By Nicole Matheson
The holidays may be just about over, but the spirit of giving and charity remains in Lake Havasu City.
A new organization with the community’s interests at heart came together last year and already those involved have been making a difference in people’s lives. Named Hav-A-Sis, RiverScene caught up with Connie Alexander, who started this unique movement to help existing charities and nonprofit organizations.
Alexander has been living in Lake Havasu with her husband since 2001, having fallen in love with the community. She enjoys volunteer work and became involved with multiple organizations before settling on being a founder of Women With Willpower in 2010. “After 11 years, I felt the need to make a change. That’s where Donna Filter comes in.”
In 2020, Filter and Alexander met at a nonprofit dinner. “As I introduced myself and welcomed her to the event, I noticed tears in her eyes,” Alexander said.
“Concerned, I asked if she was all right to which she shared that her husband had passed away not long prior and she was learning how to be single after having been married for so long. Well, the power of her words touched my heart.”
Alexander shares that, “Our generation of women was raised to be strong and independent, then we become life partners. No longer a single person, we become part of the whole. We spend years in that partnership learning to share and compromise and to make shared decisions and plans. Then one day, the partner, the love of your life, is gone and you are learning how to be single again.”
As one can imagine, Alexander said, “It’s not that easy to go back. You are no longer the same person. Friendships change, everything changes. It’s a huge transition at multiple levels. You feel married, but your partner isn’t physically present. How to fit in becomes a challenge. Dealing with the grief becomes a challenge. Who can you talk to? Who can you tell the story? Who will be there at those times when you want to cry and scream? Where can you go to vent and not be judged? You need friends. Girlfriends!”
The idea was planted then and immediately began to flourish. “In December of 2020, a small group of us met and in short order it became clearly apparent that Donna’s situation was a common one and we quickly realized that women understand women. Together, we can get through anything we put our minds to, with a little help from our ‘sisters.'”
So Hav-A-Sis was launched on Jan. 14, 2021, and immediately set to work. With a guiding philosophy being “Girlfriends – the best kind of free therapy,” the fledgling group set out to help others however they could under their “Mission of Giving” movement. Hav-A-Sis is not a nonprofit or a charity … simply a group looking to do good by assisting current nonprofits in Havasu, and more.
“We are successful when we help others,” Alexander says. “In 2021, we helped Western Arizona Humane Society, Faith & Grace, H.A.V.E.N. Family resource center, Hospice of Havasu and The Clothes Closet. In addition, we produce Valentine and Halloween gifts to seniors of Prestige Assisted Living and GEMS Assisted Living. Our efforts assisted in raising over $18,000 for local charities in 2021.”
So how does it work? Hav-A-Sis is open to the public and welcomes anyone who supports the mission statement. Alexander said, “Currently, we are supporting local eateries by doing a lunch gathering at a different location each month and blessing our servers. Recently, we had the pleasure to enjoy an incredible dinner at Romano’s and bless our server with a $382 tip on top of our $188 bill. We were blessed to do the same thing for a lovely server at Juicy’s during our December lunch.
“There is more on the horizon for Hav-A-Sis as they prepare for their lunch at Copper Still Distillery Jan. 21, at 11:30 a.m. At that time, we’ll share our plans for 2022 which we’ve decided will be the ‘Year of the Child.’ Our efforts will be concentrated on raising funds for those charities that focus on children and to provide scholarships for Parks & Rec. Vicki McKee of McKee’s Pub & Grill Four Clovers has been hugely instrumental in supporting our efforts and for being the inspiration in choosing our 2022 mission.
“We invite anyone to come and see what we are about,” Alexander said. “It’s an opportunity to benefit less fortunate community members and to make new friends. There is enough negativity and drama. We choose to focus on the blessings and to support each other by paying it forward with our Mission of Giving.”
Hav-A-Sis posts all its events on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/havasislhc