|Shakir and Laura Wissa, Young Friends steering committee member.|
Eight years ago, Laura Wissa and her husband purchased a house that belonged to the Clarke family, early pioneers believed to have settled in the Lake Worth area in the 1800s. As the first owners of the house who were not descendants of the Clarke line, the Wissas were interested in the history of the previous three generations who resided in the home.
“I went to the Historical Society [of Palm Beach County],” Wissa says. “I thought the research would only take a day or two, but it actually took five.”
Around the third day of her research, Wissa was approached by the society’s development director to help plan Evening on Antique Row, an upscale street party fundraiser organized by the Young Friends of the Historical Society.
Thus began Wissa’s involvement with the Young Friends of the Historical Society, a group of young professionals who raise awareness of and funds for the society and its museum through special events.
“Creating events that provide exposure for the museum and our local history will allow people to appreciate all that Palm Beach is,” Wissa says.
This year, the Young Friends of the Historical Society is rolling out a new initiative titled Cocktails in Paradise, a series of monthly social events celebrating the county’s history. The first event, held in September, took place at the Sundy House in Delray Beach and featured guest speaker Daisy Sundy, the granddaughter of the city’s first mayor who grew up in the historical home.
Funds from these events support the society’s outreach in local schools and carry out its mission of preserving the area’s history. “[The Historical Society] provides a context of what it means to live in our community and define who we are as residents of Palm Beach County,” Wissa says.
Rosemary Denney, Young Friends steering committee member, with Natalie Crowley and Sarah McKenzie.
Photo by Lucien Capehart Photography
Brian and Kristen Ray with Pete and Tara Nicoletti and Shelley and Mariano Garcia, chairmen of Young Friends Fountain of Youth.
James Berwind and Kevin Clark, co-chairmen of Young Friends steering committee.