Former Kansas senator will be women’s workshop speaker

Retired U.S. Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker will be the keynote speaker for the Seventh Annual Women’s Workshop designed for the women of Marion County.

The workshop, titled “Women: Making Connections in a New Millennium” will be 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 4, in the Marion Elementary School. Lunch will be provided. There is no charge.

The workshop provides an opportunity for women of all ages and life situations to gather together to learn, share and celebrate, say organizers.

The workshop gives women personal contact with agencies, services and groups who support women and families. The overall objective of the conference is to strengthen women through education and networking that ultimately will have a positive affect on strengthening families.

Kassebaum Baker will be addressing, “The Community and Family Ties.” Organizers said she will be sharing her thoughts on children and teens in rural communities. She will stress the need for communication and relationship between adults and children, with teaching and modeling high standards as a foremost duty of all adults who live in community with children.

Among the other speakers and their topics:

n Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Kansas University Department of Religious Studies, “Women and their Spirituality.”

n Shelly Kuney, Wellness Professionals, “Osteoporosis.”

n Marsha Grandberry, Wichita State University Department of Music, “Creativity in Music.”

n Linda Peterson, Marion County commissioner and government leader, “Marion County Women Can Make a Difference.”

Workshop coordinators recently to finish last-minute planning for the event.

“We are very excited about this workshop,” said Cheri Ochs Wheeler, a social worker from Prairie View in Newton. “I think it is going to be a very good one.”

The one concern of the group is the increasing costs of having such an event.

Jan Moffitt, director of the Marion County health Department, reported on several grants and funds available, and the stipulations which left Marion’s program ineligible.

“Sometimes you wonder who and what these funds actually go to,” said Linda Ogden, of Communities in School of Marion County. Ogden is working on a humanities grant application to help with the cost of speakers and incidentals.

According to Moffitt, Marion received a one-time initiative grant from Kansas State Extension services when the workshop was launched.

“And we have received help from Lutheran Health Services and a couple of other organizations through the years,” Moffitt said.

The group agrees they would like to keep the workshop free to county women.

“This is a wonderful thing for our women,” said Janet Bryant, director of Marion County Food Bank. “Once you go, you’ll come back.”

Registration forms will be out soon and need to be returned by Oct. 25.

A children’s workshop will be provided for children ages 3 to 13. Snacks, lunch, games, videos, sing-alongs, and a “Kids Can Cook” activity will keep children occupied while mothers are busy in another wing of the building. Child care for infants and toddlers is also available.

For more information, contact any of the coordinators: Cheri Ochs Wheeler, Rachel Boden and Jo Helmer, Prairie View; Jan Moffitt, Marion County Health Department; Janet Bryant, Marion County Food Bank; Janet Herzet, Marion County Home Health; Linda Ogden, Communities in Schools of Marion County; Nancy Pihl, K-State Research & Extension/Marion County.

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