For more than a decade, Alpha Chi Omegas in southern California have anticipated reopening the Alpha Psi chapter at the University of California – Los Angeles. Well, sisters, the time has come! This fall, the women of UCLA will have another option. Alpha Chi Omega will grace the campus to recruit those women who want to feel the difference themselves and create the difference for others.
Exciting opportunities loom on the horizon, not only for potential new members at UCLA, but for Alpha Psi alumnae, southern California collegians and alumnae, and Alpha Chi Omega members across the country who are energized about the future of Alpha Chi Omega as a whole.
With the current average chapter size on UCLA’s campus at 130, the bar is high right out of the gate! When opening a new chapter or recolonizing a closed chapter, it is imperative to make a splash from the beginning. Alpha Chi Omega is preparing to do just that. It’s time to get real, anticipate what it will take to be a success at UCLA, and make things happen!
The conversation starts here.
Can you spare some time?
Coordination between Headquarters staff, local alumnae, local collegians, campus Panhellenic and university administrators is key to a smooth introduction of Alpha Chi Omega. A colonization team is being established to guide the process. There will be opportunities to participate in the colonization process as well as ongoing roles as advisors, mentors, and special projects teams. You will begin to see marketing efforts this summer, which began with a web site dedicated to providing information about Alpha Chi Omega to potential new members. Check it out at www.axoucla.com. But, we need to do more. If your professional background is such that you could volunteer your time and expertise to assist with getting the word out, we’d like to hear from you. Are you a graphic designer, printer, event planner, or someone with boundless energy and enthusiasm for Alpha Chi Omega and the idea of organization growth? Let us hear from you. If you’ve got the time and/or talent to assist the local colonization committee, please contact Jana Accaccia at email@example.com.
Can you spare a dime?
When the Alpha Psi chapter closed in 1996, the local house corporation did not sell the Alpha Chi Omega house in the hopes that the chapter would be revived in the future. Instead, it has been rented to boarders for the past 12 years. Now, plans are being made for major renovations anticipating the return of tenants who live in the Alpha Chi Omega bond.
While the local house corporation, led by Mary Davids, Chi, Oregon State University, has worked hard through the years to ensure that the frame, or structure , of the property has been well maintained and is in good condition, the time has come to focus on the public areas of the residence.
“A beautiful, up-to-date and classy looking house is a must when it comes to recruiting new members,” she says. “It will create a very positive image as the young women contemplate being a part of the new Alpha Psi chapter.”
Cosmetic updates include paint, carpeting throughout, and refurbished bathrooms and study hall. In addition to these aesthetic and continued structural repairs, living necessities such as furniture, mattresses and kitchenware will need to be purchased.
The local house corporation’s goal is to have the facility in move-in condition for the 2010-11 academic year. Your contributions are crucial to meeting that goal. The Alpha Psi House Association needs your support today!
For more information on how you can help the Alpha Psi House Association, contact Mary Davids at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be mailed to:
Alpha Psi House Association
638 Hilgard Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Helping to Open Doors for Disadvantaged Job Seekers
Terri Mathews Kearns, a 1975 initiate of the Alpha Upsilon chapter at the University of Alabama, always loved fashion. Combining both style and community service, Terri built, from the ground up, Our Sisters’ Closet—a nonprofit organization outfitting underprivileged job seeking women.
With a degree in fashion retail from the University of Alabama, it seemed as if Terri Kearns had always known what she wanted to do with her life—fashion, fashion and more fashion. She soon began a career with JCPenney as a department manager, where her knowledge of clothing and business practices was able to grow. Terri took a break from the clothing world, following the birth of her two sons, but she never lost interest. When the opportunity of JCPenney’s Events Manager was offered, she jumped at the chance to get back to work and to try something a bit different. In this position, Terri was responsible for fashion shows and many nonprofit sponsorship events and was able to work directly with the community. Through these opportunities, she was able to see how the nonprofit organizations were executed and how many people were helped through the organizations’ purposes and charitable events. Terri was truly touched; she too wanted to give back. Her passion for fashion was about to go a few steps further.
On a Saturday morning, while finishing the dishes, a program on television caught the attention of the self-proclaimed CNN junkie. The news channel was reporting on a program in Washington D.C. that provided women proper clothing in relation to job interviews—women who could not afford such a thing. Combining fashion and community service, this was exactly what she was looking for. The following Monday, Terri contacted the organization in Washington D.C. and wanted to find out how she too could start a similar program in her local community. The following year was filled with personal doubt, excitement, fear, happiness and many questions. Where would the boutique be located? Would the program be successful? Could she make it successful? The outpouring of support from her family and church allowed her to put aside her worries. The boutique was placed in her church’s old parish center, following renovations by volunteers and the community, and donations of clothing and accessories were collected for months. The boutique was aptly named Our Sisters’ Closet.
In March of 1998, Terri outfitted her first client, a women attending an interview at a retail store. She was unsure of whether or not she would have the correct sizes or even enough clothing in general. “What if I didn’t have her size? What if I didn’t have enough shoes? I wanted her to have something that she truly loved,” Terri recalls. As the woman’s appearance was brought together, the woman’s confidence rose. Terri had founded something more than fashion and community service; she had founded the opportunities of confidence, knowledge and success.
Today, the boutique sees approximately 25 women monthly, and Terri, serving as the executive director, personally outfits each and every one. She has expanded the organization to include a series of workshops, SuccessAbility Services, that educate over 50 people monthly, both women and men; two charitable events, Purse with Purpose and The Cheap Chic Boutique; and involvements with social service agencies and other job training organizations. Terri is never far from the action, teaching classes, making contacts and meeting one-on-one with those who benefit from the organization’s offerings.
As an Alpha Chi Omega, she is thankful for the teambuilding projects and camaraderie of her college days. That sense of being helpful and a part of something bigger is where she recognizes her service beginnings. Now as a member of the Mu Phi Mu alumnae chapter in Mobile, Alabama, her bond with her Alpha Chi Omega sisters has grown even stronger. Their aid and support of Terri and Our Sisters’ Closet is never-ending.
Right now, life is great for Terri, her husband, Hoagy, and their two sons, Ben and Sam. Although there is never a dull or free moment in their lives, they have made family priority. Terri laughs at the truth of
the saying, “When you are self-employed, you are the C.E.O., but also scrub toilets—there is always something that needs to be done.” Balancing the work/family aspect comes with its difficulties, but by taking on new challenges together, their strength has and will continue to grow. For now, Terri lives on the go. Bookkeeping, outfitting, teaching, and her fascination of cooking from scratch keep her busy, but she does not mind. She sums it all by saying, “When you find your passion, life becomes easy. Life becomes much happier and just easier.”
To learn more about Our Sisters’ Closet, visit www.oursisterscloset.org.
by Diane Wilson Blackwelder, National Vice President
(Omicron, Baker University)
All is not well in our country, according to the headlines and news reports. Millions of Americans are profoundly unhappy with their lives. Many are isolated, unconnected, adrift… lost. Family ties are tenuous. Divorce, disease and debt race like plagues through our cities and communities. Tension, aggression and the scramble to survive are taking a terrible toll.
Our problems are many, and we often feel increasingly helpless as our control slips and stress mounts. Economic hardship and declining income make unwelcome guests of anxiety and apprehension in many homes that once seemed secure. If you listen carefully, you can hear the urgency in their voices when they describe what they want: happiness, contentment, peace of mind . . . Above all, they want some sense of control over this increasingly bewildering world. They need a purpose to live for and the resources to pursue their purpose.
Let’s switch pronouns from “they” to “me,” “you” and “us.” If you and I want more out of life and are willing to take some steps, we can have a richer, fuller, happier existence. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose from a life of giving—answering the call to volunteer. The need is out there.
When I started being involved in community organizations and Alpha Chi Omega in the 70’s, I thought I was doing it because I was supposed to. I didn’t know what to expect out of it, but in time a light went on. I realized how fortunate and how great I have been treated during my life. I was healthy, eager to help and curious to seek involvement with a few activities in a major way. In doing so, I learned what is at the heart of service organizations and the value of membership in Alpha Chi Omega. That was when I realized how much I was getting in return and how much good my efforts and time were doing.
I invite each of you to get involved. Starting with your Alpha Chi Omega sisters, a collegiate or alumnae chapter, a philanthropic event; match your talents to the opportunity! You, personally, can make a difference. Whether you give money or your time, it all helps. There are more than 800,000 nonprofit organizations in America, so finding one that you like isn’t a difficult task. Of course, Alpha Chi Omega is my top choice for volunteering.
Let’s look at some reasons people choose not to get involved. They are:
- “I don’t have any special talents.”
- “I’m shy and have trouble meeting people.”
- “I’m a person with only limited resources.”
- “There’s no particular cause that interests me.”
- “My charity begins at home.”
These reasons can be overcome, but remember to pace yourself. Don’t overdo it!
- Don’t overextend yourself.
- Don’t overpromise.
- Don’t try to do it all alone.
- Don’t overreact.
- Do find time to enjoy your work.
The benefits of getting involved, particularly in Alpha Chi Omega, are numerous:
- You will have fun and be rewarded.
- You will meet new people.
- You will meet many old friends in a new light.
- It opens doors for jobs and business relations and much more.
If you do get involved you will find there are three kinds of people:
- Those who make things happen,
- Those who watch things happen,
- Those who wonder how things happened.
Try to be the kind of volunteer who makes things happen! Share what you have with others. As Real Strong Women we need to invest in each other. When we give to others – when we share our time, talent and money – we do not end up with less, but more. Alpha Chi Omega values her volunteers and offers gratitude to those who are taking our sisterhood to new heights.