In what started as the Palatine Welcome Wagon in 1972, the Northwest Circle of Friends Social Club this year is celebrating a long, rich history that spans 40 years in Palatine and the surrounding communities.
“We are a social club, but our mission has broadened to include raising money for local charities, and promoting friendships and camaraderie amongst our members,” said Gail Gustafson, who has been a member for the last 27 years and is currently serving her second term as president of the club.
The group was originally made up of local women who went door-to-door with goody baskets to ensure new residents were made to feel at home after moving into town.
But in 2004, Home Incorporated bought out the organization—and with its name change—the mission and focus of the organization also was transformed.
Gustafson said area women are attracted to the club, many times when life circumstances change, such as retirement, becoming widowed or if an individual simply has a lifestyle change and has more time to take part in social activities.
And many times the relationships that develop provide support to members during difficult times.
“Helping Hands is a club initiative that calls on us to be there for our members in times of need," said Denise Wright, membership committee chair and a 20-year member. "When various needs arise, we are always there for one another.”
The range of activities that help build those relationships include bowling and golf, Bridge and Mah Jongg, in addition to walking groups, a book club and breakfast club.
A monthly luncheon also is held at various locations in the northwest suburbs. The June luncheon is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12 at Makray Memorial Golf Course at 11:30p.m. and women of all ages are welcome to attend.
The philanthropic efforts of the organization have been aimed at a variety of local non-profit organizations throughout the years.
Among the past recipients are Palatine Township, Palatine Township Food Pantry and Senior Center, Adopt-A-Family programs, Wings and PHD.
Other activities sponsored by the organization were created to include spouses from time to time, such as "Out to Dinner," various socials, the summer picnic and yearly Christmas party.
There are presently 165 members that hail from Palatine, Inverness, Barrington, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, Barrington, Buffalo Grove and Arlington Heights.
Though there is no age requirement to join, Gustafson said members currently range in age from 50 to 90 years.
“It’s a wonderful place to meet women from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures-it’s the friendships that we form that are the important thing,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson said the organization’s 40th anniversary will honored at a celebration later this year, but a date has not yet been set.
For more information about attending the June luncheon or about the Northwest Circle of Friends Social Club, visit www.nwcircleoffriends.com.