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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, June 15, 2015 08:00 AM, by Tiffany Erica Yoshida
Tiffany Erica Yoshida
Epsilon Sigma/
UC Irvine
CASA. I first heard about Court Appointed Special Advocates my freshman year of college at UC Irvine during sorority recruitment. I never thought I would join a sorority, but my friend convinced me to go through the recruitment process with her. During recruitment, I was given my first introduction to CASA while visiting Epsilon Sigma's facility and decided to join.

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.

Tiffany Erica Yoshida, Epsilon Sigma/UC Irvine, works as a client services specialist at CBRE, Inc and is a volunteer child advocate for CASA of Orange County and a wish granter for Make-A-Wish of Orange County.

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: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 12:00 PM, by Hillary Goodfellow
L-R: Caitlin Clark, Moira Anthony, Hillary, and Kelly Herbert, all Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi
This week is National Hazing Prevention Week, I've been thinking about how thankful I am that hazing was never part of my sorority experience. During my time at Ole Miss, we'd hear rumors about what other student organizations around campus made members do. Not only would the Fraternity never have tolerated this behavior, but also I honestly believe the thought of doing this to one another never crossed my sisters' minds. Being a member of Kappa Alpha Theta meant loving, supporting, and respecting all sisters, whether she was one of our new members or an alumna from another chapter.

During my four years as a collegian, I watched my sisters love, support, and respect one another countless times. These women were there through the breakups, difficult exams, and loss of loved ones. They were there for road trips, birthdays, and acceptances into grad school. It was this love, support, and respect my big sister passed down to me and I so excited to pass down to my littles. It was this love, support, and respect that made me proud to wear my letters each day.

Hazing is nothing but hate. It is simply impossible to show love, support, and respect while subjecting each other to demeaning acts meant to embarrass and shame. A sisterhood's purpose is to build one another up, not tear each other down. My chapter was truly my safe haven on campus. I knew I could always walk in the doors of our house, and my sisters would make me feel like I was the most beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman in the world. They made sure I knew my worth even when I was in doubt.

I wasn't there in 1870 when Bettie first decided to form our beloved fraternity, but I have a pretty strong feeling that the thought of hazing never crossed the minds of our four founders. Bettie created a sisterhood to create friendships to help build one another up, not to make each other prove our loyalty and worth. I am so thankful to belong to a sisterhood that still lives its mission, and has made it absolutely clear that hazing has no part in that. I am proud to be a Kappa Alpha Theta because it strives to ensure that every member is loved, supported, and respected.

Hillary Goodfellow, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi, graduated in May and served her chapter as president and chief marketing officer. She is also a Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Sunday, June 16, 2013 01:51 PM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Larry Dennis with his daughter Heather Dennis, Delta Psi/UC Riverside.
My Dad was the first man in my life to give me a diamond, and the one man I could always count on. Whatever I needed, be it help with my homework, help moving, or making a kite, my dad was there for me.

I remember how excited both he and my mom were when they took me to school early and got me settled in so I wouldn't have to worry about unpacking while going through recruitment. After they arrived home, my mom told me that my dad thought the girls by the dorms looked like they were a good group. I later found out that they wore "Think Theta" shirts! It was apparently destiny, and Dad knew it.

Fast-forward to me being initiated and buying everything Theta that I could get my hands on (doesn't seem like much has changed in those 20+ years). I, of course, had to buy the 'Kappa Alpha Theta Dad sweatshirt. Dad wore that sweatshirt all the time; I think he even wore it when it was 100 degrees outside! He loved when people asked about it. He would proudly say that his daughter was a Theta and explain what that meant.

I remember fondly that Dad even helped me make my own letters. Because of his handy work, I offered to make a kite for my chapter's Fall '94 recruitment. Our theme required a large color-blocked kite. Knowing that Dad was already skilled in making letters, of course he was going to help me with this kite. So, as summer was drawing to a close, I told my dad that I had volunteered and asked if he'd help. Of course, he said yes! There wasn't much he wouldn't do for me, and apparently that included making a kite on a hot Central California summer day! It was a huge success, and my chapter loved it.

Even though my Dad has passed away, I couldn't resist sharing my story of how proud he was of his Theta girl.

Heather Dennis is an alumna of Delta Psi/UC Riverside, Fraternity volunteer, charter Life Loyal member, and proud daughter of Larry Dennis.

Posted On: Monday, March 11, 2013 03:16 AM, by Christa Dell Sobon
Psi/Wisconsin chapter members
It has been just over a year since the Fraternity realigned the workforce and the scholarship committee had the opportunity to coordinate with Melissa Shaub, director of education & training, to focus on the scholastic results of our college chapters.

Of course, core to our ideals of noble womanhood is the highest scholarship. As a Fraternity, we have done a respectable job (as we should) of recognizing those chapters that are #1 on their campus in terms of grades. Celebrating Fall 2012 grades is no different, and we are delighted to recognize the 32 chapters that are tops on their campus for Fall 2012 grades. It is exciting to realize that this list includes 25% of our chapters, and is an increase from 29 chapters in Fall 2011.

By focusing on scholarship, my committee and I have been able to see beyond these obvious achievements and celebrate other successes our chapters are having. Based on reports submitted through the end of February, we have 92 chapters above ASA (all-sorority average). That means 7 of 10 Theta chapters are at or above the ASA on their campus. While we can certainly aspire to greater heights, that is phenomenal!

For our 27 chapters that were below ASA for Spring 2012, 11 improved to being above ASA for the Fall 2012. We are proud of those chapters and their achievement.

In closing, there are wonderful scholarship successes at out chapters across the U.S. and Canada. In particular, I would like to compliment Psi/Wisconsin for a wonderful job of implementing their scholarship program in the Fall 2012. Go Theta Badgers!

Christa Dell Sobon, Delta Zeta/Emory, is the scholarship committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and a charter Life Loyal member.

Posted On: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 08:22 AM, by Christa Dell Sobon
Christa Dell Sobon
Delta Zeta/Emory
As the scholarship committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta, I have the opportunity to review all the scholarship reports as they are submitted. One reason is to identify which chapters are below the All Sorority Average (ASA) and might need some assistance or support. In addition, it is an opportunity to see all the wonderful achievements of our chapters. To date, we have 27 chapters that had top grades on their campus for Spring 2012.

I was delighted to discover several wonderful bits of news. For example, the GPA for Zeta Rho/UC San Diego is the highest relative to the ASA on their campus. Their GPA is 3.38, while ASA is 3.13. Congratulations to Zeta Rho!

Congratulations also to Epsilon Iota/Westminster for currently having the longest streak of consecutive semesters being #1 in grades on their campus of any Theta chapter. They have had the top GPA on their campus for nine consecutive semesters, going back to Spring 2008. Eta Rho/James Madison has the second-longest streak with eight consecutive semesters with top grades, and Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma has been tops on their campus in grades for five consecutive semesters.

When asked about the secret to their success, Caroline Ayers and Courtney Darkow of Epsilon Iota replied:

"We have optional Theta Think Tanks (study hall) every couple of weeks. We also have a list of Theta academic mentors if a member wants to talk to someone who has taken the class. In addition, we reward members for their hard work with having everyone who received an A in the last week stand up so we can clap for them.
Also, if they received an A on an exam, they can put their name into the 'Smart Cookie' jar. At the end of the semester, we draw names, and those people receive gift cards to different places.
Moreover, during recruitment, we strive to gain members who are passionate about school."

Regarding what their success means to Epsilon Iota:

"We are so excited about this accomplishment. We are very proud of our number one in scholarship status, and we don't plan on ever letting that change."

It is so rewarding to see our chapters living our ideals.

Christa Dell Sobon, Delta Zeta/Emory, is the scholarship committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta, and is a charter Life Loyal member.

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