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Aiken Junior Woman's Club striving to continue good works during pandemic

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The Aiken Junior Woman's Club is always exploring new ways to better the Aiken community and the well-being of its members, now so more than ever. 

The coronavirus pandemic continues to present many challenges for the hands-on organization of young women, creating uncertainty of how the club can continue with its community service projects in the future. 

However, the pandemic is also making the organization's members strive to find long-distance, creative ways to continue to give back to others.

"We're not sure what the future really holds as far as when or if we're going to be able to start meeting in-person, and how that's going to affect some of [the] initiatives we typically do ..." said Kendall Carter, the Aiken Junior Woman's Club marketing and social media chair. "We're looking at ways that we can help during this crazy time we're all going through." 

Continuing with their community engagement projects, while challenging, is still possible, Kendall added, as the organization is currently looking at projects such as donating supplies to classrooms or even doctors' offices.

The organization consists of approximately 30 women from 25 to 49 years old. Club members volunteer with other nonprofits in Aiken, and one of the club's main initiatives involves raising funds for its Scholarships of Hope, which assists Aiken County girls graduating high school with funding their college initiatives. 

Some of the Aiken Junior Woman's Club recent projects include donating Easter bunny baskets this past spring to United Way of Aiken County and passing out Christmas presents to Nurture Home residents with help from Mental Health America of Aiken County.

The organization's recent fundraiser was an Adult Prom held in early February before the coronavirus pandemic became a serious issue in Aiken; the prom helped fund the club's scholarship program. 

The organization usually holds its monthly meetings from August to May, taking June and July off. Last month's new member social was held on the virtual communications app Zoom.

One of the organization's ongoing initiatives currently involves doubling down on their self-advertising to make sure all interested women – no matter their race or ethnicity – can feel included among its club members. 

The goal to be more inclusive to women of color has been one of the club's goals long before the recent prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, Carter said, though in recent months the organization has been making sure the organization is more publicized so that all women have a chance to get involved.

"We are definitely aware of and focused that we get the word out about our organization and what we do here in Aiken," Carter said. "We were being more inclusive, and made sure we were bringing in more new members and more [qualified] members from all sorts of walks of life." 

Finding out about the organization is usually through word-of-mouth, Carter said, with past and previous members spreading the word to new, interested women.

This year, the organization used its social media platforms to spread the word farther across Aiken, a task that will continue when applications for new members become available next summer.

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