Reflections and Admiration by Renee Chenault, International Organizer

This should be interesting as I’ve never written a blog post before! So the first thing I want to share has to do with my visitation to Alpha Chapter’s Founders’ Day Celebration in Hartford City, Indiana on August 27th!

I was asked by Jane Johnson to conduct the Installation of their 2016-2017 Officers! I was honored to be able to install all of the officers who were present.

I always feel renewed after attending a Founders’ Day celebration. It is a time to reflect on what it must have been like almost 100 years ago when our five Life Founders put everything together and created Sigma Phi Gamma International Sorority! I’m sure they are looking down on all members of SPG and saying “Well done dear Sisters, please keep us going strong through the next 100 years!”

Military Volunteers and SPG Volunteers Are More Alike Than You Think by Jill Pyclik, International Service Secretary

It’s been a very amazing week here in Indiana. We had several tornadoes last week, last count I believe was close to 8 that went through Indiana and 5 of those were in Kokomo. As many of you know I work for the military and have for 32 years proudly. But last week I was shown a whole new level of what is meant when we say “one team one fight.” Many of my members were affected by the tornadoes, some lost everything, some had lots of damage, and some only had minimal damage. But the one thing I saw was how we all came together and took care of each other. It’s a beautiful thing to see people who really care for one another work side-by-side, answer our nations call to go to war and hopefully come home together. When it was time to clean up everything left behind from the tornadoes, from a box full of memories, to taking down the remainder of the garage, to cutting trees and hauling off trash, these military members really do come together for each other and their community. I’m proud to serve with them in my capacity and I’m also proud to call them my friends and family.

Jill Pyclik
International Service Secretary

Founders’ Day Reflections and Our History

Dear Sisters:

As we reflect on Founders’ Day I want to take this opportunity to share a few interesting things that you may not know, or don’t remember, about our SPG history. (Each of these items, as well as many others, can be found on the SPG website, Governance tab, Appendix PDF.)

Our Crest is composed of our symbols. The idea of a crest originated with Mary Gucker (Alpha), while Grand President in 1924-1925. The Crest was decided upon during the next term of office when Harriette Voss (Delta) served as Grand President. The Crest was completed by Evelyn Diroll (Eta), Grand President 1926-1927.

The Creed was written by Pauline Broughton of Beta Chapter. Although written during the time she attended high school, it was not until the year following her death, in 1926, that Mrs. Broughton discovered the Creed. Struck by the beauty of it she conceived the idea of having a copy made for herself as well as each member of Beta Chapter. As a fitting memorial to Pauline who wrote it, and in recognition of her mother who so unselfishly gave it to Sigma Phi Gamma, the International Council adopted the Creed in its entirety in 1933.

Sigma Phi Gamma’s official publication is called BUDDIE. However, the very first issue, was known as the BOOK OF BUDDHA and was proposed and edited for the first four years by Phyllis Langstaff Royce (1925-1929). BUDDIE was made a monthly magazine at the 1932 Convention. Today, BUDDIE is published four times a year and includes information for every Province submitting articles, as well as the International Officers.

The permanent password was selected at the 1960 International Convention. It is only relayed orally to members and shall never appear in print. I remember my first International Convention in Florida where I was asked to serve as Marshall, and I remember fondly how the more senior ladies would lean in and whisper the ‘password’ to me. Wow! I will love the opportunity to share this story with you next time we see each other. You’ll love hearing it as much as I love telling it.

We are today, the women who are making SPG history for tomorrow. Today we have the honor to stand in the shadow of our Founders as they look down upon us from Zeta Chapter. I know they are so pleased by what they see. We have gifts to offer – we know and understand true friendship. We have hearts for service, and the muscle and stamina to carry out great works. We provide a hand-up for our communities so that everyone has opportunity for success.

Together we are one in Friendship, Service, and Community – We are Sigma Phi Gamma!

With love,

Donna

Donna Collins, International President 2016-2017

A Little Reflection About Our Creed & Self-Love and Improvement

A blog post from Suzanne Hermanson

I’ve always loved reciting the SPG Creed. I believe it embodies what we strive to be as Sisters and frankly, as human beings.

We are all flawed individuals. We know our own faults better than most.

As you know most New Year’s resolutions are lost before February rolls around but, I would like to propose a new challenge. What if we each select one line (and one line only) from the Creed and beginning now, in our new sorority year,  each of us works on that part of the Creed we would most like to improve in ourselves. This is a personal journey, not a Chapter or Province project.  I think you will discover, like me, that it is an ongoing process of self-improvement.

Next summer you may wish to select a new line of the Creed, or you may stay with the same line. If you falter along the way, don’t give up, just start anew.

This resolution of self-reflection and self-work is not intended to be an easy endeavor, but one of self awareness and improvement. All of us working toward the same goal, to be a better Sister and a better human being.

It might be fun to hear some of your success stories around this same time next year.

. . . I have mine selected!

Love Always,

Suzanne

GAMMA PROVINCE, Central-Southeast Ohio, BETH WING – Editor

GAMMA PROVINCE, Central-Southeast Ohio, BETH WING – Editor

Alpha Tau, Athens is involved in helping many charitable organizations. A couple of our favorites are: My Sister’s Place where women and their children can find refuge from domestic violence. They provide the community with a list of their needs and we help by gathering supplies for them from our chapter members. Athens County Children’s Service’s is another ; this year we provided winter coats for the children and as we do every year provide Christmas presents. Athens County visiting nurses association is an organization where we supply fans in the summer for some of the clients who need them. Mu Beta, Lancaster has been very supportive of our local food pantry this year.  We find out what is really needed each month.  It may be specific food items or personal care items.  We buy those items then each month and donate them to the food pantry.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas we buy the food pantry a gift card for a local grocery store.  The workers at the food pantry can then buy what is needed for the holiday season.  The food pantry seems to experience more and more requests each month.  We are very pleased that we can support the food pantry and many hungry people in our community. Psi, Logan has many groups that we support through our Ways and Means and Service work. Last year we gave funds to Fairhope Hospice, Logan Fireworks Fund, Relay for Life, Chakers Theater Restoration, Hocking County Agricultural (to sponsor ribbons for 4-H projects), The Washboard Festival, the Veteran’s Hospital in Chillicothe, Dollars for Lights (to support the Christmas lights in town), families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. As you can see, we try to give to things in our community that need the money. Giving money to families at Christmas and Thanksgiving are probably the most satisfying. The families receiving the food and presents are always so very grateful, and we have a group of girls that really like to shop! Another project that we get involved not only with money, but also with service hours is the Fairhope Hospice Run and Walk. Many of us not only help, but also participate in the run or walk. Psi Chapter is very pleased that we can help so many in our community! Xi Xi, Columbus focuses on assisting women and children in central Ohio. This year, the chapter will concentrate on donations for GRIN (Gahanna Residents in Need). GRIN is a community wide, faith based organization committed to helping the residents of the Gahanna-Jefferson school district in a time of need. The website quotes Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Gahanna is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

 

Contributing Editors: Pat Meyer, Alpha Tau; Beth Wing, Mu Beta; Lynne Risch, Psi; and Deb Juracich, Xi Xi

Holidays and Membership Are Beautiful Things

BY DONNA COLLINS

At the writing of this article it’s Memorial Day – a Federal holiday established to remember men and women who died while serving in the Armed Forces. The day was originally called Decoration Day — after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.

For many — Memorial Day has an expanded definition because it gives us pause to remember and also pay tribute to those who have died – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and others who have been so important in our lives. We decorate their graves too, right beside soldiers and other military personnel.

When I visited my parents gravesite on Friday it occurred to me (as I saw hundreds of flags throughout the cemetery) that Memorial Day is right in the middle of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days. I was visiting their graves because I could – not because of a holiday. My parents weren’t in service to the country – but they sure were in service to our family.

Father’s Day is a just few weeks away, on the third Sunday in June. Often times as a child I would have a teacher, every once in a while, who would make sure during the last week of school before we left for summer break that she would provide class time to make cards and small gifts (a paper plate with handprints, a construction paper silhouette, or wallpaper patterned tie) for our Dads. The Dads were usually left out of special kid made gifts due to the end of the school year arriving in late May or early June.

So today, I wonder how many of us think about the people just outside the parameters of our circle. How many of us are like that special teacher who reaches beyond the typical to make sure special things happen? Sigma Phi Gamma is one of these special things that are just out of reach for so many women in our lives – not because they aren’t welcome, but because we don’t invite them in. Think about how much richer and more beautiful our sorority would be if we reached out and invited people in … all the time … not just during a special holiday or membership campaign.

Let’s do our best to invite the women in our lives to join Sigma Phi Gamma … because we are special, because we know how much better our lives are because of our Founders.

A Mother’s Day Weekend Message from Donna Collins

It’s Mother’s Day weekend … yes, we’ve gone from a day to a weekend. You know this is a big deal, not because we asked for it but rather the world is getting busier and young people need time to fit us into their schedules – the result is Mother’s Day weekend!

When I think about Sigma Phi Gamma, I think about the hundreds of women in our sorority who are indeed my Sisters – but many of you are also my surrogate Mother. When my Mom died on February 4, 2016 my heart was broken. My life felt immediately less full. And, now in May, the loss and sadness are still like an open wound – but it is different. 

So many of you have filled a place in my heart that broke. You have offered me cards, notes, letters, phone calls, poems, social networking posts, and most of all you have ‘mothered me’ into reality. Helping me better understand the cycle of life, reminding me that who I am today is because of my mother, and knowing that I am loved.

Thank you for being my Sister and my mother. Thank you, just like my real Mom, for loving me for who I am (flaws and all). We are all someone’s daughter, so to each of you I send my love and best wishes for a fabulous Mother’s Day weekend.

Love,
Donna

People Helping People

Mary Hall, a Vandalia resident and member of Kappa Beta Chapter, is displaying the blanket she made from more than 100 four-inch corner cut out squares left from making fringed fleece blankets. The squares were from 45 blankets made by Kappa Beta Chapter for their annual donation to the oncology department of Dayton Children’s Hospital. This blanket will be included in the silent auction at Kappa Beta’s Springtime in Vandalia annual art and craft show. Quality fine art and crafts will be for sale. The show will be held on Saturday, April 23rd from 9 to 4 at the Vandalia United Methodist Church. Proceeds from this event go to support several charities and 3 Butler High School scholarships provided by Kappa Beta. Locally, the charities are the Vandalia Foodbank, nursing home programs, Crayons to Classrooms, Dayton Children’s Hospital and the Fisher House at WPAFB. Additional charities are supported through our district and international chapters of Sigma Phi Gamma. Springtime in Vandalia is a great opportunity to buy unique gifts and support charities. Lunch/brunch will also be served.

 

How Kappa Sigma Exemplifies SPG’s Friendship-Service-Community

Sometimes a tagline is just a tagline – words that might sound good or have a catchy vibe, but with nothing behind them.

That is certainly not the case with SPG’s new tagline – Friendship-Service-Community and I can say that, in that regard, my Kappa Sigma sisters don’t just talk the talk – we walk the walk.

I’d like to address the Service-Community piece first, because they go hand in hand and because I’m saving the best (Friendship) for last.

Kappa Sigma sisters have made a difference to a number of organizations in our respective communities. In Plainville, it’s the Living Bread Food Pantry, where sisters can be found picking up food at Trader Joe’s, or Panera’s, or Walmart, bagging food on Sunday mornings, and distributing food on Wednesday nights. We’re also there to help with the Boy Scout drop-offs, when we have to organize and sort all of the donations and have also supported the pantry with many cash donations over the years.

Plainville pets also benefit from our service at the annual Rabies Clinic and it’s a blast for us as we get to visit with so many furry friends.

Kappa Sigma has also made our presence known in North Attleboro with volunteer work at the soup kitchen, making St. Vincent DePaul deliveries to needy families in the area, and we even provide storage for furniture and furnishings for families who are in need of housing, so that when housing is found it can be delivered to them. We’ve participated in the local Relay for Life and our annual almost famous bake sale at the North Attleboro Honor Society Craft Fair helps to benefit that organization and also helps fund our other charities, like Abundant Hope in Attleboro, where we were pleased to be able to deliver $200 worth of long-sleeved onesies for young mothers in need.

Sue Pappalardo is inspired “I love just being able to hear what my sorority sisters do to help people in need not only in financial but in life’s difficult situations. Helping others that are having a difficult time makes me feel useful.”

To sum it up, as Patty Brown says, her “Kappa Sigma sisters are always on the lookout for ways to help other people, then they make it happen!”

Now for the fun part – Friendship. As a relatively new member (since 2013), I can say that I felt loved and welcomed by these wonderful women well before I even made the decision to Pledge. You see, in Kappa Sigma, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in sorority for 50 years or five months. Love is love.

To that point, several Kappa Sigma sisters recently visited Natalie Rammel, one of our chapter founders and a woman whom most of you know and adore. We got to talking about Convention and Tami Beane asked Natalie what were her favorite Convention locations and she replied “I liked them all”. She said she made new friends (always her advice for new convention attendees – make a new friend at each convention) everywhere she went.

And real friendship is important, particularly in this day and age when sites like Facebook are great for sharing news and keeping up, but a poor substitute for true companionship and comradery. As Donna Brown puts it, “Whether we are enjoying a dinner and a movie night, having a pound auction, preparing for a round table, we enjoy spending time together. Sisters are there in times of difficulty. Sisters are there in times of celebration. Sisters are travel buddies for going to convention. Sisters make a difference in my life and for this I feel truly blessed.”

So to sum it up, as Pam Murphy so eloquently expresses it, “I have one blood sister – but I have dozens – really hundreds – of sorority sisters. The most special sisters are my Kappa Sigma sisters. I have been in sorority for 28 years. I so enjoy the friendship, support and affection we all share. It’s fun to get together as a Province – more sisters to talk and laugh with and share ideas and experiences. It’s like a giant HUG of friendship and support. And then – going to convention – and meeting other sisters from around the country. It is so heartwarming to contribute to our international service projects and then hear the presentations about the hundreds of people and families who benefit from our efforts and financial support. I don’t know what I would do without the love and friendship of sorority.”

Friendship-Service-Community. That’s how Kappa Sigma rolls – Tami, Donna, Patty, Lorrie, RoseAnna, Pam, Sue, Melody, Colleen, and Natalie – thank you for being you and for being my sisters.

Doing Good … Feeling Good … Making Good

This week, the Xi Xi Sisters in Gamma Province (Columbus, Ohio) met for our monthly meeting and worked on a pop up service project. We decided to bring some purses we don’t use anymore, toiletries, socks, make up, snacks, and other goodies … and create ‘purse giveaways.’ In less than 30 minutes we packed gallon size zip top plastic bags with all the goodies we brought to the meeting. Each purse was loaded with a bag and we were ready to go. Next step – put the packed purses in our trunks – and be on the look out for a woman in need.

 

Our goal, each time we saw a homeless woman, or a woman who seemed down on her luck – we would stop, give them a bag, and let them know that we’re all women and we all need a ‘pick me up’ every now and then. A kind word and a few essentials that would be really appreciated. The idea of the ‘purse giveaways’ was not original, we learned about it through social media. This worthy idea allowed us to support women in need.

 

So, the business meeting was on Tuesday night (when we packed the bags). On Wednesday I had given away two bags. On Thursday two more. And, Friday one more, then I was out of bags to share. The smiles from the women who received the purses and bags melted my heart. Doing good … Feeling good … Making good is what SPG is all about.

 

Never underestimate the impact of a service project. Just a little bit of time, a good idea, and sharing what we already have can and does change lives!

Sister to Sister…..