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Golden City Woman's Club: Years of Service

Articles: Sarasota History

Author: Ann Shank, former Sarasota County Historian
Source: Sarasota County Historical Resources
Photo Credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources
Credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources

Sarasota History - Golden City Woman's Club: Years of Service  photo

As the county’s population surged during the 1950s and ‘60s, new social and service groups formed. One of these was the Golden City Woman’s Club, which fifty-two years ago became affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Having organized the previous year, the new club’s charter members met to promote the cultural, education, social, civic and charitable welfare of the community. They selected for their symbol the gold tree, the official tree of the city of Sarasota, and gold and white for their colors.

While the club has planted gold trees to enhance the landscaping of a variety of schools and other public buildings, and members have won awards in the annual Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs’ arts and crafts competitions over the years, it is its special community projects that have made the greatest impact on the community.

An initial offer of volunteer help in the office of the Poison Control Center at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in 1962 mushroomed into a major campaign to educate parents and children about the life-threatening substances found commonly in home and garden. The club purchased a variety of publications for children and adults, including “Dennis the Menace Takes a Poke at Poison,” (pictured) and “Danger Lurks,” for distribution in schools, medical offices, and day care facilities.
Members scheduled films and speakers, recorded radio messages during National Poison Prevention Week, and distributed information at their county fair booth in 1966. That year they also used poison control as the theme for their float in the King Neptune Frolics parade. The float was voted best in the non-commercial category.

Concern for children has been a thread through many of the projects of the Golden City Woman’s Club. For a number of years the club sponsored “Big John,” a clown who visited children in the hospital. Members also collected toys for the Salvation Army to deliver during the Christmas season. One year, some of those toys were dolls for which the members had made clothes.

During two years in the late 1960s, the club adopted Children’s Haven as their major community welfare project. Members volunteered as teacher’s aides, organized parties for the children, and provided some furnishings for the residential home on DeSoto Road. Support for the Well Baby Clinic and “Grandma Marina’s Baby Shower,” a knitting and sewing project, began in the 1980s.

In August 1976, the club opened Kiddie’s Konsignment Shop on South Tamiami Trail at Bahia Vista Street (Walgreens is located there today) in Sarasota. Proceeds went to the local office of the Kidney Foundation, which served six counties and had recently opened a 10-bed kidney dialysis unit. This business enterprise required the club members to delve into marketing, sales, bookkeeping, and other facets of a small business operation. At first the shop sold toys, books, and games as well as clothing. As the project grew, the shop moved to another space on the same site, and with a new name; Tots to Teens Consignment, clothes became the only product.

For these and other projects the Golden City Woman’s Club has received awards and recognition from the Florida Federation of Women’s Clubs, and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Golden Gavel Awards Program.