Today’s FOLSOI Annual Meeting was our first on Zoom. Adversity, it seems, brings out the best in our volunteers. Who would have imagined that record book sales would be achieved in a year when the pandemic curtailed book sales, or that we could grow membership by 32% in a year when we could not meet in person?

This year, 88 FOLSOI volunteers invested 4,148 hours in supporting Harper and Barbee libraries. When COVID hit, the transition from “at the library” programs to Zoom programs was immediate and engaging. This was a year of growth and achievement, the only “downside” of which was the yearning to be together, hug one another, and celebrate what makes FOLSOI such a remarkable organization.

Special recognitions included awarding of three Lifetime Memberships to FOLSOI. The first two went to the Bill and Marge Leuschner for a decade of volunteering. The third – contributed by an anonymous “friend of the Friends”-  was awarded to Susan Reinecke whose seven years of hard work and truly bright ideas on the Book Sale Committee have enabled FOLSOI to extend our community influence and grow our revenue.

Our guest speaker, Carol Pearson, continued today’s theme of making the best of adverse situations. Faced with devastating personal and business setbacks, Carol not only made lemonade from lemons, she launched a lemonade stand franchising business in the form of her “Ten Little Rules” publishing business. 

Her book, “Ten Little Rules for a Blissy Life” shares her journey in finding and living her truth. Carol recounted a Japanese tradition that when porcelain breaks, it is repaired with molten gold, honoring the breaks that make us whole. In meeting others who were dealing with daunting life challenges, she inspired them to discover and share their truths. In a time when stress looms large in our lives, the “Ten Little Rules” books are the antidote we need. Carol is graciously donating $1 to FOLSOI from each book purchased on her website.

Concluding our meeting, Program Chair Paula Paxton thanked outgoing President Diana Fotinatos for all her hard work to prepare FOLSOI for whatever lies ahead in our future.