The Columbus, Ohio Chapter, CARATS, Inc. experienced a three-pronged evolution into the CARAT sisterhood. The group was first known as Pivots, then Gems, and last, but certainly not least! CARATS, Inc. Three members of the original chapter, Pivot, who were installed by the national Pivot organization in 1968, were Anne Smith, Geri Lynch and Bettye Stulle. They later formed a Columbus women’s group known as The Gems. In 1971 Geri, Anne, and Bettye applied to become a new chapter of CARATS to be organized in the Columbus community. The following year, 1972, The Gems, who were sponsored by the Cleveland chapter, were inducted into the national sisterhood at the Hospitality Motor Inn. Members of this select group of women were Jean Brown, Mildred Chavous, Evelyne Jones, Gloria Jones, Geri Lynch, Anne Smith, Bettye Stull, Janet Sullivan, Helen Ware, Carline Weddington, Elsie White and Shirley Wilson. Columbus CARATS has expanded its boundaries of friendship over the years to extend membership to other women who share CARATS philosophy and values. Thus, joining the CARAT sisterhood were Urma Henderson, Karen Taylor, Cecilia McGinnis-Padgette, Sonya Bronson, Genevieve Smoot, Gloria Miller, Elaine Reece, Linda Jackson, Willola Wagstaff, Delphine Howard Lewis, Margaret Roberts , Viola Bryson, Delores Sykes (transferred to Baltimore Chapter), Caramel Russell, Clemya Matthews, Darlene Britford, Maureen Black, Toni Toler, Kathy Sullivan, Patricia Scott, Linda Williams, Monique Coleman (transferred to Atlanta Chapter), Nancy Keels, Theresa Bland, Benita Jackson-Smoot, Simone Williams and Carolyn Williams Francis. On a sad note, Chapter members lost in death were our beloved sisters Urma Henderson, Karen Taylor, Elsie M. White, Geri Lynch (Past National President), and Delphine Howard Lewis. Never forgotten, they will always be in our hearts, “Forever CARATS”.
The Columbus CARATS first major social event was a “Wine and Roses” dinner-dance which was held in 1972 at the Stoney Creek Country Club. This established our local organization as one of the city’s premiere social connections. The next social event was the CARATS Annual Holiday Brunch, which sparkled with beautiful décor, tasty cuisine all done in CARAT Style. This brunch became the premiere social event that kicked off the holiday season in the Columbus community.
Columbus Chapter has always been actively involved at the national level in that many CARATS held national offices and served on national committees: namely, Geri Lynch, Janet Sullivan and Gloria Miller, Past National Presidents; Mildred Chavous; Cecilia McGinnis-Padgette, Past National Treasurer; Anne Smith, Past National Corresponding Chair; Margaret Roberts, Past National Parliamentarian. Current National Officers are: Darlene Britford, National Amenities Chair; Maureen Black, National Financial Secretary, and Margaret Roberts, National Nominating Chair.
Presently, the Columbus Chapter of CARATS, Inc. is composed of 15 active and 5 Emeritus members who meet the third Saturday of each month from September until June. The Columbus Chapter, CARATS Inc. has continued its flare of fashion, fun and friendship throughout its many elegant social events and monthly meetings. One of our favorite spots for hosting meetings and parties is “Vi’s Café on Franklin”, home of Carat Viola Bryson. Vi’s Café was the place to be for our pictorial photo shoot with an array of entertainment. Our motto is “Friendship and Fun CARAT style”.