Scholarship has always been a central tenant for the members of Kappa Alpha Theta, and indeed is one of our core values. Our founders came together, in part, as a mutual support system in an incredibly arduous environment. They encouraged one another in academic pursuits and challenged one another and all future members to achieve their personal best in the classroom.
Even more than a half-century after our founding, Bettie Locke Hamilton was still stressing the importance of scholarship. In a letter sent to the Alpha Psi Chapter at Lawrence in 1926, Bettie shared a message that has been a "North Star" for Thetas over many generations "...and try above all things to keep up a high standard of Scholarship - nothing will elevate K.A.O. like wonderful Scholarship!"
How true her words were then, and they remain so today! Kappa Alpha Theta chapters enjoy remarkable success with more than one-quarter of our college chapters achieving the number-one ranking on their campus in terms of grades and more than three-quarters of our college chapters being above the all-sorority average (ASA) on their campuses. Of course, there are also many members who have been recognized for their remarkable individual achievement over the last 147 years.
Against the backdrop of our founding, many other Greek-letter organizations for women were also starting and spreading across the nation. In 1902, seven groups organized to form the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). From 1903-1951, even more Greek-letter organizations for women joined NPC, eventually totaling 26.
The Panhellenic Creed, which each member group supports, states: "We the undergraduate members of women's fraternities, stand for good scholarship, for guarding of good health, for maintenance of fine standards, and for serving, to the best of our ability, our college community."
A commitment to academic excellence for members of Kappa Alpha Theta and the other NPC groups results in success for individual members and their chapters. This, in turn, encourages all women to reach their potential both inside and outside the classroom. Intellectual development includes all cultural, practical, recreational, political and social aspects of life and is echoed in Theta's mission of offering lifelong opportunities for intellectual growth.
Please join me in celebrating the Year of Scholarship. I'm proud that Thetas are leading women in this area and have been since 1870.
Some of my favorite experiences as an undergraduate were the philanthropic events planned by Theta. It was always so fulfilling and gratifying to know that we were supporting and donating what time and funds we could to a very beneficial and impactful cause. In addition to our own events, we had the opportunity to volunteer at some of our local CASA events and fundraisers. Little did I know I would soon be a guest at these annual galas and on the event committee after graduating!
During my senior year, I represented Epsilon Sigma at Robin McGraw's initiation at Omicron/USC. This was a special moment for me as I saw the partnership between CASA and Theta embodied in an inspiring individual. Robin is a national spokeswoman for CASA and now a Theta! Shortly after graduating UCI, I met someone through an interview process, and he coincidentally turned out to be an instrumental figure and supporter and on the board of advisors for CASA. After so many connections, the CASA connection continued to follow me. At this point, I knew CASA was meant to be in my life, and in late 2010, I signed up for training to become a court appointed special advocate.
Since that time, I have had two cases. I am incredibly passionate about CASA. CASA's mission is to "support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every abused or neglected child can be safe, establish permanency, and have the opportunity to thrive." I've seen firsthand the impact that this mission has on children, including the current youth I serve. In addition to serving as a CASA, I am involved in CASA's local events to spread its mission and raise awareness.
Joining Theta was one of the best decisions I have made. My college experience was immensely enhanced and wonderful because of Theta. I am proud to be a Theta, and I thank Theta for helping me become who I am today. I encourage all my Theta sisters to get involved with their local CASA chapter, whether committing to be a volunteer advocate such as myself, or getting involved in other ways with local events and fundraisers and spreading awareness to the mission of CASA.
I love being a CASA and being a part of the CASA family. Theta led me to CASA and helped me find my voice in the world, and CASA allows me to give my child a voice.
- News of a first-of-its-kind capital campaign launched by Theta Foundation. Through this campaign, Thetas and friends of Theta can invest in two proven programs: the Educational Leadership Consultant (ELC) program and a new need-based scholarship program.
- Further celebration of Theta's 25-year relationship with CASA, including an article by a collegian who strengthened the connection between her chapter and her local CASA chapter.
- Stories from alumnae groups and college chapters about spreading the widest influence for good on our sixth annual Day of Service.
- The Fraternity's annual report, a list of undergraduate Thetas who earned straight As, and a profile of Jean Smith McKenzie, Alpha Mu/Missouri, president of American Girl.
As always, we hope you will find both inspiration and entertainment in the latest issue of the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine.
This week via social media and through an email to members, we asked Thetas and their friends to help us raise $25,000 in 25 hours to help 25 children in celebration of our 25-year relationship with National Court Appointed Special Advocates. We are pleased to share that we exceeded our goal! At least 27 children (we are still tallying the donations!) will receive the support of a CASA thanks to the hundreds of Thetas and their friends who worked together to demonstrate that abused and neglected children are not forgotten!
This 25-hour challenge is just one way Theta remains an ardent supporter of CASA after 25 years. Thetas continually demonstrate their commitment to the cause by serving as volunteers for CASA and, as revealed through this drive, as powerful advocates to spread awareness. Through their fundraising efforts, our college and alumnae chapters provide local CASA organizations with much-needed support in their respective communities. Through donations received throughout the year, Theta Foundation makes quarterly grants to National CASA to help provide essential training, educational materials, and advocacy work that benefit the nationwide network.
No matter how you choose to support CASA, rest assured you are making it possible for a qualified, compassionate adult to fight for and protect a child's right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the security of a loving family.
The 25-hour challenge may be over, but the impact of our generosity is only just beginning! Our thanks to Thetas and friends for continuing to spread the widest influence for good and for leading the way for this worthwhile cause.
Learn more about Theta's relationship with CASA and how you can continue to help.
We know it costs approximately $1,000 a year to fund a CASA volunteer for one child—a cost that is just one third spent for one month in foster care. Throughout our 25-year partnership, Thetas have contributed more than $1.2 million to Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation's grant to National CASA, and in a three-hour period and through $5 contributions, attendees at the 2014 Grand Convention raised enough money so that Theta Foundation could provide 14 children with a CASA volunteer for a year.
Today, we're going to demonstrate that abused and neglected children are not forgotten children - and we can't do this without you (and your friends). We are a Fraternity of more than 200,000+ members, but it would only take 1,000 of us making gifts of $25 to reach our goal of providing 25 children with a CASA volunteer for a year. Every gift of every size matters—big or small—and every member can make a difference. For the next 25 hours, we are asking Thetas to do what they do best, and to work together, to meet our goal of $25,000 in 25 hours. We know that when Thetas come together to spread the widest influence for good, anything is possible!
Donate today! When filling out the online form, make sure to select Restricted Donation and National CASA so that your donation is credited appropriately. And...follow along with the #Theta25CASA hashtag to receive updates!
Since July 2010, when our local CASA organization—CASA for Children, Inc.—came into being, I have served as a member of the board of directors (including past president and secretary, and current treasurer). Our CASA organization proudly serves children in Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, and Tyler counties in West Virginia.
It is extremely rewarding for me to serve on the CASA board. CASA works to serve the best interest of children during some of the most difficult times in their lives. Through my family law practice, I've unfortunately seen first-hand some devastating cases of abuse and neglect. CASA works to ensure that these children are in a safe and loving environment (whether that means reunification with their families or not), and if reunification is not possible, to assist them in achieving permanency in a forever home.
In 2014, our CASA for Children program provided advocacy for more than 270 children, helping 115 achieve permanency, through the help of 34 volunteer advocates and three staff members. Our program spearheads the West Virginia statewide fostering futures initiative serving youth ages 14-21. We have trained more than 100 volunteers around the state, and currently 55 youth have the benefit of a specially trained CASA volunteer to help them gain the skills necessary for independence.
Although we've had various fundraisers over the years, in 2014, we had our first annual Superhero 5K, which was a great success! Our second annual Superhero 5K is scheduled for April 18.
I'm very proud and privileged to work with our executive director, Susan Harrison, the other board members, and all the wonderful volunteers. Abuse and neglect cases can be devastating for a child, but I'm proud to say that through CASA we can give those children a voice.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or want to learn more about your local CASA organization, visit the National CASA website.
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