An Upper Arlington-based book club recently donated a literary prize to help educate and empower women who are recovering from addiction and trauma.
In the 1990s, a group of women, several from Upper Arlington, formed a book club as a platform to share literary interests.
Since that time, a number of Northwest Literary Circle members have come and gone, but about six original members remain and they've introduced new women to the group, which meets monthly.
Recently, the club won a prize package as part of the Upper Arlington Public Library's "UA Book Club Giveaway," a program designed to connect the library to book clubs and promote reading. Included among the goodies was a $225 bookstore gift card.
Rather than add to its reading list, however, Northwest Literary Circle members decided to donate the card to Amethyst, a nonprofit organization at 455 E. Mound St., Columbus, that provides long-term addiction and trauma treatment for homeless women and their children.
The donation will enable Amethyst to purchase books and educational guides to place in its community room.
"We wanted to give a gift to somebody who needed it, especially at this time of year," said Linda Readey, an original Northwest Literary Circle member. "They really appealed to us because it's women that are helped by Amethyst.
"We share a lot of things, and one of the things we share is a desire to keep women empowered," she said of reading club members.
Amethyst Development Director Nanon Morrison said the gift will go a long way for the women and children who live in the organization's 140 apartment units.
"It makes a huge difference in people's lives," she said. "I just appreciate the heart of the women who wanted to do this.
"Education is a way out of poverty," she added. "It's all these things coming together that really help these women become sober, stay sober and get their lives together."
Morrison said the gift card will help provide clients with inspirational and motivational resources as well as children's materials.
"It helps those children to not become tomorrow's clients," she said.
The Northwest Literary Circle's current members are Ginny Barney, Sue Dingle, Susan Flaherty, Judy Krasnoff, Liz Meyers, Yvonne Perotti, Patti Post, Linda Readey, Carole Schuller and Marti Timmons.
Membership is not exclusive to Upper Arlington residents; some regulars hail from Bexley, Columbus and the Dublin areas.
The group formed after a 1990s women's series held at the Ohio Theatre called "Lectures of Note," was discontinued.
"They announced they weren't going to do the Lectures of Note any more and a group of us that used to go said, 'We should do something to stay together.'
"So, we formed a book club," Readey said.
Meyers said the Northwest Literary Circle was named to represent the friendships that have blossomed from their regular meetings and shared interests.
"That's what we have become -- a circle of women who care about each other, learn from each other and enjoy each other," she said.
Each September, the club meets to set its reading list for the year. Readey said each member makes a recommendation and the group votes to determine which books will be read.
In addition to 11 monthly meetings in which the club discusses the previous month's reading selection, members meet a 12th time each year to simply enjoy one another's company over dinner.
"(The monthly meeting) is a date on the calendar I wouldn't miss for very many reasons," Readey said. "It's something I look forward to.
"It keeps me reading and many times, they're books I wouldn't otherwise come across."
That spirit of fostering a thirst for knowledge and creativity is right in line with Amethyst's principles, Morrison said.
She added the club's gift this holiday season will help enrich lives.
"Our goal is not only to help women get clean and sober, but to also educate them and help them be self-sufficient," she said. "These resources are a treasure."