AAUW Home Tour “Opens Doors” to Education

For 42 years, the Redding branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) has allowed us to be voyeurs. They have opened the doors to some of Redding’s most distinctive homes and let the public in for a peek. This intimate look inside others’ private spaces happens every November – the AAUW Home Tour and Art Show.

This year’s tour includes a restored 1936 home-turned-Bed and Breakfast, the long-time former home of Shasta County Sheriff John Balma, a Contractor Home in the 100-acre, natural Highland Park subdivision, featuring the work of AAUW member artists and a former “Pink House” (hint, hint) that is familiar to News Café readers. But that’s all I can divulge.

A News Café’s Doni Chamberlain’s incredible coverage of last year’s tour included slideshows of each home’s interior and an introduction to the homeowners. AAUW has asked us to be a bit more veiled this year, leave a bit to the imagination.

So instead of a blow-by-blow about the incredible homes included on this year’s tour roster, I talked to Barbara McKend, “Women of Achievement Chair” about AAUW’s work and the programs that are made possible with the proceeds from the tour.

How many women has AAUW helped?

The Redding Branch of AAUW has been raising money to fund women’s scholarships for more than 60 years. All the proceeds from the annual event are divided between a local scholarship fund for women from Shasta College who are transferring to a 4-year college, and the AAUW Redding Branch American Fellowship Endowment that helps support women in California colleges seeking doctoral dissertations and for postdoctoral research.

We have generated about $15,000 each year from the tour, with approximately $7,500 supporting each fund.  We award between 7 and 10 scholarships a year to women transferring as juniors from Shasta College. In the past 10 years approximately 75 women from Shasta College have received grants from us.  Since inception, I would estimate we have awarded close to 400 local scholarships.  The Endowment considers women from throughout California.  The Home Tour is our single annual fund raising event for the scholarships and fellowships.

In addition to scholarships from Home Tour proceeds, AAUW also sends young women to Tech Trek and the Math and Science Conference. Why are these programs important in AAUW’s eyes?

The Math Science Conference for middle school girls and Tech Trek Camp are important to advance the goal of promoting women’s education in the math, science and technical fields.  The Math & Science Conference collaboration provides an intensive weekend menu of science, technology, engineering and math workshops for girls, and raises the money to send two middle school girls to Tech Trek Camp for a week each summer.

Has AAUW had any homes on the tour that were a “coup” to have on the roster?

Every home tour is unique and we think each home is a “coup.”  We are grateful to the homeowners willing to share their homes with us and about a 1,000 tour goers each year!  We try to choose homes that reflect a variety of interests: some very large, some cottages – new and old, contemporary, traditional, showcases of local professional talent and do-it-yourselfers, sustainable and eco-friendly designs. This year the theme is thoughtfully renovated older homes, that celebrate their period while incorporating today’s conveniences and lifestyle preferences. The tour has changed as tastes have changed and we try very hard to keep it fresh and relevant to the times.  We’ve never been disappointed.

You won’t be disappointed by this year’s AAUW Home Tour. Tickets are available at Enjoy the Store, Holiday Quality Foods on Placer, Jose Antonio’s, Marshall’s Florist and Fine Gifts, Palo Cedro Gift Gallery, Parmer’s Furniture and Design, That Kitchen Place, Wild Thyme Gift and Garden and online at aauwredding.org.

Adam Mankoski enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He lives in Redding.

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is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.
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2 Responses

  1. Avatar Kirsten says:

    Good job, Barbara! As always professional and to the point. Looking forward to enjoying the tour again, as I have done for several decades. It never disapoints!

  2. Doni,

    You are so inspiring. You re invent yourself in such a positive way. Attention to detail in the renovation of your home is awesome. Of course my favorite was the kitchen. Storage drawers! Thank you, once again for your contribution to women's education. Best to you each new day.