In early 2009, Sheri Sutherby-Fricke received three strikingly similar phone calls from three different women. All of them were struggling to pay their house payments while taking care of their children.
Sutherby-Fricke said she felt she had to do something to help support women, especially those living in Wyandotte where she is so connected.
“There are so many pressures for women because of who we are,” she said. “We are to be the nurturers, the ones that take care of our homes, and we make sure the community has programs it needs.”
Sutherby-Fricke, who is in her second term on the Wyandotte City Council, began asking women she thought were phenomenal to join in her mission of supporting the women and families of Wyandotte. From that, Women of Wyandotte was formed. The group was established in November 2009 and approved as a nonprofit in 2010.
The group’s advisory board includes Sutherby-Fricke as the president and founder, Karen Mikhail as vice president, Corki Benson as treasurer, Caroline Sutherby as director of marketing and research and Joanne Lanagan as volunteer coordinator.
The W.O.W. mission statement says the group wants to help women excel in life toward higher achievement and to help them achieve a better quality of life. The group stresses five main areas: education, health, family, community and spirituality.
Leslie Charles, a motivational speaker, spoke to the group in 2010 about women’s self-image issues. W.O.W. also has hosted a divorce clinic, a resume writing workshop and a workshop on nutrition.
“Women need to gather,” Sutherby-Fricke said. “They need to support each other.”
Sutherby-Fricke, a licensed realtor for 25 years, said women also need to honor each other. This year, W.O.W. honored Wyandotte superintendent Patricia Cole with an outstanding woman award.
W.O.W. is looking for nominations for Wyandotte’s women of the year. Nominees must be from Wyandotte and 18 years or older. Candidates can be nominated in one of the five categories the group emphasizes. Nominations must be received by Aug. 1. Winners will be recognized in October. (To nominate a woman, fill out the PDF under the photos above.)
Sutherby-Fricke said the group has had occasional meetings and hopes to make them more frequent.
“No matter how tough or how great things get for us, it’s about us being bonded," she said.
W.O.W. has many events planned in the coming months.
The group is hosting a membership get-together at 7 p.m. May 4 at the . Local gardener Paul Rodman will speak about starting your own garden. Mary Jo Heck, an interior designer, will speak about redesigning and staging homes. Wine, cheese and dessert will be served. Everyone is welcome.
The group will host a health expo from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 18 at . Jodi Davis will be the keynote speaker. Blue Cross Blue Shield also will be on hand to conduct a demonstration on the benefits of healthy eating and nutrition. Other vendors will be on site, along with prizes and giveaways throughout the afternoon.
The group also sells T-shirts that say "I love my family” for $15.
Sutherby-Fricke stresses you don’t have to be from Wyandotte to be involved with W.O.W.
“We’re not here alone,” she said. “It takes a village to raise a village.”
For more information or to order a shirt, call Sutherby-Fricke at 734-553-6607.