CHW National President, Marilyn Libin
After all the amazing work accomplished by all of CHW’s past National Presidents, I am so proud to be devoting two years of my life to this organization.
I also believe that we have an excellent Board of Directors, and I am honoured to serve with such a dedicated group of women who are so committed to CHW’s mission, vision, and values. Along with our wonderful National Executive Director Alina Ianson, we will work together to ensure a strong future for CHW.
To start us off, I would like to tell you a little about my background. I was born in Edmonton, but during my childhood I also lived in several U.S. and Canadian cities, always attending Jewish Schools.
Although I am a Canadian, I was raised to love Israel. I recall my parents dancing around the room when Israel was declared a state. They visited Israel several times, offering financial support to any family members they encountered. They made a rule for our family: each of their four children, upon turning 16, must spend the summer in Israel. And so, at the age of 16, I went with a youth tour to Israel and spend two months there. Despite the blistering heat – no air conditioning in those days – and two weeks on a moshav with a vegetarian family who spoke no English, I fell very much in love with the country. When thinking about Israel, I am often reminded of a quote by Theodor Herzl, “It is true that we aspire to our ancient land. But what we want in that ancient land is a new blossoming of the Jewish spirit.” That is what I found on my first trip to Israel, and it is what I see every time I return.
Since that time my professional and personal life has revolved around Israel and the Jewish people. I taught and then became administrator of a Jewish day school where I worked for 30 years. I have four children, and each of them were enrolled in Jewish day schools and each of them went to Israel at the age of 16. All of them have returned to Israel at least once.
I now have 10 grandchildren and all have been or are now enrolled in Jewish day schools. The two oldest, who are now 19 and 16, have already been to Israel, carrying on the family tradition. In the years since my first trip to Israel, I have been involved with many Jewish organizations and have travelled back to Israel many times.
I first became involved in CHW in 2000, when I retired from my administrator role. At that time, my friend Reesa Girvitz approached me and asked if I would consider becoming a member of CHW. Being a strong supporter of both Israel and our local community, I instantly connected to the mission of CHW to passionately support programs and services for Children, Healthcare, and Women in Israel and Canada.
Since joining, I have been involved in CHW projects at the local and National level. I chaired the Youth Aliyah campaign in Calgary. Following that I became Chairperson of the Calgary Council. I then began working at the National level, where I have Chaired the Major Gifts Committee, served on the Annual Campaign committee and most recently Chaired the Influencers Committee, while serving as CHW National Vice-President. I have visited our projects in Israel several times and am extremely impressed and inspired by the great work being done by our organization.
I was so honoured to be the CHW National Vice-President during CHW’s 100th Birthday. I joined the Centennial “Celecation” Trip to Israel and fell in love with Israel all over again, but this time I was side by side with the generous and passionate supporters of CHW. We saw first-hand how great an impact CHW has made on the lives of at-risk children and their families. It was an experience I will cherish forever.
I firmly believe that CHW not only has a successful past, but also a strong future. We must embrace change if we are to continue fulfilling the goals set forth in our mission. Time does not stand still and nor should we. My goal for the organization is to look at change as a positive and together with my Board and my wonderful National Executive Director Alina Ianson, find the smoothest path as we transition into the future of CHW. We are building tomorrow, today, so let’s get started!
In closing, I would like to thank all of you, for your wonderful support and friendship. I want to leave you with a quote from Anne Frank:
“How wonderful it is that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world.”
- Read the National President’s E-newsletter- Personal Touch- Spring 2020