May 3, 2004 – The Inner Wheel Club of St Thomas in collaboration with the other Florida District clubs is hosting the organization's USA Conference this week.
More than a hundred Inner Wheel members from across the nation are expected to take part in the conference, which is being held Tuesday through Sunday at Marriott Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
The national Inner Wheel president, Joy Sims, and the group's international president, England's Eileen Harsant, will be taking part. Karen Hastie Williams, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who grew up on St. Thomas in the 1940s as the daughter of William Hastie, the territory's first African-American governor, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremonies on Wednesday.
This is the second time the St. Thomas group has hosted the international conference, according to a release.
Inner Wheel was founded in 1924 in Manchester, England. The first Inner Wheel Club on St. Thomas was founded in 1978 by Olivia Lee Dilworth Stanford, its first president. A national association of clubs, Inner Wheel U.S.A., was established in 1987.
With more than 100,000 members worldwide, Inner Wheel aims to foster friendship, international understanding and personal service. Membership is open to spouses, other family members and partners of current, former or deceased Rotarians. Local clubs support charities and provide community service in other ways while maintaining close ties with their corresponding Rotary clubs.
At the national level, the Inner Wheel Foundation, established in 1988, supports philanthropic, charitable and educational projects. It is funded through donations from clubs and individual members. A current focus is on expanding its National Children's Myoelectric Limb Project, which supports the replacement of upper limbs and hands for economically needy children.
Locally, the St. Thomas Inner Wheel Club first identified the need for a gift shop in the old Knud Hansen Hospital so that visitors could purchase cards, flowers and other items for patients. Today the club operates the gift shop at Roy L. Schneider Hospital, with proceeds benefitting the hospital's pediatric wing.
On Thursday in a ceremony at 3 p.m., the club will rededicate the Schneider gift shop in honor of Stanford, who "gave countless hours to help children," the release stated. Stanford died in February in Florida.
Through various fund-raising events the club also supports the local Boys and Girls Club, KidsCope, Friends of the St. Thomas Libraries, Family Resource Center and the Humane Society of St. Thomas. It also awards several college scholarships to local high school graduates.
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