, where battered women go to flee from abusive homes.

They have also volunteered for the Boys & Girls Clubs, cleaned up the Cook Cemetery where Sedona Schnebly is buried and cleaned up Sunset Park.

Another project, called “Waterwise,” educated local businesses and members of the community on water scarcity issues.

“It’s a great way for women to give back to the community,” Hamilton says of the projects.

There are a number of projects currently in the works.

Laura Van House will lead a program to increase the community’s awareness of recycling.

“I think that’s going to be a great one,” Hamilton says.

Another member, Jawn McKinley, is working on providing events and entertainment for the Sedona Winds Retirement Home.

Each project raises its own money and does whatever is needed to complete the project within the 90-day time frame.

“Some women can’t commit a lot of time,” Hamilton says. “That’s why I really like the four projects. There’s something that everybody can get involved in for whatever length of time they want to be involved.”

“And many of the women work on two or three of the projects,” Wolfe adds.

Hamilton says some women choose to work on all of the projects. It all depends on how much time they are willing and able to spend on them.

One of the main objectives of the organization is to find other nonprofits that need help, Wolfe says.

“We are not a networking group,” she says.

“We are nonpolitical and we want to stay that way,” Hamilton adds.

Twice a year, the group takes day-trips out of town.

They also take a trip for four days and three nights once a year.

In the past, they have visited Tucson, Santa Fe, N.M., Los Angeles and other cities.

In April, they plan to spend a day in Phoenix learning about world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

“It is such a wonderful way for women to really develop friendships and bond with each other,” Hamilton says.

They also organize a yearly event they call “A Day Just For Me.”

On that day, nationally-recognized speakers come to Sedona and spend time educating the Sedona Women on topics of interest to them.

Hamilton, Wolfe and Sedona Women public relations woman Janet Fagan all agree that the organization is a diverse one — in age, ethnicity and work status.

“I think it’s very diverse,” Hamilton says. “It’s diverse and everybody is welcome.”

The group includes members from Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Phoenix and the Tubac Indian Reservation.

“Every woman is welcome,” Wolfe says.

For more information about The Sedona Women, meeting dates and how to join, visit www.SedonaWomen.com.


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