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Mujeres en Cambio: A year in review

By Arlene Krasner

For many of us, our year at Mujeres en Cambio (MEC) begins in July when we resume our fundraising luncheons after our May and June summer hiatus. So, I thought this would be a good time for Mujeres en Cambio to reflect on the extraordinary year we’ve had, and to thank the many people who made it happen.

Our first thanks go to all our volunteers, members and friends. Mujeres en Cambio is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization. Without those who volunteer food and time, those who come to our luncheons and those who serve on our board, we would not be able to provide the scholarships that we do.

Because of the generosity of the Bea Wood estate, Mujeres is able to provide seven university scholarships for five years. We have named these scholarships, “Bea Wood Scholars.” Special thanks to Terry Daugherty, executrix of the Bea Wood Estate, for making this happen.

Scholarships are not the only help that a student needs. Because of the generosity of Richard Cretcher, Jerry Rossing and Bill Curra, a number of our university students now have their own computers to use for school. Their group, CPJ, received a US$10,000 dollar grant to purchase more new computers specifically for our MEC university students! Also, Mujeres volunteer Richard Neulist has agreed to take over this computer distribution project from Jamie Long.

The 100 Women Who Care (100WWC) organization selected Mujeres en Cambio for their first distribution, giving us 37,000 pesos. We distributed all but 1,000 of those pesos for the títulos for several of our university students who are near graduation.

In addition to our regularly scheduled luncheons, we held a number of special events. In July, Brett opened up her beautiful Shanti for a very special Indian lunch and a swim. In August, the Pocket Theater opened its doors to us for an English Tea and movie.

In September, Patsy Dubois hosted a luncheon at her beautiful ranch. Before the fabulous lunch, we roamed her lovely gardens and peeked into the “party house.” Patsy’s Place has always been wonderful, and as we saw at the September lunch, it is getting even better! Our luncheon there, as always, was a wonderful experience for everyone.

In late October, Susan Page and Mayer Shacter hosted our “Day of the Dead” cocktail party at their beautiful home and their Galería Atotonilco. Susan and Mayer opened their gallery to us and donated a percentage of that day’s sales to Mujeres en Cambio.

In November, we tried something different and planned a trip to the Ajijic Artisan’s Fair. We have to thank many volunteers, especially Betse Davies, who came up with the idea, Arlena Lawrence who worked very hard on the logistics, and Karen Goot and Diane Ruszczyk who took care of the financial arrangements. These members, along with many more, made our Ajijic trip so memorable.

In December, Judy Marzulli donated all the proceeds from her Holiday Cabaret show. The show was a great opening to the holiday season. In July, Judy also staged a cabaret show, “All About Love,” and donated those proceeds to us as well! Thanks, Judy!

January is our birthday celebration, and we had lots to celebrate! Mujeres en Cambio celebrated its 18th birthday at the newly completed Las Rancheritas Community Craft Store. Eighteen years ago, MEC started by helping the Las Rancheritas Rug Hookers to become self-sufficient. When they asked: “What can you do for our daughters?” our scholarship program was born.

We can’t leave our rug hookers without giving thanks to the race car drivers, led by Gerie Bledsoe, who brought carloads of wool from Austin, Texas, to Agustín González!

In addition to this impressive list of contributors, we want to thank Alicia Franyutti who graciously hosts our regularly scheduled luncheons at her B&B, the very beautiful Hacienda de las Flores. Alicia has been an ardent supporter of Mujeres en Cambio for many years.

Our regularly scheduled luncheons are always courtesy of the chefs who provide the main courses. We would like to thank Eric from Hecho en Mexico for providing the delicious enchiladas for our February luncheon and all the vendors – too numerous to name – for our Green luncheon in March. A special thanks to Melissa Sumner of the Buena Vida Bakery who donates her scrumptious breads and rolls to embellish our luncheon.

Mujeres en Cambio would also like to give special thanks to Atención for their support in publishing our articles every month; to the Universalist Unitarian Fellowship for their donations and for publishing announcements in their bulletin; to San Miguel Community Foundation (SMCF) for all their help and support and grants; to Ana Elena Andrade, our attorney; and to Ariadna Guerra Ybarra, our CPA. We would also like to thank Fernando González, manager of Actinver (and who sang at one of our luncheons!) for helping with our banking needs, and to Banorte for all our banking needs.

Mujeres en Cambio thanks all of you for providing us with the opportunity to keep these 150 girls in school. Our scholarships help prepare them for success later in life and the many challenges of our changing world. And don’t forget to join us in the coming year for even more great events! For more information, check our website-


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