North Allegheny Women's Association promotes female empowerment
The North Allegheny area is a wealthy one, but residents Ronette Blake and Kristen McCabe felt it was lacking something more valuable than big houses and fancy cars: female camaraderie.
Work, family obligations and the tendency for some suburbanites to stay within their township boundaries make it more difficult to forge new friendships and reach out to those in need.
“We felt like women wanted to be socially connected but needed an outlet for it,” Blake says. “And we wanted to serve in a way that we couldn't do as individuals, but knew that we could with additional women behind us.”
In 2014, the pair sent out a call to action and the North Allegheny Women's Association, or NAWA, was born. The mission is to support and empower women — regardless of their income — through service projects and personal and professional connections.
Since its formation, the 22-member organization has partnered with local nonprofits, including North Hills Community Outreach, Wexford Healthcare Center, Treasure House Fashions, Crisis Center North, Light of Life Mission, Living in Liberty, NA Foundation and Jesus in Disguise Homeless Assistance Group.
Fundraisers in support of these and other charities are held throughout the year. Through Feb. 10, NAWA is running a shoe drive for Funds2orgs that pays the group for each pair of kicks they collect. The money will be filtered into a scholarship fund.
A $500 gift will be awarded to one local woman who lives in the North Allegheny area, has done verifiable community service and is beginning or continuing her education in the 2018-19 academic year. Eligible applicants can learn more at NAWA's website at www.nawomen.org. The deadline to apply is March 2.
This is the first year for the scholarship, but NAWA has personally helped several local women who were in desperate need, including a foster mother supporting nine children, one of whom disposed of her dentures. The group not only connected her with an agency that provided her a new set of teeth, but raised $1,000 to help her purchase a new vehicle so she could transport her large brood around town.
Any local woman age 21 and older can participate in NAWA's mission by attending a social or service event or a monthly business meeting, which are held every third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Ascension Lutheran Church, 8225 Peebles Road. Donations of services, supplies, space for events or monetary gifts are also greatly appreciated.
“In the coming years, I envision us as a large organization that has many members from all of the townships that are part of North Allegheny, which would enable us to have more social and service activities connecting as many women as possible,” Blake says.
Kristy Locklin is a Tribune-Review contributor.