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Friendship Bracelets to Canned Food

How Juniors Maggie Murray and Stella Matheson Are Helping the Tallahassee Community

Photo by Maclay Women's Service Program

Even with the many clubs and programs offered at Maclay, there is always room to start another initiative. Juniors Maggie Murray and Stella Matheson saw an opportunity to start a program when the Maclay Dance Marathon was taken away. While they were brainstorming, they thought of programs that would benefit something they were passionate about. The program they came up with had a goal to benefit women in the Tallahassee community, under the name of the Women’s Service program.

“I know people do want to help; that was the whole purpose of our program,” Matheson said. “We are just trying to attract people to want to make a difference in the community.”

With previous Dance Marathon executive board members having more free time, the co-founders had a member-base to start out with. Women’s Service is labeled as a program rather than a club because they mostly focus on out-of-school activities. This allows for more flexibility with how many events students have to attend, as well as eliminates joining a club just to have a leadership title. The need to start this program went beyond the opening in the extracurriculars at Maclay.

“I think it is also good to bring awareness to it [women’s issues] because  a lot of people, especially at Maclay where people have a lot of privilege, don’t exactly know what they’re lucky to have so it is also good to see that,” Murray said. “It is also really rewarding to be able to do little stuff like cooking the meals.”

The events included a talk from a Brehon representative, the pantry clean-out and donated supplies, school-wide Thanksgiving food drive, Christmas cards and bracelets in the courtyard and most recently made food to donate to the Brehon House. Women’s Service donated over 1,000 cans to the Oasis Center during their Thanksgiving food drive which benefited women and girls in Tallahassee.

Many of the service opportunities that the Women’s Service program offers involve the Brehon House, which is transitional housing in Tallahassee that provides safe housing for homeless pregnant women and their infants. The House can accommodate up to six women in addition to their newborns and toddlers at any given time, and all services are provided to the client at no cost as long as they abide by the House rules. In 2021, 100 percent of Brehon House residents that completed the program moved into more permanent housing following their stay at Brehon House.

Members of the service program helped cook meals for the Brehon House, clean the house and organize their pantries. Usually five to 12 people show up to each event depending on the location and nature of it. The small group creates a tighter bond for people interested in helping the program.

 “I chose to join the club and attend this event because I have always been passionate about women's rights and thought it would be a good way to help out,” junior Bella Evans. “It feels great knowing the club's actions have made a positive impact in the community.”

Since the program is new, getting people interested in the events and service projects has been a challenge for the co-founders.

“If you hear about what we are doing and you’re not busy this weekend, then come,” Matheson said. “It’ll take like an hour and it is pretty fun so just go do it just because you want to. A lot of people don’t know that they can just show up because they think it is a club so I think it makes it a lot more accessible and easy.”

Look out for upcoming events on the Women’s Service instagram page and be sure to bring a friend or two along to learn about their important messages.


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Andy Poll

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