Fund-raising challenge arises from Women’s History Month luncheon

From Staff Reports

Daytona State College’s Center for Women and Men kicked off its forty-first year of serving the area’s most vulnerable adult populations at the annual Women’s History Month luncheon that recognized its founders and honored local activist Cherise Wintz for her fundraising efforts on behalf of Operation Changing Lives, a Daytona Beach-based non-profit medical service organization.

The March 30 luncheon also was highlighted by a matching challenge grant by longtime DSC friends and patrons Andrea and Larry Frank, who agreed to match donations aimed at supporting programs offered through the Center for Women and Men.

For nearly a decade, Wintz has helped raise thousands for Operation Changing Lives, which is dedicated to providing reconstructive surgeries to disadvantaged men, women and children suffering from facial disfigurements.

“Today we honor a true trailblazer in Cherise Wintz for her dedication and service to others,” said DSC President Tom LoBasso in welcoming the capacity crowd to the event, held in the college’s Daytona Beach Campus Hosseini Center. “When she sees a need, she steps up to make a difference.”

Erin LeDuc - Director, Center for Women and Men (Left) and Vicki Apicella - Fresh Start Manager(Right) present an award to Keith Kennedy, DSC Vice-President(Middle).
Erin LeDuc – Director, Center for Women and Men (Left) and Vicki Apicella – Fresh Start Manager(Right) present an award to Keith Kennedy, DSC Vice-President(Middle).

During the event the Franks committed to match dollar-for-dollar donations to the DSC Foundation dedicated to the center – up to $10,000. The couple noted they were moved to support the center’s most recent extension of services to DSC students and the community. Said Mrs. Frank, “We have witnessed first-hand the work that is done here and the way the Center for Women and Men is now expanding its programs and services to reach out and help lift the lives of even more people. It is truly life-saving for so many, and we are delighted and honored to be a part of that effort.”

By the end of the luncheon other donors had already committed nearly $1,300 to the challenge.

The theme for the luncheon was “Celebrating Trailblazers in Our Community.” In accordance with that title, organizers recognized center founders Ellen O’Shaughnessy and Deortha “Dot” Moore. In 1976, the now retired faculty members shared a vision to help remove barriers to education for women. Theirs was a mission founded on the premise that education and workforce training in a supportive and nurturing environment can lead one out of poverty and uncertainty into a life of independence, self-sufficiency and purpose.

Originally called the Women’s Center, its focus was on helping displaced homemakers with little-to-no work experience, women who because of divorce, widowhood or other circumstances would need to learn new life skills, gain self-confidence and train for employment. Today, the Center for Women and Men reflects an expanded mission and scope dedicated to serving the needs of all students seeking to find their place in the ever-changing social and economic landscapes of our communities.

As such, DSC student Don Gilman was another speaker during the event. He shared his story of homelessness and how much the center has helped him get back on track in college and in life.

In addition to programs such as Fresh Start, New Directions and CCAMPIS, the center has become a hub where all students in need can seek out services and help in one central location. The center’s new Falcon Fuel food pantry is helping to mitigate food insecurity among DSC students, an issue that, along with homelessness, has become a growing concern with colleges and universities across the nation. The center also provides temporary emergency bus passes to help students get back and forth to classes, and a lending library helps students offset the cost of textbooks. Further, students wanting to achieve a professional image for job interviews can use the center’s Clothes Closet to look their best. The Center is located on the second floor of the Greene Center, Building 300.

For information on how to donate to the challenge grant, visit donate.daytonastate.edu or call 386-506-3110.