The AAUW Jamestown branch has been making an impact on the lives of young area women for more than 58 years with its annual What's New Fair.
According to Maggie Irwin, AAUW Jamestown branch president, more than $300,000 of AAUW What's New Fair proceeds have been awarded as scholarships to more than 300 young area women in pursuit of four-year degrees.
Kayla Crosby, a 2008 graduate of Eisenhower High School in Russell, Pa., attended Jamestown Community College to earn a liberal arts and social sciences degree. While attending Jamestown Community College she also played for the basketball team. Following the completion of her two-year degree, Crosby transferred to St. Bonaventure University to earn a bachelor's in elementary and special education. For the past two years she has worked for Jamestown Community College as a residence director.
The AAUW Jamestown branch is set to host the 58th annual What’s New Fair on Nov. 9-10 at Jamestown Community College.
According to Crosby, a scholarship from the AAUW made her goals less of a burden to achieve.
"The scholarship helped alleviate any stress associated with taking out further loans for school," Crosby said. "So, it helped me focus on school, basketball and residence life to get the most out of my experience."
While attending Jamestown Community College, Crosby took part as a volunteer in AAUW's Get In The Game program, which allowed area youth to learn to play basketball with the college's students as instructors. She was also invited, as other scholarship winners are, to attend AAUW's annual scholarship award luncheon.
Rebecca Ottaway, a Sherman native who is currently a junior at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, received a scholarship after completing a two-year associate degree at Jamestown Community College.
"It definitely has helped me because I wouldn't have been able to pay for school otherwise," Ottaway said. "I'm going to a great school - Edinboro University - which is one of the best schools in the area for my major, speech and language pathology. I'm blessed to be able to attend this school and be in this major, especially since I'm out of state. I'm really excited to be able to benefit from the AAUW funds."
Scholarship applications are available at the student development offices after Jan. 1. For more information, visit www.aauw.org, www.jamestown-ny.aauw.net or search for "AAUW Jamestown Branch" on Facebook.
SHOP TO SUPPORT
With the holiday season approaching, area residents searching for a perfect gift may find just what they are looking for when the annual What's New Fair comes to Jamestown.
The AAUW Jamestown branch is set to host the 58th annual What's New Fair on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jamestown Community College's Hamilton Collegiate Center.
The event will feature 65 merchants and vendors who will display new products and services. Drawings and door prizes, which were donated by area businesses, will also be available. Plus, food and refreshments will be provided by the college's food service.
According to Irwin, every year for the past 58 years, a group of AAUW members has made the fair possible.
"Think of it - 58 years," Irwin said. "This is my eighth fair, and every year it seems a bit overwhelming at first. But, we have a lot of fun doing the work and being together."
In addition to the vendors, the fair will also feature an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will visit each day to chat with children and adults who wish to confide Christmas wishes. The AAUW will also feature a table of handmade items, a sweet shoppe with a variety of homemade baked goods such as small breads, fudge, pies, candies and cookies, and a gingerbread house where attendees may purchase personalized gingerbread men.
"Every year there is a different mix of merchants, and there are always new and exciting things to buy," Irwin said.
Proceeds from the fair will serve to award scholarships to Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College female graduates going on to earn four-year degrees.
"We all get excited and nervous about how much money we will raise for our scholarship fund," Irwin said. "Last year, we gave $10,000 in scholarships to Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College women. All the work is worth it when we see their faces at our scholarship social in April."
According to Mike Kingsley, owner of Evergreen Outfitters -which has been a vendor at the fair for nearly a decade - he attends the event each year to bring awareness to his business and the products it carries, such as Life Is Good clothing and accessories.
"We feel like we're able to provide people with gift-related items that people are interested in," Kingsley said. "We keep going every year because we see continued interest from customers, and it also brings more awareness to our store. More people find out about our business and come into our store because we've met them at the What's New Fair. And, we're happy to support the AAUW and their causes because it is an important part of the community."
Admission to the event is $3 for adults, $1 for Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College students with ID, $1 for children 6-12, and children 5 or under are admitted for free. Those interested in becoming a member of the AAUW may join at a reduced price during the fair. Prospective members must have a two-year degree or higher. Jamestown Community College is located at 525 Falconer St. in Jamestown.