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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Tuesday, April 29, 2014 08:30 AM, by Elise Connor Rowan
When I'm chatting in the break room with a colleague or with a stranger on an airplane and Theta comes up, I usually take the extra 30 seconds to tell them Theta supports Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), an organization that stands up for abused and neglected children in foster care. It's one of reasons I'm so proud to be a Theta.

Apparently, I'm not alone. I recently had the privilege of meeting with CASA CEO Michael Piraino who told me a heart-warming story about a Theta sharing CASA with a stranger. Michael was on a plane and he overheard a young woman talking about Theta and explaining CASA to her seatmate. Michael sat back, smiled, and listened to her enthusiastically explain his life's work. At the end of the flight, when people were collecting their bags to de-board the plane, Michael told her he overheard her conversation and introduced himself as the CEO of CASA. She was a little embarrassed and asked if she had said the right things. "Couldn't have said it better myself," Michael replied.

This upcoming year, Kappa Alpha Theta and CASA will mark the 25th anniversary of our partnership. And it really is a partnership. We have supported their mission to advocate on behalf of children who need a champion, and CASA has enabled us to spread the widest influence for good—one of the core aims of our fraternity.

As Theta's liaison to CASA, it is my privilege to work with CASA to understand their work to advocate on behalf of children in need of a champion, communicate the significance of that work to Thetas everywhere, and encourage our members to spread the word to friends and family about the incredible service CASA provides to the community.

For anyone who needs a refresher, here's how it works: A judge appoints a CASA volunteer—a member of the community—to represent the best interests of a child in foster care. The CASA volunteer gets to know the child, listens to the child's wishes, considers his or her safety, and works within the legal system to find the child a safe and permanent home, either with his or her family or with an adoptive family. In some cases, a CASA volunteer is the one constant presence in these kids' lives.

Anyone looking to better understand the difference a CASA volunteer can make in a child's life should read Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, a 22-year-old who spent most of her childhood in more than a dozen foster homes, some of which were abusive or not suitable for a little girl. In her book, she shares that her CASA volunteer, Mary Miller, was her biggest advocate and one of the main reasons she was adopted into a safe and loving home.

How do Thetas support CASA? Last year our college chapters alone raised $750,000 for CASA both locally and nationally. According to CASA, it costs them about $1,000 per year in training costs to give a child an advocate. That's 750 lives that our college chapters supported just last year alone! But it goes beyond money. Thetas also serve as advocates like Mary Miller, board members for their local CASA programs, or volunteers at events to raise money for CASA locally. Our support for CASA runs wide, and it runs deep.

After 25 years of working with CASA, Theta has developed thousands of potential advocates for abused and neglected children in foster care. This coming year, as we prepare to celebrate this milestone with CASA, I am motivated by the fact that Kappa Alpha Theta has had an impact on the lives of thousands of children and young adults. And we have so much more to do. Stay tuned for ways you can participate in the 25th anniversary celebration.

Watch Michael's message to Thetas everywhere for National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

Elise Connor Rowan, Gamma/Butler, is Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's service & philanthropy committee chairman.

Posted On: Thursday, April 24, 2014 09:00 AM, by Liz Appel Rinck
Spring 2014 issue
Since we redesigned our signature publication in 2009, the cover of each issue of the Theta magazine has featured the smiling face of a Theta collegian or alumna. And while that photograph is the first Theta face you see, it is by no means the only Theta face you'll see in any given issue.

In the Spring 2014 edition, for example, Abbi North, Alpha/DePauw, graces the cover. And on the inside pages, you'll find more than 120 photographs that portray more than 1,300 Thetas.

These women—our sisters—are role models, scholars, philanthropists, mentors, athletes, and innovators. They personify leadership, exercise the widest influence for good, and strive for achievement. In short, they are all remarkable, and we think you'll be proud to learn more about them.

If you haven't already received it, the Spring 2014 issue should be in your mailbox very soon. We hope you enjoy it!

Liz Appel Rinck, Gamma/Butler, is the director of communications for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Friday, April 11, 2014 09:00 AM, by Leslie Holzmark Franklin
Columbus (OH) Alumnae Chapter members planting pansies at the governor's mansion.
Surprise: You may find yourself in a time of personal transition—again! As your family obligations diminish and your career offers more flexibility—like ultimately, retirement!—you may discover there's time to explore new interests as well as advance your old favorites.

Even though you're still young at heart, you're a mature volunteer now, and can offer whatever is needed: time, money, elbow grease, brain power, leadership, or moral support. More importantly, you've earned the respect and admiration of your peers, as well as the deep gratitude of those you've personally touched. You've made a difference, and that's what it's all about.

No matter your age or ability, serving as a volunteer has enriched your life and touches others' lives, too. Your ongoing commitment to Theta ideals influences all you do, and also links you to Theta volunteers everywhere.

Every day... every week... every year... and every decade... YOU are one of the leading women who makes the world a better, happier, safer, smarter, and improved place!

Leslie Franklin, Alpha Phi/Tulane, is a member of the volunteer engagement committee. She is also a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Thursday, April 10, 2014 09:00 AM, by Angela Grimes
L-R: Lisa Olney, Theta Foundation trustee; Jennifer Coleman, FHC committee member; and Kate Madigan, ADD District II
Wisdom and perspective are the hallmarks of this decade, and you finally have plenty of both! Over many years, you've learned what works and what doesn't, and also what brings you the greatest personal satisfaction as a volunteer.

Your time may be more precious than ever, which is why you're choosier about the opportunities you pursue. Your focus may be shifting too—from broad issues like social change to causes that are closer to your home, work, family, or place of worship. By following your heart and utilizing your many talents, you've demonstrated you're ready to ascend the highest ladder of leadership.

• Advance in the levels of service to Theta as a district director, Fraternity facility consultant or on a Fraternity committee
• Become the president or officer of a non-profit board of directors
• Join the parent/teacher organization in your child's school
• Become a professional mentor
• Use your professional skills to chair a committee such as a special events, public relations or finance

Angela Grimes, Beta Kappa/Drake, is a Fraternity facility consultant and a member of the volunteer engagement committee.

Posted On: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 09:00 AM, by Angela Grimes
Washington DC-Suburban MD Alumnae Chapter at a 5K run
You've logged some successes as a volunteer and are hungry for bigger challenges and more responsibility. So the volunteer positions you seek now — or those that find you — often involve chairing a committee or special event, joining a leadership team, and blazing new trails that require higher-level skills and expertise. Your advancing career and/or growing family may require your volunteer pursuits to take a temporary back seat as you learn to master the art of work-life balance, but service to others is always close to your heart.

• Serve Theta as an advisory board chairman, facility corporation board officer, or alumnae group president
• Join the board of directors of an organization where you have been volunteering
• Lend a hand to planning a gala or 5K walk/run fundraising event for a cause that you feel strongly about
• Lead a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop or a faith-based youth group
• Coach a local sports team

Angela Grimes, Beta Kappa/Drake, is a Fraternity facility consultant and a member of the volunteer engagement committee.

Posted On: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 09:00 AM, by Laura Richardson
Orange County Alumnae Chapter members at a CASA event
Whether you're still in college or you've already entered the "Real World," you've got the energy to really make a difference! Your volunteer journey may have started on campus or through some Theta leadership role, but it quickly expands to community charities and causes you admire as you begin to make a name for yourself.

You prefer group activities like Habitat for Humanity and political campaigns that include a strong social component, so you can work AND have fun at the same time. Meeting new people and collecting new experiences is your priority as you give back.

• Engaging with a local alumnae chapter or circle
• Engaging with young alumnae group
• Advising at a college chapter
• Becoming a CASA volunteer
• Joining a local Panhellenic group
• Joining a professional networking group/chamber of commerce
• Volunteering abroad or through a City Year or AmeriCorps program on a national level
• Unpaid internships
• Junior League/service leagues
• Assisting with political canvassing/rallies
• Staying involved with causes from college

Laura Richardson, Beta Tau/Denison, is an alumnae district director and serves on the volunteer engagement committee. She is also a Life Loyal member.


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