For further information contact us via swittens.org, and Patti Swift or Connie Holzmiller will respond.
The first meeting of the Oconomowoc Circle occurred on March 19, 2003, shortly after Patti Swift and her two daughters, Maggie and Jaclyn, returned from an Insight Trip. A simple web search led Patti to the “happy accident” of finding Friendship Bridge. Several months prior to the Insight Trip, Patti made an offer on a home and needed to remove the contingency to sell her home, thus, she was searching the internet for a bridge loan. During her search, Patti stumbled upon Friendship Bridge’s website and became interested in the Insight Trips offered. When the offer they made on the home fell apart, the Swift girls sold their house and were forced to rent. They decided an Insight Trip was the “medicine” they needed and would be particularly meaningful because Patti’s youngest daughter, Jaclyn, is adopted from Guatemala. After experiencing an Insight Trip and witnessing Friendship Bridge’s work in Guatemala, it was clear to Patti she would start a local Circle.
The Oconomowoc Circle is committed to raising funds to support the microcredit programs of Friendship Bridge, but we are also very dedicated to raising awareness, so education is an important component of our focus. Our fundraising activities have included many social events such as Salsathons, merchandise sales, and women’s night out events. Undoubtedly, our most successful endeavor is the making and selling of swittens and other recycled wool products. To promote education about women and global development, our Circle members watch documentaries, read related books, attend speaking events, as well as host informational events such as a “Day of the Dead” dinner with guest speaker.
Why we support Friendship Bridge
The Oconomowoc Circle is devoted to supporting Friendship Bridge clients because we truly embrace the microcredit concept and educational programs and believe in the value of a “hand up” rather than a “handout.” Individually, we desire personal experiences of serving others and learning about and striving to understand the culture of Friendship Bridge clients. Finally, the Oconomowoc Circle shares Friendship Bridge’s vision of being a positive change in our world.