Members of the American Association of University Women Venice Branch championed six young women striving to make their dreams come true.

The group presented scholarships to the returning students who work, take care of families and attend classes to ensure a better future for themselves. The scholarships are thanks to the annual home tour.

The scholarship committee members, including Joan Armstrong, Kathy Black, Jane Farley and Anne Herre, said they needed tissues as they read the essays applicants submitted. The stories were heartwarming and the needs great.

Home Tour hosts Ruthanne and Dennis Neeser were on hand at the luncheon to hear scholarship recipients and learn firsthand how their generosity affected lives. All the home owners deserve a pat on the back.

Members of the AAUW work year-round to create a home tour. This year the day was so successful they are thinking of extending the hours next year.

Bravo to everyone participating in the tour of homes and scholarship luncheon. Thank you for providing hope.

Memorial Gardens Flag PlacementThe community is invited and welcome to place flags on the graves of veterans on Friday, May 24, starting at 8 a.m. at Venice Memorial Gardens on Center Road. There will be a short prayer to begin the morning. Early risers are invited for a 7:30 a.m. continental breakfast. For information contact

Some of our bestThe special people of this week are Hanh and Tinh Pham, who migrated to the United States from Vietnam so their daughter could have a better life.

“My parents left everything behind for me,” daughter Ngoc said.

She was the last scholarship recipient at the AAUW luncheon to speak.

When she started her remarks, Hanh and Tinh jumped to their feet with broad, happy smiles and started to record every word Ngoc was saying and the reactions of everyone at the luncheon.

Ngoc smiled and said, “These are my parents.” The Phams created such a spontaneous happy time. Everyone broke into spontaneous applause. It felt like a group hug.

Many people believe we find inspiration all around us if we just open our hearts and minds to the blessings that come our way. Everyone who attended the AAUW Venice Branch Scholarship Luncheon saw the truth that joy comes from a happy heart.

Hanh and Tinh Pham are two people who make our community a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier. She welcomes your tips and ideas. Contact her at


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