The Grande Dames Tea honoring Thelma Hodges of Naples, Helen O’Rourke McClary of Matlacha and Ettie Francis Walsh of Fort Myers will be held Friday, March 15, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Broadway Palm located at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers. Mei-Mei Chan, The News-Press Media Group President and Publisher, will once again serve as mistress of ceremonies.
Seats for the tea are $50 per person and may be reserved either online at www.pacecenter.org/
Co-chairs of the event are Sandy Stilwell and Cheryl Komnick, who are members of the PACE Lee Board of Directors.
“These three outstanding women come from varied backgrounds and are sure to have some insightful advice for the audience and the PACE girls,” said Stilwell.
“Our theme of The Wisdom of Age – Honoring the Female Spirit is so appropriate because each of these women has much to share from her own life’s journey,” Komnick said.
This is the fifth year of the historic Grande Dames Tea. Previous honorees have included Berne Davis, Eleanore Kleist and Barbara B. Mann in 2009; Jeanne Bochette, Helen Hendry and Veronica Shoemaker in 2010; Myra Daniels, Kathleen Nealon and Mimi Straub in 2011; and Michel Doherty, Mavis Stinson Miller and Anna “Boots” Tolles in 2912.
The Grande Dames Tea was originated by PACE Center for Girls of Lee County to honor women who have played major roles in Southwest Florida history through decades of service, philanthropy and helping others.
The agenda for the tea will include interaction between the PACE girls and the three Grande Dames, in a question and answer format, that Stilwell and Komnick said “is sure to be thought-provoking and poignant.”
White House | Black Market is the title sponsor of the Grande Dames Tea. Other major sponsors are the Broadway Palm and Edison National Bank, along with media sponsors Grandeur Magazine and The News-Press Media Group.
PACE Center for Girls, Inc., is a non-residential delinquency prevention program targeting the unique needs of girls, ages 12 to 18 years old, facing challenges such as physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, foster care, neglect, death of a parent, family history of incarceration and declining grades.
PACE is a Florida-based, not for profit organization, and the only statewide prevention program for adolescent at-risk girls in the nation. Its mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. Since the Lee County program opened its doors in 2007, nearly 600 girls have been served, helping them on the journey to begin lives of dignity and success.
PACE accepts referrals from the juvenile justice system, the Department of Children & Families, school personnel, community services agencies, parents, family members, friends and self-referrals. PACE Lee’s most recent outcome report shows that 94 percent of girls served have no involvement with the criminal justice system a year after transitioning from PACE’s day program. As a result, PACE reduces the significant long term costs associated with teen pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment and long term economic dependency.
For more information about the Grande Dames Tea, please contact PACE Director of Development Melissa Cofta at (239) 425-2366, ext. 25 or visit www.pacecenter.org/