Sunday, August 19, 2007

Epsilon Sigma Alpha

I promised that I would post about my sorority and I will do my best to not bore you all to tears, but to include as much interesting information as I can.

ESA was started as a book club in Texas in 1929. The sorority has grown to more than 1,000 chapters and is an international organization. Throughout the years, the women in the sorority helped out with many different causes throughut their states and the US. Nationally, ESA helped with collecting recycle-able metal during WWII to make munitions, helped the Auricular Foundation with implementing eyesight and hearing tests in schools, supported March of Dimes (during the polio years) and the Red Cross. During the early 1970's, ESA got involved with the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Danny Thomas. St Jude's was the first international project and is still our main focus to this day.

I got involved with ESA about 6 years ago. Maddy worked with my mom and started nagging my mom to go to these chapter meetings that she went to. Finally, after years of telling Maddy 'no, thanks,' Mom went and decided to join. Then, mom started nagging me to go because I needed to do something other than sitting in the house all night, every night. So, I went and joined within a few months. The chapter that I joined was Gamma Kappa in Cincinnati, Ohio. There are 10 chapters in Ohio right now. After being in the Gamma Kappa chapter for a few years, I decided to start a new chapter of my own with a few friends from work, my friend Amy from high school, Amy's mom and some other women. At the time, Gamma Kappa was mainly older women who didn't work or had already retired and everything that the chapter was doing was during the day and I wasn't able to participate. Plus, I had some ideas for volunteering and with the ladies having been in the chapter for quite a while, they were pretty set in their ways. I wanted to branch out and start some new things of my own. Right now, the new chapter, Delta Nu, is down to 3 members - Amy, Lynn and myself. But we are chugging along and have lots of things planned to do this year.

Being in chapter, there are several levels of participation - locally in the chapter, statewide with all of the other chapters in the state, and internationally with all of the chapters in ESA. I don't participate in the international part because it can get a little expensive with just the local and state. I have gotten more involved with the state in the last few years - I have served as the social chairperson for our state meetings and served as Treasurer last year. Most of the work is done at the local level.

There are several aspects to chapters - social (of course), philanthropic (working and money raising for charities), ways and means (working and money raising for funds for the chapter, and education. Each chapter operates differently and it depends on what the members want to do. When I was in Gamma Kappa, we had meetings on the same day of the week each month; in Delta Nu, we just sort of play it by ear. Gamma Kappa was very structured in most of what they did because of there being 8+ members active in the chapter most of the time; in Delta Nu, now that we are down to 3, we can just do what we want.

Social - a lot of the chapters, from what I hear, mix their socials with their educationals if at all possible. This year, in Delta Nu, we are going to learn about the history of Cincinnati and when we take our field trips to museums and landmarks, we will also have lunch or dinner for the social for the day. We also have a couple of special socials planned for the year. One is that we want to celebrate Christmas by going to a dinner theater in Dayton, Ohio to see a production of White Christmas. For this, we will invite other chapters to join us so that we can get a group discount!

Philanthropic - we have quite a few causes that we support. Internationally, we support St Jude's. The 2006-2007 year (we go by school years) ESA raised over $11,000,000 for St Jude's. Then, we have causes that we support within the state and each chapter will do work to help those causes. This year, in Ohio, we are supporting Sew Much Comfort (the link for the SMC website wasn't working so I linked to an article about SMC) and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Within our chapter, we work at walks (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer's Association, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, JDRF, MS), work at Crayons 2 Computers (a freestore of school supplies for teachers), work at an animal shelter, and we have fabric to make blankets for Project Linus. We will also work at the Dream Home giveaway for St Jude's with the other chapters from Cincinnati. And this coming April, I will work with several other women in the state to put together a Quilting Retreat for St Jude's.

Ways and Means - every chapter has a different way of making money to continue operating their chapter. We will sell Panera Coupons and possibly Papa John's coupons again this year since it was a fairly easy way for us to make money last year. Other chapters have garage sales, bake sales, craft sales...really the possibilities are endless.

OK, I guess that gives a fairly good overview of the sorority as a whole. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me and I will answer them.
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Sunday, August 19, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by luv2quilt
Absolutely awesome, Jill! What a blessing you are!
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Monday, August 20, 2007 - Untitled Comment
Posted by Cre8tiveQuilter
WOW, I just thought when you talked about your soriority that it was from your college days and you did charity projects with them as an alumn. I had no idea. This is amazing! You're amazing!!

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