Boulder’s Friendship Circle was formed in 2001 by Sandy Younghans after her first visit to Guatemala with her sister-in-law, Kathie Younghans. Both women were so inspired by seeing how much a small amount of loan money could do to change the lives of women and their families that they both came back and started Circles in Boulder and Salida respectively. The Boulder Circle has been very active in partnering with numerous community groups for exposure to our program though fundraisers, education and public talks. Beth Bowman and Sue Beggs helped to lead the Circle through many years and many changes being honored by local organizations of BoldeReach, Zonta and others through the years.
New energy came into the Circle in 2014 on an Insight Trip that Sandy, Judy Snyder and Rachel Bloombaum went on in 2014. Judy and Rachel came home and breathed new energy into the Circle. They were inspired by the stories of the women they met, by the beauty of the country, by the hardships of the lives of indigenous Guatemalan families, and by the work Friendship Bridge does to help these women improve their lives and the lives of their families. Upon learning that Boulder’s Circle was not as engaged as it had been, they agreed to co-lead the Boulder Circle into a new era. Sadly, Judy passed away in 2017. The Circle has continued, made up of past Boulder Circle members and newly engaged women. We have been fortunate to be able to draw on the Colorado University student population for some of our members, as well as long-time residents and newcomers alike. Our members come from as far away as Nederland, Golden, Louisville and even Ft. Collins.
We meet on an as needed basis to support upcoming activities. We have committed to the dual purpose of raising funds to support Friendship Bridge financially and bringing educational activities to our members and wider populations. To date we have sponsored a pilot test of ergonomic weaving chairs for selected Friendship Bridge clients, supported the Annual Gala in April, supported an Artisan’s luncheon and tipica sale, held sales of Guatemalan textiles at members’ stores and community organized events, and held a mock trust bank meeting with Friendship Bridge staff from Guatemala. For this next year we are planning an Agricultural Program luncheon, and looking for additional fundraising opportunities as well as educational programming for circle members and the wider community. We are also looking at ways to engage with other organizations and the Spanish speaking community in Boulder.
Why we support Friendship Bridge
We are a diverse group of women who have come to Friendship Bridge in many different ways. We are coming together because of our shared interest in supporting impoverished women find their own solutions to poverty and because of our belief that Friendship Bridge has the capacity to help these women achieve this.