Mary-Kate Mahoney, a 10-year-old Melrose resident, spoke before the Massachusetts Chapter of the General Federation of Women’s Club on Saturday and spoke about the importance of volunteers, while also giving presidential candidate Mitt Romney some good-natured ribbing for his “binders of women” comment.
Mahoney spoke before the state-wide organization during the group’s fall meeting in Braintree after organization officials read press reports of Mahoney’s work in Melrose.
Though she spent most of her speech talking about her efforts and the importance of volunteering, Mahoney received her biggest applause when she quipped about Romney’s “binders of women” comment during the second presidential debate.
“I found it interesting that Governor Romney mentioned that he developed a binder of worthwhile women to serve in his administration when he was governor of Massachusetts,” she said. “I don’t think he meant this in a negative way, but it made me think about the future.
“When I grow up, I don’t want my name in some powerful man’s binder of gifted women – I want to have my own binder containing the names of gifted men who I might consider hiring for my administration or company and it’s women like you who have opened the doors for girls like me to have these opportunities in the future,” she said.
Mahoney, whose ambition is to one day become president, referred to volunteers like the General Federation of Women’s Clubs – which the group says is the largest women’s volunteer group in the country – as the “heart of humanity and the soul of our cities.”
“As I look around this room today, I see some of the real heroes in American history. Only a few people are recognized in history books, but it’s the faceless heroes, like you, who keep our country great. It’s the unrecognized volunteers, like you, who offer their time to make the lives of others better – it’s the unknown people, like you, who share their skills and resources with others – it’s the quiet heroes, like you, who volunteer throughout America and keep our country the best place in the world,” concluded Mahoney, who also received a proclamation Saturday from Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan for her work in having a park renamed Volunteer Park in the city.
Mahoney, who wants to have state and federal monuments created to honor volunteers, has been asked to speak at the General Federation of Women’s Clubs’ national convention next June in Florida.