It was the quiet commitment of an immigrant woman, Wanda Frey Joiner, who succeeded in business ... that kind of generous gratitude... that saw the founding of the world's first Quota Club in 1919 in Buffalo, New York. Quota was founded to support the continuing education of young women. Its mandate today is much expanded from that initial effort.

Today there are over 200 Quota clubs across the world, filled with women and men whose only official goal is to do 'good works.' And good works they do!

There were four charter members of Barrie's Quota Club when it was formed in 1963... Dorothy Gardner (assistant manager at Zellers), Audrey Watt, Dorothy Patterson Sayre, and Dora Lee Hanes attended that first meeting on September 28, 1963. While Dorothy Gardner lives at Grove Park Home now, Audrey Watt still attends meetings. Both continue to be listed as members of the local group.

Barrie's Quota Club celebrates its 45th birthday this year and is doing so by maintaining its sturdy commitment to many community charities, as well as having a great birthday bash in the form of a Good Vibrations 50's-60's dance.

In Barrie, the 30 members of Quota are diligently supporting the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech impaired as well as disadvantaged women and children. As well, they quietly respond to private requests for specific help for individuals with special needs.

With a diverse, mature membership, Quota celebrates seniors by holding a gift giving dinner picnic every June. They invite seniors from area long term care facilities and give them dinner and entertainment at the Southshore Community Centre.

They also support Easter Seals by holding fundraising activities.

Incoming president JoAnne Knapp tells me the club is on a membership drive to boost its numbers and lower its average age. "We must attract younger members so we are able to offer well rounded activities and enjoy the company of people of all ages," she says. The group meets twice a month, once for business and once for pleasure. Their meeting this week was a Murder Mystery night with members taking on various roles as well as enjoying a pot luck dinner.

Enjoying each other's company is as important as the seriousness of selecting activities that will raise money for worthy causes.

JoAnne mused about the kinds of skills that are particularly needed in a Quota Club member... organizational, managerial, event management, marketing and promotion, computer, and flexibility. "Our members grow into responsibilities and become mentors themselves over the years," she says.

Quota often partners with another charitable group to boost their coffers and next month, April 26, it's Easter Seals that will benefit from the group's 45th birthday dance, complete with music by the Desoto's. At $30 per person, this dance invites everyone to come in costume, enjoy dance music of the 50's and 60's, raise the roof at the Army Navy Air Force Club on George St. You can get tickets from Anne Ollikainen at Simcoe Terrace, 722-5750 or from Marie Giberson at 737-2639.

If you're interested in exploring membership with Quota in Barrie, an email to quota@barrie.org will connect you to the president. There are so many activities to choose from, too. Quota supports Out of the Cold; they give cash and buy fresh milk and eggs for Youth Haven; they make caring heart pillows for breast cancer sufferers... these little pillows protect a healing incision, coming between woman and seatbelt. They are a constant reminder that someone cares.

Quota donates to the Women's and Children's Crisis Centre, donates books to children, does an annual fashion show, and provides ear plugs to encourage people to protect their hearing when using loud equipment.

This quiet little group makes a lot of noise--caring noise--in our community. They cheerfully find places to give and they give without expecting notice or credit in return.

"It may be why we don't have so many members," muses JoAnne... "so few people know we even exist!"

Thanks, Quota! Thanks, JoAnne!

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