The message to the “Great Girls” of Foundation for Youth from the “Wonderful Women” supporting them was to be brave, and to always be themselves.
The annual Great Girls Wonderful Luncheon provides an opportunity for women in the Columbus community to support FFY girls and their endeavors, including participants in Girls on the Run, where participants train with mentors for a 5K run and Smart Girls, which provides classes about healthy lifestyles and attitudes. At the event, FFY participants are seated with women leaders from around the community to have lunch and talk about goals, dreams and future plans.
In its fourth year, the luncheon welcomed 300 people Tuesday to the annual event at FFY, at 405 Hope Ave. Organizers hoped to raise $10,000 through the event, which goes to Foundation for Youth’s general scholarship fund. The fund enables the organization to serve the children of the community who need assistance the most.
Keynote speaker Elaine Wagner, a Columbus City Councilwoman who was born and raised in Columbus, shared her story about learning to be brave, and to be herself, by first paying tribute to her parents, who came to Columbus in the 1980s when there were fewer than 10 Chinese families in the city.
When her parents arrived in the city, they went to a restaurant to eat and found every single person’s eyes trained on them, she said, just staring. With a language barrier, and some cultural barriers to overcome, the couple raised two children, Elaine and her brother, she said. But they did it without having a supportive friends and family network and Wagner said she remembers always being with her parents growing up.
Her parents became U.S. citizens, established the Columbus Chinese Association, and also established the Chinese Language School. “They did it all to build a better life for my brother and for me,” Wagner said.
For more on Wagner’s keynote address and the event, see Wednesday’s Republic.