Friendship Force members and clubs around the world are doing spectacular work all the time! Look here for news, stories and information on upcoming FFI events worldwide.
2018 brought Friendship Force two more honored recipients of the Wayne Smith Medal. This award was created in 2011 as a tribute to the memory of Friendship Force founder Wayne Smith, whose boundless energy and optimism and untiring commitment to the cause of world friendship made this organization the global force for good that it is today. Recipients of the medal are those who advance our organization’s values of mutual respect, cultural diversity, and humanitarian service. In 2018, we were lucky enough to honor our 100th recipient of the award!
The two members who joined the distinguished group of exemplary leaders around the world in 2018 are Marj Stanton of Friendship Force Bundaberg, Australia, and Donna Baldwin-Haut of Friendship Force Greater Milwaukee, USA. These women are today’s leaders who make it possible to maintain Wayne Smith’s vision of promoting understanding across the barriers that separate people.
Marj Stanton has been a member of the Bundaberg Friendship Force Club for over 24 years. She has participated in many domestic and international Journeys during her time with Friendship Force, and has attended almost every National Conference in Australia. Widely known and respected in the Australian Friendship Force community, Marj has held the office of Merchandise Officer for many years, while also lending her home for day hosting, dinner hosting, and numerous club functions. “Through her loving caring nature she epitomises the ideals, goals and vision of Friendship Force,” according to club president of FF Bundaberg, Don McKewen.
The 100th Recipient of the Wayne Smith Medal is Donna Baldwin-Haut of Friendship Force of Greater Milwaukee, as nominated by the board of her club for her twelve years of outstanding leadership. Donna has helmed fundraising and strategic planning projects for her club, along with helping to organize their 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration. She has also served as President in 2011 and 2012 and Journey Coordinator on several outbound and inbound Journeys.
Donna has been a strong proponent of building service projects into FF Greater Milwaukee’s inbound Journeys, and has also facilitated extensive leadership training for leaders of new and developing clubs. According to the FF Greater Milwaukee Board, “Donna is eminently qualified to be a recipient of this award with the dedication she has shown in word and deed towards promoting world peace through advancing the organization’s values of mutual respect, cultural diversity, and humanitarian service.”
Donna, herself, said she is “humbled beyond words” to be receiving the award. “To be counted among the outstanding FFI leaders around the world is indeed an honor that touches me deep within my heart. I am most grateful to the Friendship Force of Greater Milwaukee for this honor,” Donna said. She continued:
Friendship Force has given me the amazing opportunity to experience the warmth of friendships throughout the world and the joy of learning about diverse cultures and amazing places along the way. I believe deeply in the mission of Friendship Force and feel that it is my duty to return my service to the organization for all that it has given to me and the people of the world through promoting peace, understanding, and humanitarian service.
Each nomination of the Wayne Smith Medal is accompanied by a donation of US $500 to the Friendship Force Legacy Fund, given by the presenting club(s) in honor of the recipient. The donation and others like it help advance the work of FFI by expanding its global reach. The medal may recognize exceptional leadership from within the club, or it may be presented to those in the broader community whose lives reflect the Friendship Force mission.