Isha Parkey loves to dance, and because of this fondness a friend invited her to join the Junior Woman’s Club of Fort Worth. For 59 years, the organization has produced a big stage show each spring that features the acting, singing and dancing of its members, and Parkey’s friend knew she would enjoy being involved.
Little did Parkey know that her involvement with the club — which began six years ago — not only would enable her to pursue her love of dance but that she would also end up heading departments, serving on the executive committee for two years, and would eventually be elected as the first African-American woman to lead the club as president.
“Personally, it is a huge honor,” Parkey said. “I so respect the club, our members and the members of the nominating committee, and it is a privilege to be the first African-American president of JWC in our 91-year history.”
“The fact that Isha is breaking ground as the first African-American JWC president is exciting but doesn’t surprise me one bit as she is never afraid to go for her dreams,” outgoing President Crystal Rehling said. “JWC is a club that welcomes women of all backgrounds, as long as you have the common desire to learn, develop friendships and contribute to your community.”
Parkey was installed as president along with other officers in formal ceremonies at Reata Restaurant in May. Serving with her on the executive committee are Mary Michelle Young, Tracie K. Perkins, Stacie Garcia, Melissa Howard-Carter, Kathleen Alexander, Britta Hinze, Lizzie Zepeda, Kellenie Lopez, Sarah Lukehart and Susan Hellberg.
Rehling says Parkey’s spirit and zest for life best qualify her for the assignment. “She inspires and supports. You never know what kind of fun, surprising things she’ll do that motivates you to do your best,” Rehling said.
Parkey said she is pleased that her executive committee is a blend of both experienced club leaders and some who are new to leadership roles. “I like having those with experience and also like the innovative and fresh ideas that newer leaders bring.”
When the club presents the 60th annual Spring Show in March, Parkey says she will definitely make time to perform despite her newfound presidential duties. Other club events that she is particularly proud of include the annual chili cook-off coming up Sept. 25 and the prom dress drive the club hosts throughout the year.
“JWC contributes so much to the community with our scholarship program and the work we do with local organizations such as Girls Inc., Sunshine Girls, the Ladder Alliance, SafeHaven and others,” Parkey said. “Our civic action and community outreach committees generally choose projects that benefit women and girls.”
According to Mary Michelle Young, the club awarded $3,000 in scholarships to female students at Texas Wesleyan and UT Arlington last spring. Grants totaling $3,500 were given to CASA of Tarrant County and Ronald McDonald House.
“JWC: Bound for Glory” is the theme Parkey chose for the coming year. “My club goals match my personal goals, and that is to make every day your best day. Set goals and share them with others so they give you insight to help you achieve them. Always do your best, but don’t overdo and also don’t underdo. This is a fine line but something we need to strive for,” Parkey added.
Club members have made a continued effort toward diversity, Parkey said. “We have more minority members than ever before, and that continues to grow,” she said. “My job is to continue our efforts to increase diversity and take it to the next level and make sure we are diverse in many areas in addition to ethnicity.”
Parkey is married to Paul Parkey, and they have two sons, ages 22 and 23. She will focus on leading the organization and take a break from her earlier career in the mortgage-lending business and later event-planning. “I absolutely love this organization and I wish I had found it sooner in my life. It is the most incredible group of 350 women, and I don’t think I could be the best person I can be without having the support of these wonderful women,” she said.
Those interested in learning more about becoming a member are invited to attend any of several events throughout the year where they can get acquainted with club members who may sponsor them for membership. A calendar of events and details about the club are online at www.JWCFW.com. Also, contact Membership Vice President Melissa Howard Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org to make inquiries.
Saturday’s North Texas Wellness Fair is a new name for more inclusive event open to all
The Hispanic Wellness Coalition will again present its annual expo that promotes healthy living from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Forest Hill Civic and Convention Center. It was formerly named the Hispanic Wellness Fair, and organizers decided this year to rename the event to better communicate that it is open to all Tarrant County residents. It will now be called the North Texas Wellness Fair.
“In the beginning, the fair was targeting the underserved Hispanic population in the community, but it was open to all Tarrant County residents, said Gloria Martinez, the coalition’s executive director. “The new name was developed to give the health fair a more inclusive connotation.”
The event aims to provide access to healthcare prevention services and information to those who cannot afford it. Scores of free medical examinations and screenings will be available at this 18th edition of the fair, including mammograms, diabetes testing, iron checks, blood pressure and screening for cholesterol, kidney, vision, dental and hearing.
Martinez said, “We’ll have new services — there will be meningitis shots for uninsured students ages 19 through 26; the Tarrant County clerk’s office will be offering copies of Texas resident birth certificates for a fee of $23, and we’ll have Stratus, which is an audio service that will ;provide an interpreting platform for over 100 languages including sign language.”
More than 70 exhibitors will be on hand to distribute information, visit with guests and perform health checks. Martinez said the coalition follows up with rigorous on-site screening for those at the event who are deemed to be at high risk of a health problem. Attendees can also enjoy healthy cooking demonstrations, get a chair message, receive information on financial literacy, and learn salsa, zumba and yoga.
SafeHaven announces Legacy of Women honorees
Singing the praises of outstanding women in our community is something that SafeHaven of Tarrant County has been doing for nearly a quarter-century. The agency has just announced 10 area women to be honored at the annual Legacy of Women Awards luncheon Oct. 12.
“The Legacy of Women Award recognizes remarkable women in Tarrant County for their commitment, achievements, initiative, impact and overwhelming contributions to the community,” SafeHaven spokeswoman Keeli McNair wrote in an email.
Congratulations to these women for their incredible contributions to the communities: Sissy Day, Fonda Martin, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Alice Puente, Lynda Railsback, Lynda Sanders, Shonda Schaefer, Nancy Tice, Renova Williams and Sharen Wilson.
The luncheon will also feature football legend Terry Bradshaw as it raises money to enable SafeHaven to continue serving women and children fleeing domestic violence.
Chorale auditions are Aug. 8
Calling all singers! If you enjoy choral singing and want to be considered for the 100-voice Arlington Master Chorale, then warm up your vocal chords for auditions set for 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 8 at Arlington’s First Baptist Church.
“An audition piece is not required, but sight reading, tone matching, and other skills will be tested,” spokeswoman Teresa McUsic said.
The new season, which opens Oct. 6, will include four concerts of exciting and inspiring chorale music including an entire program of African-American spirituals in the fall, John Rutter’s Gloria with brass and organ at Christmas, Eric Whitacre’s electrifying Cloudburst in the spring and the Spring Fling: “The Magic of Disney.” Season tickets are available at www.ArlingtonMasterChorale.com.
To inquire about auditions, contact chorale director Randy Jordan at email@example.com.