August 12, 2017
TIFF’S Wise Older Women Name Two Women of the Year
Wise Older Women (WOW), the unofficial “producers” of a film by and about women each year at the Teaneck International Film Festival, happily announce the selection of two Teaneck residents as recipients of their Woman of the Year Award. Lynn Chaiken, the founder of the grass roots group, ActivateNJ, and Olga Newey, a mainstay of the Teaneck Garden Club and Friends of the Teaneck Public Library, will be honored at the WOW movie (still to be selected) during the 12th annual TIFF, November 2-5, 2017.
A member of Temple Emeth, Lynn is currently the first vice-president there, after having served on the executive board and as chair of the Visioning Committee and “Nuts and Bolts” Committee which was involved with the development of the Temple’s Voluntary Financial Commitment program. Since her retirement in 2014 as an executive in media/marketing – with a focus on women and health care – she has become a member of FOCAS (Friends of the County Animal Shelter), a Reading Buddy in Teaneck elementary schools, and a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), who follows a child in foster care and reports to the Court on the child’s progress until he/she is reunited with his/her family or adopted.
In her spare time, Lynn says she “fell” into the job of founding the political group, ActivateNJ, which began with an email to a group of friends in which she asked, “Have you recovered from the election yet?” The result was a meeting at which Senator Loretta Weinberg was invited to speak. The 25 or 30 people expected to attend turned into a crowd of more than 200 – all anxious to learn how to become involved in a process to protect rights and support important causes. There is a growing list of people receiving updates from Lynn on local meetings and organizations, and in the ActivateNJ Facebook group. The main objective is: to encourage people to take action for the causes that interest them by giving them information about what’s going on, and letting them know how they can participate... With a steering committee to help her, Lynn continues to do research, send emails and post on social media, plan meetings, arrange for guest speakers, and inspire others to do what they can to be effective protesters during these turbulent times.
Olga Newey is a quiet force - a dedicated volunteer whose years of service and quiet leadership at the Teaneck Garden Club and Teaneck Public Library have earned her the admiration of all who are lucky enough to work with her. A Teaneck resident for five decades, she worked in the district schools as a teacher, reading specialist, and learning disability specialist for 25 years before retiring and taking on volunteer jobs.
At the Garden Club, Olga coordinates Hawthorne School’s field trips to the Greenhouse, and has been thanked by the principal of the school for her tireless efforts. Olga believes that the “Junior Garden Club” strengthens the school’s science curriculum, and that teaching children about plants and growing things gives them an understanding and appreciation of nature and the environment. Students maintain and harvest a garden and have cooking sessions so that they can actually enjoy the fruits of their labor. Children as well as plants are being nurtured, and future environmental activists are being cultivated!
The public library is as important to Olga as plants, and her devotion to that Teaneck institution is evident every year at the annual book sale. This mammoth undertaking involves taking, sorting, arranging, and selling thousands of books that are donated by residents and raising funds for the Friends of the Library. Olga rounds up volunteers who are happy to join her and the others in charge. Her good cheer actually makes the back-breaking task of schlepping, sorting, and selling something that folks look forward to doing each year. The leadership is inspiring and the cause is good.
Two wise and wonderful women – Lynn Chaiken and Olga Newey – are outstanding role models whose work exemplifies what the Teaneck International Film Festival is about: building a community of caring and involved citizens who are dedicated to making the world a better place. Check the TIFF website – www.teaneckfilmfestival.org - for updates about the 2017 festival and the WOW film at which these Teaneck residents will be honored.