'We are here': Annual fundraiser supporting women a success

Jan. 24—ASHLAND — More than 100 women gathered in downtown Ashland for the fifth annual Women, Wine, Jewels and More fundraiser aimed at supporting Ashland Community and Technical College scholarships for women.

Norma Meek, former longtime educator in the Boyd County school system, is the founder of the fundraiser. Even on a cold winter night, the 81-year-old was as spry as a spring chicken as she enjoyed the all-female fellowship.

"It's all for scholarships for women," Meek said. "We don't have an age limit; it could be 17 to 18, all the way up to 80, if somebody wants to go back and get an education, they can. Women in Ashland are helping other women.

"We want women to understand that there is help out there for everybody and we are here. All you have to do is call us and we are going to make it happen."

Silent auction items lined 11 tables inside The Mill on Winchester Avenue ranging from backpacks, jewelry, pottery and purses, where the women passed through, one by one, picking items to bid on.

Meek said she has seen the fundraiser grow from a shrub to a tree.

"It will just keep growing," she said.

Since the inception of the event, the fundraiser has brought joy, fulfillment and has become a place for women to "come together, catch up" and support one another.

"Everybody that participates or comes is a supporter," Meek said. "You get fellowship and friendships are formed, everybody just has a great time.

"I was the first one in my family to get a college education," Meek added. "My mother was from a family of 10. College is expensive for lots of folks. I just want everybody to know that education is important and everybody can do it, especially for women."

As women with wine in their hands filled the restaurant, laughter, smiles and an uplifting energy radiated off the walls. Some gave hugs of excitement of seeing one another. Others cheerfully pranced around, mingling with other women.

Brooke Seasor, Director of Resource Development at ACTC, was once again among the sea of women for the annual event. She thanked Meek for all she has done to better the lives of women in northeastern Kentucky.

"Women rule the world," she said. "We couldn't do this event without Norma Meek, and I would love to thank all of my hostesses, and the college for allowing us to do the event. They have a huge role in this."

Meek was surprised with a scholarship endowment, called the Norma Meek Community Women's Endowment Scholarship.

"It's our way of thanking her for all the years that she has helped with this," Seasor said.

(606) 326-2657 —

(606) 326-2657 —