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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 08:00 AM, by Lisa Bagay Hawrot
Lisa Bagay Hawrot
Epsilon Omega/
Washington & Jefferson
The main reason I became involved with Theta after graduation was because of my CASA involvement as an undergraduate with my Theta chapter. During my time at Washington & Jefferson College, our Epsilon Omega chapter was active with CASA in raising money during Carnival Weekend for our volleyball tournament.

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.

Lisa Bagay Hawrot, Epsilon Omega/Washington & Jefferson, is an attorney specializing in complex domestic relations and abuse and neglect law in Wheeling, W.V.

Posted On: Friday, October 18, 2013 07:00 AM, by Vicki Stankus
Remember that tomorrow is Kappa Alpha Theta's Day of Service, when collegians and alumnae join together in service, linked heart to heart, in honor of founder Bettie Locke Hamilton on her birthday.

To learn about how you can participate, visit the Day of Service - Plan page. We've compiled many ideas for you to consider, either by yourself or with other Thetas in your area. No service idea is too small to consider!

Find out too if your local group is organizing a group event. For example, the St. Louis Alumnae Chapter is joining with Eta Omega/St. Louis, one of our newest chapters, in supporting a local dental clinic on campus. Many other chapters are holding joint events as well!

Please share with us in the Comments section below what you (or your chapter!) are planning on doing as part of this year's Day of Service. And following your event, make sure to submit your photos to dayofservice@kappaalphatheta.org for our Photo Contest!

Victoria Stankus, Eta Xi/Quinnipiac, is the assistant director of education and leadership at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity headquarters.

Posted On: Saturday, October 6, 2012 06:37 AM, by Noraleen DuVall Young
Hannah Fitch Shaw
Alpha/DePauw
In the course of looking through some of the older issues of the Magazine, I came across this letter from Hannah Fitch Shaw, whose birthday we recognize today, in the March 1914 issue. I thought I would share some of her thoughts, which still apply today.

"There lies before me a goodly pile of letters and telegrams from North, South, East and West all bearing cheery messages of congratulations on our forty-fourth birthday. Each one carries its own personality and reveals to me two things; appreciation of what was done long ago, and - best of all - the ever widening influence for good that is being exerted by Kappa Alpha Theta.

"It is a great satisfaction to know that the same high ideals that meant so much to us in the beginning have been sacredly cherished and have proved so helpful in building a great fraternity ....

"That girls could have a secret fraternity was thought impossible and absurd. Our handsome badge was dubbed a 'kite' and the opposition to coeducation furnished a favoring gale for a well made kite, a line of study held it aloft and after awhile as the line grew longer the kite rose higher and appeared smaller.

"We were called Thetas always. The Greek-letter Theta is some times known as unlucky because it begins 'thanatos' and was used to pass sentence on prisoners.

"Theta's mission seems to have been to pass sentence on some of the common prejudices against coeducation, for at that time it was considered at best a doubtful experiment.

"First it was a claim that the course was too heavy for young women and the danger would be to health; next that there was a great danger of lowering the standard; and worst of all, that if neither of these calamities occurred the young women would acquire a distaste for home life.

"All these questions have been settled years ago, for health did not suffer, the standard was not lowered, honors were received, and thousands of college-bred women have found their widest influence in the home.

"That we are proud of the record made by our fraternity is shown by our willingness to have our daughters become members for we want only the best for them, and is further shown by the alumnae chapters that keep in touch with the work of the whole."

Hannah goes on to recount a visit to "western Thetas" in California and Colorado, mentioning the Omega/UC Berkeley house because of "all admiration for the genius of our Theta architect, Julia Morgan, for such a complete, convenient, and artistic home." She concludes her letter, discussing the announcement of the establishment of Alpha Tau at the University of Cincinnati, a school not far from her home in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and attending its installation. She concludes her letter:

"May Alpha Tau find a field of usefulness and ever grow and prosper."

Alpha Tau did grow and prosper, and will celebrate its centennial in 2013.

With few surviving original letters of our founders, Hannah's printed letter reminds us of the spirit in which Kappa Alpha Theta was founded and continues to "grow and prosper."

Noraleen Young, Alpha Chi/Purdue, is staff archivist at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and is a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Thursday, July 19, 2012 02:40 PM, by Noraleen DuVall Young
Ann Curtis Cuneo
Omega/UC Berkeley
When the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27 in London, many will be following the progress of our favorite athletes and sports (I really enjoy the rowing and sculling competitions.) Theta was represented the last time the Summer Olympics were held in London. In 1948, swimmer Ann Curtis Cuneo, Omega/UC Berkeley, won Gold medals in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter relay and a Silver medal in the 100-meter freestyle. You can catch one of her Olympic swims in this video. Her wins made her an household name. If you read Newsweek, the "Periscope" column of the July 16, 2012 issue has a picture of her when she graced the July 26, 1948 front cover.

An article in the Magazine recounted her visit to Buckingham Palace with the other Olympic athletes. She met King George who asked her where she lived, and when she replied San Francisco, he commented "Oh, that place with the best and worst climate." She also met Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II).

Prior to the 1948 Olympics, Ann had already made a name for herself, winning the James E. Sullivan Memorial Award in 1944 at age 18. The Sullivan Award is given each year to the most outstanding amateur athlete in the U.S. Ann was the first woman and first swimmer to receive the award.

Initiated in March 1946, Ann coached the members of Omega Chapter for a synchronized swim show for attendees at the 1946 Grand Convention held at Pasadena, California. After her retirement from competition, she, with her husband, established the Ann Curtis School of Swimming in San Rafael, California. Two of the school's students went on to compete in the 1972 and 2008 Olympics.

We know of ten Thetas who have participated in past Summer Games (four additional ones in the Winter Games), but we have not yet heard if there are any Thetas connected with the 2012 Summer Olympics. So let us know if there is a Theta we can all follow during these Games.

The archives are financially supported by Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation.

Noraleen Duvall Young, Alpha Chi/Purdue, is staff archivist at Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and is a charter Life Loyal member.