CARBONDALE – Embracing women of all ages in friendship and trust, continued learning experiences and business, as well as basic life acceptance and old-fashioned fun, Women to Women - T.H.R.I.V.E. has been steadily growing since it was founded in September 2014. During these few short years, the small group of 14 women who initially came together to share business ideas has grown to a resounding 69-member organization that not only shares but flourishes together and individually. Women are indeed thriving!

At 6:00pm on Wednesday January 17th, this eclectic energized gathering of women will come together for a T.H.R.I.V.E. Night at the Chamber Gallery. “We’re celebrating and reflecting on our past year together,” said Ruthanne Jones, who has been a part of T.H.R.I.V.E. since its inception, “and we’re inviting more women to join us to share the exciting times ahead. We welcome women of all walks of life who’d like to meet others and who want to expand their own horizons. I’m always fascinated by the many and varied women who come to our informal weekly meetings. We are all alike in so many ways, yet we’re all different, and together we’re all sharing and supportive of one another.”

Women to Women - T.H.R.I.V.E. began as a handful of local-area business women who sought to further the ‘women helping women’ concept. After several women responded to an early informational flyer to begin fostering connections, to network, and to offer business support and ongoing education to whomever wanted to participate, the group has continually expanded. When initially brainstorming to help develop a more purposeful focus, they created an acronym that defines both their individual and group endeavors along with an apt mission statement: T.H.R.I.V.E. – Teach, Help, Reach, Invest, Value, and Encourage. Each word is a descriptive action term that fosters who and what these women are as individuals and as a group.

Early on, the women of T.H.R.I.V.E. realized that their membership “includes many women who reside right here in Carbondale,” Jones reflected, “but our group doesn’t have boundaries. Word quickly got out about our weekly meetings and special activities -- like sharing UNICO events during the year and, more recently, fun Christmas caroling at senior centers and the Gino Merli Veterans’ Center. Before long, other women wanted to know more about us so they could join the fun and share our energy. Our membership soon included women from throughout the Upper Valley … Mayfield, Archbald, Jessup, Jermyn, and some join us from Clifford, Forest City, and from Scranton too. T.H.R.I.V.E. is very INnclusive, not EXclusive, and we encourage and welcome all women to join us.”

“We’re all here to share ideas and offer support to one another,” said Sonia Munson, a New York native and aspiring artist who made Carbondale her home two years ago. “Ruthanne invited me to attend a meeting, and I’ve been a part of T.H.R.V.E. ever since. I find it amazing and absolutely wonderful to see how each of us grows individually while continually reaching out to help others.”

“The women among us talk about much more than her respective business interests too,” added Carbondalian Jeannie Dempsey, a retired reading specialist who now revels in furthering her artistic passions. “We come from many walks of life and different careers. We’re married, divorced, or single. Some work in an office or behind a counter, others volunteer her time. And our ages range from the 20s to the 70s, so we talk about the many lessons in life and things that interest or concern each of us. Once you get to know one another, there’s a sense of ease and a definite sense of trust that’s so important to everyone. No one is catty or judgmental, we’re comfortably open and sharing with one another. There’s a very positive feeling of empowerment among us all too. Along the way, we’ve become a group of good friends … one like no other group of women I’ve ever known.”

Much like Carbondale’s evolving growth with its influx of new people and businesses, “our women’s group is much like our town. We’ve become an exciting place to be. And as diverse as T.H.R.I.V.E. is, I’ve taken particular note of the many among us who have immense artistic talents,” noted Jones, a fine art professional photographer who also serves as the Director of the Chamber Gallery. Since early December and running until the end of January, these three T.H.R.I.V.E. ladies are sharing a Chamber Gallery art show entitled Three Women – Abstractions.

“The Chamber Gallery has become known for its wonderful and spacious venue where area-wide artists can display their talents and varied works,” said Jones. “During 2018, several month-long shows have been scheduled. And in May, the women of T.H.R.I.V.E. will be co-sponsoring Art Walk throughout Carbondale. We’ve shared some fun activities since we came together, but we’re all especially excited about this spring’s Art Walk.”

To learn more about Women to Women -T.H.R.I.V.E., all women are invited to attend the upcoming T.H.R.I.V.E. Night at the Chamber Gallery. T.H.R.I.V.E. also meets on Wednesdays at 8:30am at PersoNELLized Cakes &Café at 9 Park Place. For additional information, follow the women at https://www.facebook.com/w2wTHRIVE.