December 2020 Meeting

The AAUW Corpus Christi Branch held a meeting via Zoom on December 5, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. After introductions of guests and a short business meeting, Program Vice President Dr. Sylvia Rendon introduced our guest speaker, Alma Gomez, YW Teen Program Director at YWCA Corpus Christi.

YW Teen Program

Alma Gomez started with a brief history of the YW Teen Program, noting that it began in 1946 and was originally targeted for 15- to 17-year-old girls. Given the challenges teens face early in today’s society, the program is now offered at the Corpus Christi Independent School District and the West Oso Independent School District to all 5th and 6th grade girls, ages 10 to 12. A typical YW Teen girl is about 11 years old, economically disadvantaged, in temporary living arrangements, and attending an “underperforming” school. The program addresses many of the issues young girls face, such as bullying, developing respect for others, making good decisions, and how to become a leader among their peers.

YW Teens share what they would like adults to know during a leadership camp session.

Based on feedback and responses received from YW Teen participants, the YW Teen program surpasses its goals:

  • 92% of participants recognize the need to continue in school and graduate
  • 92% of participants learn to accept people different from themselves
  • 91% of participants learn to make smart decisions for their lives
  • 90% of participants learn to take responsibility for their actions

Alma stated that YW Teen girls report that they feel more confident and have attained courage to face the world because of what they have learned through the program. Many call it an “awesome” program and talk about how they have learned from each other and learned to respect each other.

COVID restrictions have impacted the program this year, but the YWCA staff has found ways to adjust the program to meet social distancing requirements. They distributed backpacks via home deliveries before school started, and the fall semester has included mailouts, Facebook videos, Zoom sessions, pickups at the YWCA office, and various outdoor activities.

Kelly Gonzalez, AAUW Community Outreach Chair, reminded members that we will be sponsoring our annual holiday shopping spree for the YW Teen program, with a few modifications this year. Several members will be putting together individual packages with multiple family gift items for each girl, and the packages will be distributed at the YWCA via a drive-by event. Bags, tissue, and tags will be included in the packages so that girls have the opportunity to individually wrap each gift for their family members.

President Shirley Selz thanked Alma Gomez and Nancy Wesson-Dodd, AAUW member and president/CEO of YWCA Corpus Christi, for the program presentation. If you are interested in volunteering for future YW Teen program events once social distancing restrictions are lifted, contact Alma Gomez at the YWCA.

Scavenger Hunt and Raffle Drawing

After the speaker’s presentation, Program Vice President Dr. Sylvia Rendon introduced the scavenger hunt event that was organized in lieu of our typical holiday luncheon. Dr. Vickie Natale shared a list of 15 holiday items on the screen with a countdown clock and holiday music, giving members 15 minutes to find 15 items around their homes. Members got very creative with their “finds.” Janet Blanke and Dr. Catherine Cox showed off their artistic abilities with drawings of an item they lacked. Several members shared older photographs of times spent in the snow, and the “ugly Christmas sweaters” displayed were adorable. Perhaps the most creative was Susan Birchfield who made a Christmas-shaped cookie by cutting out bread and spreading sugar and cinnamon on top – all within the 15-minute time limit! Sylvia Rendon awarded the prizes (chocolate included) that she will personally deliver to the recipients’ homes. The first prize went to KayLynn Lyon who found 13 of the 15 items (and who had an AAUW notepad with her maiden name on it from 30 years ago!). Second prize went to Peggy Duran for the most unusually AAUW-printed item presented, and the third prize went to both Peggy Duran and Sylvia Whitworth for having a Nutcracker music CD. Lots of smiles and laughter were shared.

The last item on our agenda was the raffle ticket drawing. AAUW members were quite generous this season, and the raffle drawing netted the Branch over $1,200 that will be used for our community outreach programs and other activities this year. The gift card winners were: Kelly Gonzalez, Dr. Sylvia Rendon, and Michelle Balis. Congratulations, ladies!

Story by Dr. Vickie Natale; photo from YWCA Corpus Christi

Coastal Living Videos

Coastal Living, a locally produced entertainment and lifestyle show on KZTV Channel 10, weekdays at 9:00 – 9:30 a.m., is broadcasting short videos produced by AAUW Corpus Christi members.  The TV show is featuring ideas from our AAUW members on social activities that can be done safely in the current pandemic environment.

The first video aired on November 4, 2020, and it can be viewed on the Facebook account for Coastal Living.  Agnes Hamilton and Janet Blanke discussed how small groups can gather in outdoor spaces, while maintaining social distancing, to enjoy gardening activities.

As another suggestion, Janet encouraged the public to take advantage of our beautiful bayfront location by walking and exercising in parks along the water.  Janet also mentioned various interest groups of AAUW who are continuing to meet via Zoom, and she encouraged the public to learn how to access Zoom to keep in touch with family and friends.

The second video was aired on November 11, 2020, and it featured AAUW member Michelle Balis, who talked about the services available at the various locations of the Corpus Christi Public Libraries.  Future videos that are scheduled to air include: (1) AAUW member Catherine Cox who talks about book groups with discussions held on Zoom, and (2) several AAUW members who talk about hosting “driveway happy hour,” with a listing of the safety rules that participants must follow.

Coastal Living has included tag lines on the videos, showing “American Association of University Women” with our website.  Included in the first video was a slide explaining more about our organization with encouragement to contact us for more information.  We are thrilled about the media exposure that this show has given our organization, and we are proud of our members who have produced these clips.  Well done, ladies!

UPDATE on Book Sales

With a rising number of cases of COVID-19 occurring locally, and under the current guidelines for social distancing and stay-at-home recommendations, AAUW Book Sales are postponed indefinitely until further notice.  Safety, of course, is our first priority, for both our customers and our workers.  When the Corpus Christi Libraries are able to open for full service, we will determine at that time when it appears to be safe to hold our next Book Sale.

Until then, you may be interested in browsing through the antique and collectible books that we have listed on eBay.  To find the AAUW book listings, go to the eBay link below.  After the page opens, scroll down to the bottom to the section labeled “Sellers.”  Click on the small box labeled “Only show items from.”  Then, click into the text box, enter our seller ID:  bookfi-88, and hit your enter key.

eBay link:

  If you wish to be notified about the next Book Sale, please send a message to us at:

We thank you for your patronage.  May everyone stay healthy and safe!

The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is the gap between what men and women are paid. Most commonly, it refers to the median annual pay of all women who work full time and year-round, compared to the pay of a similar cohort of men. Other estimates of the gender pay gap are based on weekly or hourly earnings, or are specific to a particular group of women.

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