SALINA — When Sharon Randall speaks Sept. 15 at the Women Helping Women fundraising event, she's going to talk about her favorite topic: kindness.
Randall, a writer and nationally syndicated columnist, will be the featured speaker for Women Helping Women, a component fund of the Greater Salina Community Foundation.
Randall has been writing her column since 1991.
The fundraiser is 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15 at the Salina Central High School Auditorium, 650 E. Crawford St.
Tickets for the event are still available and can be purchased online or at the door.
In order to talk about kindness, Randall said she will share stories from her life as well as the lives of people she loves.
"I believe sharing our stories is the clearest and truest, not to mention most entertaining, way to communicate who we are and what we believe, and how much we're alike," Randall said.
Randall said she wanted to participate in the event because it gives community members the chance to help their neighbors "who need not a handout, but a hand up."
"It's a triple blessing because it empowers, not only the one who receives, but the one who gives and in turn, the entire community," Randall said, "and there's even a fourth blessing that is all mine, because it gives me a chance to speak personally of the kindnesses I've received in all my years and the difference that has made in my life."
Randall said she is looking forward to meeting friends she has never met.
"When I visit places like Salina where my column is carried in the local paper, I always meet strangers who smile at me like I'm long lost kind, and say they feel as if they know me, Randall said. "I love that. It's like, as I often say, going to a family reunion without the fistfights."
Randall started writing her column because her editor made her do it and wrote her first column about how her grandmother and brother, who is blind, taught her how to see the world.
"I promised writers in future columns I would take a good look at whatever came long and write about what I saw, Randall said. "When I made that promise, I had no idea of the kinds of things that would come along in my life."
Randall never had plans to write about her husband battling cancer, watching her children lose their father, becoming a widow and starting over, or "trying to figure out who I was now that I was no longer who I had been" she said.
"But I wrote and still write about all those things and more," Randall added, "and the most amazing and gratifying part of it is this. I get to hear from people all over this country who tell me my stories as their stories, too."
Stephanie Cool, a Women Helping Women board member, said they believe Randall's messages resonate with many women today.
"She had humble beginnings and her life story really aligns with our organization's message which is to give a hand up to women who are struggling and have needs that no other community organization can fulfill," Coll said.
The Women Helping Women fund is a way for women to support other women who are struggling or might be in crisis.
Fairy Godmothers are contributors who donate $500 or more to the Women Helping Women endowment, which has reached over $400,000 due to donations, Cool said.
This is the second year Women Helping Women has done a larger-scale fundraising event. All proceeds from the event will go toward the endowment.
Cool said she's looking forward to hearing Randall's message and bringing people together to hear about Women Helping Women.
"We don't conduct a lot of fundraising events, so the proceeds from this event will enable us to further our outreach to women in need," Cool said.