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Jackson Women of Today

The Phoenix Newsletter

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Suzanne Rogalsky


It is winter outside, but you didn’t need me to tell you that!   This winter has been especially challenging – and I think I now know the definition of the term “icy cold.”  On King day, which was a balmy 50 degrees, Ken and I went for a walk at the beach.  We were joined by many other people out running and walking their dogs, but of course the beach itself is closed.  There are no coffee shops or ice cream stands open.  People have their Christmas ornaments still on their lawn.  (Note to self:  next year I want the blow-up Santa in the Hawaiian shirt with the surfboard!).  It is during a stretch of bleak, dreary days that I say to my husband, “I hate winter – let’s move to Florida”.  The truth is, I like the change. Even though it is sad every year when the trees lose their leaves and the first frost puts an end to my garden, I like to measure my seasons with those changes.   I know with the seemingly click of a dial, the season will change again.  Change from cold to warm, dead to alive and barren to lush.  There is nothing like the warm sun on your face from a surprise warm day in February or the thrill of that first April weekend when the beach vendors are busy getting their businesses ready for the summer ahead.  I need the seasons too to mark my life and the passage of time.  Each one brings with it a variety of life’s ceremonies and traditions.  Winter is the holidays, the warm glow of a fire and a hearty Sunday family dinner.  Spring is Easter and band concerts and yard work.  Summer brings rites of passage such as weddings and graduations (and of course – the beach!), and Fall is the start of a new school year and new plans and projects.  Sometimes, though, all of this is hard to remember when I look out at the gray sky and the wind hits me in the face as I leave my house. Of course, being a member of a group such as JWOT can certainly help us through the dreary days.  Do you have cabin fever?  Come to a meeting!  Come to the spaghetti dinner to support the “One of Our Own” project.  Need to feel like you are making a difference?  Help at the food pantry.  Ate a few too many Christmas cookies?  Grab a buddy and join the Healthy JWOT program.  Need some companionship?  Attend the New Member Orientation or come bowling with us in February.  Better yet, be a friend and bring a friend.  Introduce someone you care about to the benefits of being part of a wonderful organization like JWOT. We have so much going on right now, if you participate, the dull, cold days will fly by!  Of course, I do not mean to imply that there is not a multitude of fun and worthwhile things to do once the nice weather is here.  In the meantime, come on out and do things with JWOT.  Spring is right around the corner!



Jodie Long


We've been talking about family recently and a few people even submitted their thoughts on the idea of what family means to them. Please take the time to read them as they all have something very touching to say. I hope that everyone takes the time to be with their family, not just for this last week of January, but always. Family is precious, through good times and bad, family is that vital part of our lives. For me family is the most important part of my life. My mom is my best friend and the one person who knows me and loves me for the person I am. With all my faults and all my strengths I know she will always be there for me. And those of you who have known me know that Friday nights at Grandma's is a big part of my life. So much so that I even asked that our New Member Orientation be at 8pm so I can make it to grandma's. I also extend that feeling of family to my friends. Someone once told me that your friend's are G-d's way of making up for your family. Well, sometimes that is true!


So please come out and spend some time with your JWOT family in February. Our dinner meeting will be February 8th at 6:30pm at Scala Trattoria in the Brookwood Plaza at 400 S New Prospect Rd. If you would like to attend please contact Lauris Guddahl. Don't forget to bring your homemade Valentine. Thank you to Vickie Vitale for putting this lovely craft together. Our ongoing projects that started in January are our Secret Pal project and our Healthy Women of Today project. Want to lose weight, want to get healthy, want to stay healthy? Then please contact Fran Stevenson to sign up. It's always easier to achieve health and fitness goals when you have a support system.


Have a Lovely Valentine's Day!



A word from the External Vice President

Susan DeCarlo

First of all, I’d like to wish you all a healthy, peaceful and prosperous

 new year 2010


Soldier Care – Operation One of our Own

We have teamed up with other community 501c(3) Chapters to help with raising money for a young man from Jackson who has returned home from Iraq.  Our Chapter will be having a Pancake Breakfast and the chair for this project is Yvonne Thomas – we will have more details on the event at our February dinner meeting.


Gift Auction/Fashion Show –this event will take place at the PNC Art Center, Friday, March 19th from 7:30pm to 11:30pm.  The planning stages are underway.  The deposit to reserve the PNC Art Center has been mailed.  Please let either Maria and/or Antionette know if you are interested on being on the committee.  Save the date cards will be mailed the week of January 25th.


Volunteer Fair – was on Monday, January 18th at the Jackson Library.

A big “THANK YOU” to Kathy Muller who spent the day there on behalf of the JWOT handing out information on our Chapter as well as the Food Pantry and signing up potential new members.


Memorial Day Parade & Observance – I think it would be great if the JWOT were to march in this year’s parade, something to think about over the next couple of months.  We are looking for a chair to help coordinate our participation.


Please take the time to review the External clip board at each meeting, we have a busy calendar and will need your support to make these events successful.

As always, thank you…………………….





“Susan DeCarlo”


Born in Ireland, I am the youngest of five.  Our family business was farming until 1989 when my father sold the business and moved to London, England where he purchased two pubs.  After graduating HS I moved to London to join the family business.  I studied in London and in the evenings helped my Dad in the pubs. Then, my three bothers lived in London and my sister lived in NY.  In 1989 I applied for the Green Card Lottery to allow me legal access to the United States and I won.  I moved to Essex’s Fells, NJ in 1994 and continued my studies at Jersey City University. I will be celebrating 16 years living in the USA this February and I have a lot to celebrate.  I met my husband August, 1999 and we married December, 1999.  We have two beautiful children, Nicholas who is 8yrs old and our daughter Megan who is 5yrs.  Life has not always been easy, especially being so far from home.  I lost my Dad (and best friend) to cancer July 2004 and I lost my oldest brother John who was only 43yrs to cancer August 2007. It was from the pain of these losses that fuel and drives my passion to help families that have been struck with this disease.  I run every year for the Komen Foundation and enjoy running fundraisers to help our local community. I love to exercise, ski, camping, traveling and drinking a good bottle of wine.



Happy Birthday!

Mary Ellen Grelis




First I want to say how happy we are to have so many new members joining Jackson Women of Today. You bring new ideas, energy, enthusiasm and spirit to this organization and we want to make sure that is nurtured. So, please come to our New Member Orientation on Friday January 29th.It will be a fun and informative evening. Vested members are also invited. It will be at 8pm and we ask that you bring an appetizer, dessert or drink.  This will be at Vickie Vitale's home:


This get together also happens to fall between the dates of January 24-30 which is Family Week. Since Jackson Women of Today is somewhat of an extended family for many of us it ties in nicely with the goal of that week and that is...Spend some quality time with your family that week. Take some pictures to share with us. Tell us something about that experience; tell us about what your family means to you.

All my best,

Jodie Long

Internal VP


What Does Family Mean to Me?

Vickie Vitale


Coming from a large family with 7 children, family has always meant sharing, a lot of laughing and crying, good times and not so good ones, big holidays with all of us plus husbands (and or boyfriends) and nieces/nephews and plenty of home cooked traditional foods all day and night.  It also means many weddings, birthdays, babies, graduations and more.  I am currently the proud aunt of 15 nieces and nephews and 1- 3 yr.old great-nephew.  I am very lucky to have great in-laws also and that both families all got along.  Family is also about all the great recipes for traditional dishes (Italian of course) handed down from generation to generation, as I see my nieces and nephews now using them.

That's Amore'!!




 Valerie Jasiecki



When most people think of family, they think of blood relatives, such as brothers, sisters, parents, children, etc. When I think of family I think of a whole group of people that have come and gone in my life. These people have made me who I am today. I have learned to be independent and patient. I have learned to be strong for my children and to defend my beliefs. I have worked hard to get where I am today, so work ethics is a part of my life which I can credit to my hard working parents. I try to be less critical of others, but sometimes I fail, which is human. But putting the effort into not criticizing should count for something. We sometimes are more critical of family members than we are of friends or strangers if they do something to hurt us. That is not right, so forgiveness should be at the top of the list, depending on the severity of the problem. Now my blood family is a whole range of different ethnic, religious and political backgrounds. We always get along because we understand that is what family is all about. To understand each other is what is needed to sustain a common balance for peace. When your family is so diverse in many areas, you have to adapt. Otherwise you will lose out on many enjoyable family gatherings. I realized at a young age that family is important because no one is with us forever. People have come and gone through the years, so missing those that have gone, should bring the ones left behind closer. Having a strong bond in hard times and good times, can help you through a difficult situation. Caring for each other is a plus. Family is there to back you up. To keep you strong. To give advice when you need it or even when you do not want it. Family is good times and bad times. Time to share things and to tell stories of days gone by. To pass mementos on. To give important information to each other. To laugh and enjoy the company of each other. To fight and argue, but also view each others differences with an open mind and still remain on friendly terms. Family does not mean controlling someone, but helping them out through your own experiences that you gained in life. Family doesn't keep count of who did or didn't do something to your satisfaction. Family is formed through friendship and hope. Through a common goal or interests. Family is not always formed by blood. Family is formed through love, birth, marriage, adoption, friendship, through work and a purpose to achieve something that you feel is important.  Getting together as often as you can, whether for 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days, is something that should be cherished.  That is my idea of what family means to me. I could go on and on, because I love my family and all the different aspects that come with it.  But keeping in mind that we are here for such a short time, makes you appreciate what you have today in your family!



“What family means to me."


A family means being together in good times and in bad times.

Kathy Mueller


“What does family mean to me?”


Family is special!  Caring and sharing and always being there for each other.  Special memories will forever be with you.  Vacations are a great opportunity to spend special times together.  Family love leaves special feelings in the heart. 

Have fun with family members!

Diane Stanaway


Family.  What does family mean to me?  It means warmth, security and comfort.  It means having a place to “be”.  Be yourself, be among trust and be among love.

That is what “family” means to me now.  That is not always what it meant to me. I will say merely that I did not have the best of childhoods.  I left home at 16.  Never did I have the parental support I now give my children.  No one came to my concerts or cheered for me at events.  I had to scrounge for rides and the money to participate in activities.  I worked full time and put myself through college.  I was married at 21 and Ken and I have raised our 4 children completely on our own.  I will not go into any more detail than that because I really try not to dwell on the past or use “my parents” or “my childhood” as an excuse for vices or bad behavior even though I am sure that it is some of the reason for all of the choices I make.  How can we spend the first 16 years of our life with our first introduction to trust and belonging and NOT have our experiences affect us whatever their quality?

My plan for my life was to graduate from college (I did) and work full-time at a high-profile accounting firm – make lots of money – and travel the world (I did not.  I still plan to travel someday…).  Ken and I were childhood sweethearts so I always knew I would marry him.  I did not know we would have children – that was not part of my plan.  It was, however, part of God’s plan.  I felt ill-equipped to be a mother to one child and I ended up with 4.  To top it off, I evaluated child-care facilities while pregnant for the first time – and that experience was the end of my career plans.

It makes me laugh now when I think of my past plans – and I suck in my breath and my heart stops beating when I think about those four children.  Each is spirited, smart and talented.  How did THAT happen?  I will admit that my mothering techniques have been ,at  times, “unique”.    I have definitely felt that I had no idea what I was doing.  But they turned out ok!  Better than ok!  We have moved from the phases of “caretaking” and “disciplining” to more “mentoring”, “supporting” and “guiding”.  My oldest daughter (now almost the same age I was when I was married!)- has frequently “hated me” and two seconds later loved me – has become more of a companion and a friend. 

There was a time in my life when I longed for a family.  A time when I wished there was someone out there who had made me their first priority – and considered me their precious gift.  There were many lonely holidays and empty dinner plates.   Now I have what I always wanted.  Our date book is full of soccer games, concerts and plays.  Our refrigerator is empty.  Our table is full.  Sometimes, there are so many people in my house that I cannot hear myself think.  When it is almost too much to bear and I want everyone to be quiet – I remember what that quiet was like.

So, “family” to me now means many things.  It means people to care for and love.  It means voices around the dinner table and watching a winter movie and a lazy day at the beach together.  It means girls ‘days out and boys’ camping trips.  It means my children will never have to be alone or lonely.  It is the best of all things.

Suzanne Rogalsky








           FEB 13                      SATURDAY STOCKING 9-1










Save the date:




MARCH 19            GIFT AUCTION




Running Projects:






                                     2010-2011 ELECTIONS


According to the By-laws, a nominating committee shall be formed at the regular February meeting and shall consist of the Chair of the Board and other members appointed by the Chair of the Board. 


No member of the nominating committee can be a candidate for office by action of the nominating committee.  A nominating committee member may be nominated from the floor. 


This committee shall announce at least one nominee for each office at the March meeting.  Additional names may be placed in nomination from the floor at this meeting.


The election of officers shall take place during the April meeting.


Eligibility to run for office shall be limited to those members in good standing who belong to this organization for at least 6 months prior to elections and who have attended 50% of the 6 meetings.  All presidential candidates must have served one year on the Executive Board.




State/National Director-Vickie Vitale


Note:  Please make sure to read thru as there

is some very important info for yearend that

you don’t want to miss!!!


I want to just send out a reminder for filling out your programming certifications for the remainder of the year.  With only 3 months left to go in the year, it’s never too early to get your paper work in for awards.  Please also remember that I issued “A CHALLENGE” for all JWOT, back in September which involves a FREE gift card and goodie bag if you complete all the areas, or most of them. So please take the time to read all the info below and I will be resending the certification areas by email in case you missed a meeting when they were presented.  Also, if you would like to complete any of the Personal Enrichment areas missed, I will send you a questionnaire to complete.  So let’s get your certs in so we can bring home many awards for Yearend!  Last Chance to compete for awards!


The 2009-2010 year has been in full swing for the NJ Women of Today with many events and fundraisers taking place in the community.  Just remember that everything you do with the Jackson Women, whether it is at a meeting, a social, or out in the community will apply toward any of the areas for certifications (the Personal Enrichment 5 areas-effective writing and speaking, team building, effective listening, and leadership; Focus on Women, Chaplain, and the STEP I, II, III areas).  If you have any questions regarding these areas and certifying, please drop me a line ( or phone).  Also, as an added benefit, many of the tasks you perform at home, on the job, or at your local clubs, churches and schools also qualify for certification areas.


So please take a minute to jot down some of these tasks and create a list, along with the JW calendar so you have information at hand, to fill in the certification forms. The programming team and I will be going over the areas at each meeting as the “emphasis” months occur (which means, each month is assigned an area on the national JWOT calendar, i.e. Oct. = Chaplain).  Remember these forms are also your record of YOUR accomplishments in JW and the community!  Please contact me, Vickie, for forms and info and I will help you complete fast and easy.  It really is an easy thing to do!


THE YEAREND CHALLENGE FOR ALL!! So you think certifications are boring; don’t have time to fill out the forms, or just don’t care????  Well you may just care once you read about this year’s challenge for Year End awards!

For those of you that fill out the forms and try and complete all the required areas, there will be a gift incentive (gift bag filled with lovely gifts worth up to $25) given to ANYONE who have the most areas completed.  Those with less completed certs will also receive a gift incentive. That means, the Areas listed in paragraph 1: personal enrichment 5, FOW, Chaplain, STEP (any area).  Anyone completing all the Areas, including a Project Recognition report with completed File Folder, will receive a special gift card worth up to $25 (of your choice from a select list), in addition to a gift bag!!  So let’s get going and get your paperwork in, whether it’s online or in person.  Everyone wants a “free” gift!!!

These incentives for certifications will run from September 1st to May 1st, 2010.  So let’s get going fellow members, as the competition starts NOW!!!  PLEASE NOTE:  ALL PAPERWORK AND PROJECT RECOGNITION REPORTS ARE DUE TO ME BEFORE APRIL 27TH, 2010 FOR MAILING TO NATIONAL.


One last note, Congratulations to those members (4 so far and Counting?) that have completed all the certification areas.  Don’t forget your OAP’s that cover all the area’s and need to also be turned in to finish the NJ challenge.  So please keep challenging yourselves through “participation and certifications” as you may be the next award recipient of the Jackson chapter! (Don’t forget the deadlines, so please print out this info!)

Good luck to everyone!




First, all certification forms, in all areas, due to Vickie Vitale by April 27th in order to postmark to national staff by April 30th.  This allows me time to go over all the forms and make sure all dates, names and chapter info are correct for submission.  Please follow all requirements and check and recheck for correct info and attachments allowed.


  • All Project Recognition reports (on any project ran from Oct. 1, 2009 thru April 30, 2010) must also be submitted to Vickie by 4/27 for national submission.  Even though the deadline is 4/30, I will need time to review for corrections, attachments, etc.  Please make sure the STAT SHEET is filled out and attached, along with required copies (4-5).


  • All Essays for Focus on Women, effective Writing and STEP Résumé’s must also be submitted by 4/27.  Please make sure the STAT SHEET is filled out and attached, along with required copies (4-5).  *(Waiting on topics and criteria from national; will forward ASAP).


  • All submissions fees and postage for reports and essays (writing contest), and STEP Résumé’s are paid for by chapter.  Fees are $5 per submission.


  • All forms for certifications and Stat Sheets for reports/essays can be found online at which is the USWOT site.  Look under “FORMS” on web page at top of page.  Otherwise ask Vickie by email or phone for any forms, listed below:

-          STEP I, II, III   (Emphasis months or yearend)

-          Focus on Women  (Emphasis months or yearend)

-          Chaplain  (Emphasis month or yearend)

-          Personal Enrichmt.Areas: Exercises for Team Bldg, Leadership, Listening, Effective Writing/Speaking (done at meetings only during EM, except Eff.Speaking)

-          FOW Essay Stat Sheet

-          Effective Writing/Speaking Forms and Stat Sheet for competition

-          STEP II & III Resume Forms (Info Below Also)

-          Project Recognition report outlines, requirements, and STAT Sheet


  • OAP’s (Outstanding Achievement Program) – this form gets completed by any member who has submitted certifications in ALL areas (FOW/Chaplain, Personal Enrichment areas (5), STEP II or III area and signed a member, and did a report on a project of any sort at meeting or national submission).  This form also goes to Vickie for submission also.


  • Final Emphasis Months:

-          Feb. 2010 – National Charity Buckets of Sunshine, Extensions, Ext.Area DV

-          March 2010 – STEP areas (Phyllis Lewis) (last 2 months to submit, sign a member and complete all requiremts); Membership, USWT Foundation.

-          April 2010 – PE Area:  Effective Listening (Marsha Wydra); Volunteer recognition, Ext. Area DV (last Time).






 STEP II:  Resume’ (ONLY) – see USWT forms

Does not require attendance at National Convention

For members who have belonged to Women of Today for 12 mos. or lessGreat opportunity for 1st year members to receive recognition for their hard work.

Guidelines:  Copy of completed STEP II Certification Form

                     4 Copies of STEP II Resume, not to exceed three (3) typed pages, securely fastened

                     Must use 12 point font size

                     Letter of Recommendation

Cost:  $5.00 – payable to USWT

Deadline:  May 1, 2009 postmarked

Submit to National STEP PM (Vickie Vitale, 131 Gables Way, Jackson NJ 08527, #732-252-6862 or for questions)

STEP III: Resume’ and Oral Interview

Requires Attendance at National Year End Convention for Oral Interview in June.

For members who have belonged to WT for over a year, and for any past member in good standing that leaves organization for any length of time and rejoins at a later date.  

Guidelines:  Copy of completed STEP III Certification form

                        4 Copies of STEP III Resume, not to exceed ten (10) typed pages, securely fastened

                     Must use 12 point font size

                     Letter of recommendation

                      Competitor will be asked to recite USWT Creed at competition

Cost:  $5.00 - payable to USWT

Deadline:  May 1, 2009 postmarked

Submit to National STEP PM (Kim Troudt, 3506 22nd Ave, Kearney, NE 68845, #308-238-0756 or for questions).  Can also ask Vickie Vitale from Jackson NJ Chapter.





National Year End Competition

Essay Topic: How I Make a Difference When I Share My Spirit!

Guidelines: 800 - 1200 words; typed, double spaced; send 4 copies with 4 stat sheets - each copy in a binder or folder

Does not require attendance at National Convention

Cost: $5.00 - payable to USWT

Deadline: May 1, 2009 postmark

Submit to National FOW/Chaplain PM (Cindy Umland, 400 River Avenue S #211, Saulk Rapids Minnesota 56379)



I would like to thank the ladies and gentleman who attended the project.  We were joined by a guest that enjoys the JWOT and we were also joined by members from the North Jersey chapter.  As before, the breakfast and service was great.   So many nice gifts!

Diane Stanaway

Chair of the Board


United States Women of Today


*       Creed – We, the United States Women of Today, are dedicated to serving our community and nation, are committed to strengthening our individual talents, and stand united by our friendship and belief in the future.

*       USWT has 15 Board members.

*       Chapters in 12 states; Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin.

*       Sister States; Michigan-Illinois-Iowa, Wisconsin- Minnesota- Massachusetts, New Jersey-Nebraska- South Dakota, North Dakota-Pennslyvania-Missouri.



New Jersey Women of Today



Board Members

Diane Stanaway, President

Diana Fraundorfer, Executive Vice President

Suzanne Rogalsky, Treasurer

Christine Sheridan, Corresponding Secretary

Pat Rhein, Chair of the Board


*       New Jersey has 3 chapters; Edgewater Park, Jackson, North Jersey




I hope you enjoy the Phoenix. I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Day.


All articles are welcome.  Please send them to me as an attachment with February Phoenix in the subject line.    Comic Sans size 10 font.

Jackson Women of Today
PO Box 1042
Jackson NJ 08527