Meet juicy wise woman, Karen Melcher. Karen is our fourth and final unsung hero of Women’s History Month. Karen has a big heart, a profound sense of decency and a strong desire to do right, evidenced by her volunteer work at a local food bank, among other things. Karen, a retired physical therapist, loves to stay fit by being outdoors. She can be frequently found walking her rescue dog, Ziggy Marley Melcher, along the C&O Canal or in one of the many wooded parks in the D.C. metro area. She is an avid tennis player and when it’s time to be indoors, she keeps her mental game up by playing duplicate bridge.
A mother of two grown daughters, Karen is grandma to two beautiful grandchildren. She is very proud of her daughters’ accomplishments. One, a frontline worker as a nurse, and the other an art teacher.
Those who know Karen admire her for her political acumen and volunteer work which began in high school and has never waned. She worked for the John Anderson campaign for the presidency and continues to volunteer at the polls. In the 2020 election, she served as a poll worker in spite of Covid-19. Karen passionately believes that voting is both a privilege and a responsibility. She works tirelessly for voters rights. She likes to point out that she has something in common with Kamala Harris … they both graduated from Howard University.
As a young woman, Karen lived overseas for two years and became active in International Women’s Club activities and charities. Her enthusiasm has never waned. We honor Karen for her can-do spirit, her dedication to helping others, and for the juicy wisdom she has generously (and humbly) shared with us in several gatherings.
Meet Judy Kelley, our latest unsung hero! As evidenced in this photo, Judy loves children, especially her two grandchildren … that’s her granddaughter pictured with her on a visit to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Judy is a volunteer “early morning tour guide” at the Flower Show each year as a member of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Guides create their own scripts and conduct personal tours for groups who want to see the displays before the show officially opens each day.
A longtime gardening enthusiast, Judy became certified as a Master Gardener in 2012 after completing the rigorous 60-hour course. To maintain her certification, she puts in many hours of volunteer work each year. She has served on the Publicity and Program Steering Teams and currently serves on the Advisory Council.
Judy works tirelessly to beautify our planet, including several seasons of volunteering with the New Jersey Tree Commission to plant trees in Camden neighborhoods. She also helped secure grants from her former workplace, American Water, to create an education garden for the local community. She is a member of the Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Region, currently acting as co-chair of the annual “March into Spring” (an all-day gardening symposium) Silent Auction, to raise funds for educational programming and events for the public. Judy loves to help things grow!
Did we mention her love of children? During the Covid pandemic she generously gave countless hours to her grandchildren on Zoom, reading, playing Barbies and Paw Patrol, attending virtual tea parties, and simply expressing her love and support. As an ex-elementary school teacher she has a host of educational tricks up her sleeve. Her grown son and daughter-in-law are forever grateful! We, at Juicy Wise Women, are grateful, too. It’s been a joy getting to know Judy. We are proud to pronounce her one of our unsung heroes!
Meet Nicole Felton, our second unsung hero of the month! Nicole has been an ardent participant in Juicy Wise Women gatherings from the beginning. We have come to know and love Nicole for her compassion and authenticity. “She is thoughtful and supportive and a fantastic listener.” And, when Nicole shares her wisdom, we listen. Her spirit shines when she shares ... helping to light the path for all.
Nicole volunteers for Germantown Help, a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help neighbors in need, which might mean delivering groceries or medications, or transporting folks to appointments. Whatever her task, Nicole takes it on with a smile and inspires others to do the same. Nicole is an exceptional wife, mom and grandma …” kind and generous and loving.” As a reading enthusiast, Nicole passes along the joy and wonder of books and stories to her beloved family. She has also demonstrated in our gatherings that she is a wonderful writer!
One of Nicole’s passions is organic gardening … and not just tomatoes and cucumbers! We recently learned that she is planting a unique vegetable in her garden this year. Nicole informed us that hopniss (a.k.a. apios americana and American groundnut) has a long history of use among Native American tribes.
As a woman who is “always looking for things to do to improve our world,” Nicole keeps herself politically informed. She has been seen at a demonstration or two, taking a stand for issues that align with her belief and conviction that all people are one people. We can all take inspiration from Nicole and work to be great role models who stand up for what we believe in.
Congratulations, Nicole, on being one of our unsung heroes!
Meet Susan Avjian, the first of our unsung heroes for Women’s History Month. Susan is a long time member of Juicy Wise Women and has inspired us with her many interesting life experiences. Susan is a wife and mother of three grown children. Her two-year old granddaughter is her pride and joy. Susan presently supports her father as his caregiver, ”office manager” and chauffeur. She has aided and traveled with him in pre-Covid appearances for Holocaust related speeches and meetings and in Covid times the multiple zoom meetings for the varied Holocaust supporting organizations he is still involved in, in his 9th decade of life. She gives of herself generously, inside and outside of her family.
Susan has spent many years volunteering with therapeutic riding programs and doing physical therapy with their clients. Prior to Covid, Susan transported belongings for the homeless. In response to the Covid epidemic, Susan has made over 200 masks (and counting) that she donated to non-profits and other organizations in need. She has participated in a variety of advocacy programs, including NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), Moms Demand Action, and Vote Forward. She weekly meets with (pre-Covid) and speaks with (during Covid) a local Holocaust Survivor through a JSSA (Jewish Social Service Agency) Holocaust program.
We celebrate Susan Avjian for her kindness, compassion and generosity of spirit!