Well, this post is coming very close on the heels of the last, but yesterday really deserves a post all its own. We had such an amazing day and evening, culminating with awards and the passing of the gavel to Marybeth Baucco, your new NCCS president, who will be introducing herself to you via this blog in the weeks to come!
The day started with a really interactive session on how to recruit, retain and reward members, led by outgoing NCCS board member Cheryle Mackie from the Stuart Chapter and Melanie Mbuyi, who will continue on the new board. The session started such great conversations that we could barely get the ladies out of the room so it could be set up for the business meeting.
At the business meeting, probably the most exciting thing was the official chartering of our Denver Chapter! Here’s a picture of the Denver ladies from just two weeks ago at their first ever–and very successful–fundraiser. They are off and running!
Our luncheon speaker was Susanne Greenwood, principal of St. Peter Claver School, where the Atlanta Chapter operates a reading program and a garden. A member of the Atlanta Chapter herself as well as a
professional educator, she spoke eloquently on how important the Christ Child interventions are at the school and broke our hearts a little with a story about how children routinely inquire of her, “Is my CCS partner coming today?”
Then we boarded buses and actually got a chance to see first hand some of the fabulous work of the Atlanta Chapter, who won the Red Wagon Award four years ago for its multisensory garden program. We visited Elizabeth’s Garden at the Elaine Clark Center, about which we’d heard a bunch on Friday, and got to see the multisensory garden and how it benefits children who are developmentally challenged. But, as the Center is in midst of construction, we were greeted with great hospitality by the Atlanta Chapter with themed hardhats and cool drinks, which were much appreciated!
After visiting the garden, we piled back on the buses and went to Mass at the beautiful Cathedral of Christ the King, with Archbishop Wilton Gregory presiding. The Archbishop really called out Christ Child’s work for children in Atlanta and across the country–and gave an amazing sermon on our need to continue to work to be ready to serve our neighbor. As is traditional each chapter processed up the front isle of the church during the Offertory, placing their layettes at the foot of a stunning (and reminiscent) statue of the Christ Child. Then, after Mass, the Cleveland Chapter’s Spiritual Director Fr. Ralph Wiatrowski installed Marybeth Baucco, of the Cleveland Chapter, and the entire 2016-18 NCCS Board
After Mass, we experienced more Southern hospitality, thanks to Kathy Thompson of the Atlanta Chapter who hosted ALL OF US at her stunning home in Buckhead.
Her beautiful home and the lovely food and wine made for certainly the most elegant cocktail I’ve had on Christ Child time. Thanks so much Kathy!
And then back on the buses again where we celebrated our Red Wagon Award winner Baltimore, for their amazing literacy program, and the 25th anniversaries for Toledo and Boca Raton and 100th anniversary of the Cleveland Chapter–as well as the Boca Raton‘s Membership Growth Award, for growing 70% since the last Convention.
And then I highlighted our staff’s and board’s contributions, especially Cheryle Mackie, Deb Low, Paula Conrad and Maureen Wesley, who are moving off the board this year. Then I passed the “gavel” (really some roses) with joy and excitement to Marybeth, who will be an amazing president AND blogger. I’ll leave it to Marybeth to tell you a little bit about herself and her new board. I am signing off as President from this blog with deepest gratitude for your following our important work through this medium. Stay tuned for really exciting and impactful next chapters!
In the name of the Christ Child,
Anne Kelley, Immediate Past President