Thursday, October 21, 2021

MIA Students Give Presentation to Democratic Women’s Club

Submitted Photos | Karen Tessel-Blum, Vice President DWCM; Allison Blanco, GLI advisor; Stephanie Ballo, President DWCM; Sarahi Lopez (10th grade); Cassandra Scalia (10th grade); Chelsea Casabona (12th grade); and Lauren Dehooghe (11th grade).

Over 40 women attended the May meeting of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco Island (DWCM). DWCM was pleased that the Girls Learn International Group (GLI) of Marco Island Academy (MIA) returned to present again this month. Their goal? To be the change they wish to see in the world and to educate and empower young women.

Four MIA students, Lauren Dehooghe, Chelsea Casabona, Cassandra Scalia, and Sarahi Lopez, under the guidance of their advisor Allison Blanco, gave a PowerPoint presentation to explain the purpose of their organization. Founded in 2016, GLI (a non-partisan group) encourages students to talk about issues they find important and to motivate their peers to become confident and impactful young men and women.

The group believes that, “You can’t get anything done by being quiet.” Their meetings are informative and allow participants to learn about the conditions of women around the world from guest speakers. Several successful local women spoke to the group this year.

One project of GLI involved an “Equal Pay Bake Sale.” The amount consumers (fellow students) paid for the baked goods depended on who they were, mimicking the differentiated pay scale in our country.

Sara McFadden thanks super volunteer, Kathleen Hendrix.

This year, GLI raised $5,000 to go to Washington, D.C. to attend the National Young Feminist Leadership Conference. There they listened to “powerful and important women” in today’s world. They had the opportunity to speak with Sima Samar, who served as Minister of Women’s Affairs of Afghanistan and is currently the Chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. The young women finished their presentation with one of their favorite sayings, “We’re girls. We can do anything!”

DWCM then welcomed guest speaker Todd Truax ( who is running for the U.S House of Representatives, 19th District. After spending over 20 years as a social worker, counselor, and healthcare administrator in Naples and Fort Myers, while also putting in many hours for community service, Mr. Truax has decided to run for office specifically to help seniors. He is concerned about threats to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security upon which so many seniors rely.

Mr. Truax proposes a Fast Tax plan (Fair Automatic Simple Tax) to ensure Medicare and Medicaid solvency. He also proposes to do away with the cap for Medicare to make it solvent for generations.

Mr. Truax believes that Congress needs someone who knows about healthcare from the inside. He supports healthcare for all and free education for all—goals he thinks are very possible with the Fast Tax plan. Other issues Mr. Truax will fight for include: a healthy environment, infrastructure improvement, a disaster fund, national security to protect from foreign interference, rational gun control, the use of medical marijuana, immigration reform, protecting DACA as well as all “inalienable human rights.”

Finally, Sara McFadden, ( local candidate for State House District 106, updated the group on her campaign for which she has already qualified by petition.

The goal of the Democratic Women’s Club of Marco is to raise awareness of policy matters pertaining to all and to encourage and hear from qualified candidates running for office. The club hosts monthly meetings, socials as well as coffee and candidate “meet and greets.” Next meeting will be June 12 at 5 PM, at Rose Hall in the Marco Island Public Library. Guest speakers include Marco Island Fire Chief Michael Murphy and Annisa Karim, wild life ecologist and wetland expert who will talk about the state of our environment in Southwest Florida.

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