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Grand Convention   [Clear]    (Found 3)

Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 09:41 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Nicole Eovino, advisory board chairman of Theta Kappa/Louisville, with one of her advisees at Grand Convention 2016
As the Theta staffer in charge of volunteer engagement, I speak with chapter advisors on a daily basis, and lately, I've been noticing a certain sentiment among them.

The start of the new school year is, of course, an exciting time for Theta collegians, but this year, our advisors seem more eager than ever to get back to campus, see the undergraduates, and get started on chapter goals.

This summer, Theta held its 72nd biennial Grand Convention. It's an inspiring experience that brings women from every chapter together and provides the opportunity to reflect on chapter operations, celebrate accomplishments, and brainstorm about the year ahead. Grand Convention always seems to energize all who attend. Chapter officers and advisors have been eager to put these new ideas into practice for the last six weeks, and with the beginning of a new semester, it's finally time!

But beyond the motivation that Convention brings, an even bigger driver is that these alumnae genuinely care for and love the collegians they serve and they want to see them, and the chapter, grow and succeed. It truly is why they do what they do, and in fact, they downright missed you. A few comments straight from advisors themselves:

"I am very excited for the collegians to come back! I look forward to seeing their refreshed motivation heading into a busy fall. The women come back from summer with new ideas, and it is going to be fun to see how those plans fit into the chapter."
-Erin Smith, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi ABC

"I am so proud of the progress that our officers and all of the members of Theta Kappa/Louisville have made (last semester) and am very much looking forward to what this semester will bring!"
-Nicole Eovino, Theta Kappa/Louisville

"I am so excited for the Gammas to be back! Summer is fun, but I love being around them and seeing their awesomeness up close."
-Liz Gumbel Duvall, Gamma/Butler ABC

"Fall is an exciting time for any college student, but this year is an even more special one. Eta Xi is celebrating 10 years in 2016, and it's wonderful to have been just a small slice of that history as an advisory board member. So many important Theta events will take place in the next few months, including the chapter celebrating its first decade with an alumni brunch in November. I could not be more proud of the chapter and wish them a safe, smart and happy semester."
-Laura Magnotta, Eta Xi/Quinnipiac ABC

Are you a college chapter advisor or chapter officer? Why are you eager to get back to your Theta role? What's your top Theta priority for the year ahead?

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel, Gamma/Butler, is assistant director of alumnae engagement at Theta headquarters.

Posted On: Monday, July 25, 2016 08:39 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
L-R: Cheryl Naasko-Pounds, Psi/
Wisconsin; Amy Finnegan, Beta Kappa/Drake; and Nichol James, Gamma Mu/Maryland

Now that we're a month removed from Convention, I've had the opportunity to reflect on one of my favorite observations while in Phoenix: the amount of love that was shown and shared among our Theta volunteers.


I was overwhelmed by what I saw: alumnae seeing each other for the first time in months or years and embracing, laughing, crying, or squealing with happiness.


Some of them shared their beautiful stories of friendship with me, and when we returned home, I wanted to hear more. We posted the following on Facebook this week: Have you made any close friends through volunteering for Theta?


The number of comments, reactions, tags, lovey emojis, etc., that we received was incredible. Here are few:




Five years ago, a recent graduate Theta asked for assistance from Theta alums in Massachusetts and I was the lucky one to answer the call. Abbey Shea is now a fabulous friend and inspiration -- thank you Kappa Alpha Theta for bringing us together!


My friendship with all of you has been such a blessing! It's hard to believe we haven't known each other forever. You are all such an important part of my life and I will be forever grateful to Theta and the Alumnae Committee for bringing us all together!"


You all were there through so much and were such dear friends and sisters. And I'll never forget how you were all there for me during some of the toughest parts of my life even after my official Theta volunteer time was over. You're the best!


I would say my friends met volunteering mean as much to me as my close pledge sisters I've now known over half my life.


This just made me tear up a little!! No words describe how thankful I am for Theta and meeting you! Sisterhood is not limited to our individual chapters!




What struck me about these posts was how these women would never have known one another if they hadn't volunteered with Theta. Many of the friends were intergenerational, and most didn't live geographically near one another.


But what struck me even more was the real and undeniable bond that is created among women when they work hard for a cause they love.

Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel, Gamma/Butler, is an assistant director of alumnae engagement at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

Posted On: Monday, January 19, 2015 08:00 AM, by Valerie Holloway Skinner
Valerie Skinner
Epsilon Epsilon/
Baylor
In June 2014, Valerie spoke at the CASA Breakfast at Grand Convention in Orlando, Fla. Many Thetas were inspired by Valerie's story and in the few short hours following the breakfast, attendees raised nearly $14,000 with the help of a matching gift from her family foundation.



My name is Valerie Skinner and I am honored to have been asked to share with you my personal, as well as my family's, financial commitment to CASA over the years. I'd like to paint a picture for you of why our family has chosen to support CASA through Theta Foundation since 1999.

As a couple, my parents agreed that the most important role they had was to make sure the physical, emotional, social, educational, and spiritual needs of their children were being met to the best of their abilities. They made many sacrifices over the years to make sure we had nutritious food to eat, new shoes to wear, and good schools to attend. They helped us with our homework, monitored our chores, attended our sporting events, took us to church, and drove us back and forth to all of our volunteer activities.

Was my life perfect growing up? No. But was I completely secure every single day of my formative years that my parents wanted me, loved me, and would provide for me until I was old enough to provide for myself? YES. And because I had that strong, safe, supportive foundation, I have been able to repeat that cycle with my own family. Clearly, I won the parent lottery, and I bet many of you did, too. If you're a child in the foster care system, however, your life looks much different.

As Thetas, we are in a unique position of being in a partnership with an exceptional agency that knows how to show children that someone cares about them. And that this caring person can be trusted to help find them a safe, permanent home where they can thrive and become all they were meant to be.

My dad used to tell me a story about when he was in the first or second grade. His teacher had instructed each child to bring a dime to class to buy a War Bond to support the efforts of the soldiers fighting in World War II. My dad's mother died when he was 3, and because his family was so poor, his stepmother told him they couldn't spare a dime, and so he felt deeply hurt and embarrassed to be the only child who didn't have anything to give. He never forgot that feeling, telling me many times, "Valerie, don't ever be a person who doesn't have a dime to give away." Possibly the most important lesson my father ever taught me was to always be the person who chooses to give. And since he led by such clear example, it was an easy lesson to embrace and understand.

At this stage in my life, I am not going to be able to serve as a judge in a family court. I am not likely to become a CPS worker or even a foster or adoptive parent. Because of other commitments in my life, I currently am not in a position to serve as a CASA advocate. But I do have a dime to give away. And I bet you do, too.

You may already be involved in a fundraiser in your community for your local CASA organization, which is great, but today I am asking you to consider supporting the work of the national organization, because your local chapter relies on them to provide training curriculum, technical support, quality assurance, volunteer recruitment and public awareness. We also rely on our national organization to distribute federal grants and secure private and corporate dollars. The dollars you are raising locally are more efficiently and effectively utilized because of the oversight of our national organization.

As we celebrate our 25th year with CASA, nothing would make me a prouder Theta than to see your dimes and my dimes working together to secure the future of children who are counting on us to care.

Valerie Holloway Skinner, Epsilon Epsilon/Baylor, is a member of the Mid-Cities Alumnae Chapter and is a charter Life Loyal Theta.