It’s a pleasure and a privilege to tell you a little about my special friend and neighbor, Melissa, the Special Interest Group Coordinator for International Neighbors. Melissa grew up in the Queens borough of New York City, graduating from Stony Brook University in 1969. She moved with her husband, Rudi, and growing family to Ann Arbor in August 1974. Having previously lived in Geneva, Switzerland for two years with their two young children while her husband was working on a Post-Doc, Melissa welcomed the opportunity to join International Neighbors where she could provide assistance to women visiting from foreign countries with the many challenges they face as they find their way in a new country dealing with an unfamiliar language and culture. Melissa was active in a Tea Group for several years. With the increasing responsibilities of full-time work and three children, Melissa left the organization for quite a few years and rejoined in 2002 after her retirement. Her first board position was as Webmaster. In recent years, Melissa has been leading a topic discussion group, the knitting group, and co-leading a reading group. She is also a member of the Monday hiking group. Melissa was president of International Neighbors 2013-2014 and has been the Special Interests Coordinator since June of 2014. As Coordinator, Melissa attends monthly Board meetings and submits monthly reports regarding group membership and events of interest. At this time the special interest groups fall within the three general categories of Cooking Groups, Arts and Crafts, and Exercise/Fitness Activities, the individual groups being Painting, Knitting, Quilting, Jewelry Making, Hiking, Jogging, Yoga, Baking, International Cooking, International Foodies, Cooking with Babies, and Vegetarian Cooking.
Melissa loved traveling with her husband, Rudi, visiting some 34 countries over the years. Her dear husband died suddenly and unexpectedly in August 2012, leaving Melissa to continue on alone. While her children all live at quite a distance – young Rudi and Charlie and their families in California and Rachel and her family in Massachusetts – she is able to visit with them regularly and will travel to Vietnam with her son, Rudi, in February. Melissa is an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction, and also enjoys her participation in a film group associated with the Jewish Community Center. Having recently sold her home and moved into a condo, Melissa assists in running the condo association with her involvement on the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Thanks, Melissa, for all you do to help us and others!