The P.E.O. Record July-August 2022 (public)

july/august 2022




Prepares for Her “LAST


Officers of International Chapter President

P.E.O. STAR Scholarship Chair, Jayme Resnik

Vice Chair, Sheri Bailey Isabelle DuBois Wattles Susan Smith Sue Barker

Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi

First Vice President

Cathy Moss

P.E.O. Foundation Chair, Nicole Berner Margaret “Peggy” Rose Jennifer Bream Finance Committee Chair, (Barbara) Ann Bowen Ellen Fox Belinda Hargrove Audit Committee Chair, (Barbara) Ann Bowen Ellen Fox Belinda Hargrove Study and Research Committee Chair, Elizabeth McFarland Vice Chair, Christine Ankeney Judith French Karen Leftwich Ellen Busby Glenda Dixon Special Appointment Parliamentarian, Barbara Rosi, PRP Nominating Committee Chair, Cathy Manhart

Second Vice President

Alix Smith


Kathryn S. Ebert

Recording Secretary

Jennifer G. Mitchell

Standing Appointments Administrative Staff Executive Director

Kathy A. Soppe

Director of Finance/Treasurer

Dana Van Roekel

Director of Communications/Historian

Kate Westercamp

Director of Information Technology

Dawn Clayberg

Director of Membership

Jennifer Chittenden

Susan Penrod Lori O’Keefe Jacqueline Dawson Marylou Ruud Membership Committee Chair, Rita Briggs Vice Chair, Kathleen Feldman

The administrative staff has offices at the P.E.O. Executive Office.

Cottey College President, Stefanie D. Niles, Ed.D., 1000 West Austin Blvd., Nevada, MO 64772 Boards of Trustees and Standing Committees Cottey College Chair, Kathryn Bayne

Lauri Cushing Laura A. Parris

Becky Clines Susan Harber P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee Chair, Debbie Kotecki Julee Carucci Karen Fite Special Committees Special Committee to Study a Virtual Ceremony of Initiation Jennifer G. Mitchell

Vice Chair, Georgann Douglas Secretary, Tamara Kenworthy

James R. Bickel Cheryl Denslow Jack Ewing

Joan Braddock Lydia Bangert Ariel I. Delaney Pamela E. Napier P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund Chair, Ann Lambert Vice Chair, Nanci Rosensteel Laurel Andrew Stephanie Halton

Susan Penrod Janet Litterer Monica Brown Denise Rugani

Marti Ramsey Kristin Cresta P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund Chair, Jan Knuckey Karen Neylon Bobbie Gervais P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Chair, Debra Dumler

To Reach P.E.O. P.E.O. Executive Office 3700 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312

To Reach Cottey College Cottey College 1000 W Austin Blvd. Nevada, MO 64772 P 417-667-8181 F 417-667-8103 E peorelations@

To Reach The P.E.O. Record or Submit Material Becky Frazier, Editor 3700 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50312

P 515-255-3153 F 515-255-3820

P 515-255-3153 F 515-255-3820 E bfrazier@

Beverly Prewitt Donna Corbin P.E.O. Scholar Awards Chair, Rebecca Daniel Terry Northcutt Lisa Cooley (Go to Member Login, enter username and password, then click Contact Us.)

Layout and design of The P.E.O. Record by Allison Vial

PRESIDENT’S | message THE BENEFITS OF Teamwork by Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi, President, International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood During these summer months, many of our sisters will take a break for a family vacation, to undertake a long-awaited adventure or to tackle a home project. Many chapters also take a break from meetings during the summer, and instead gather for a fun summer social. Whatever your plans, I wish you joy and happy times that will be rejuvenating. That rejuvenation will be important when we enter the fall and chapters get back to Raising the Bar to the Stars for P.E.O.!

As we look forward to resuming business, it is helpful to remember the value of teamwork and the importance of a mindset of “we, instead of me.” That is something for members at all levels of our Sisterhood to keep in mind. Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist, stated it precisely: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can

member are important, we have the most impact when we are working in conjunction with our sisters toward the same goals. The key to the success of a chapter and what influences its vitality is all members working together as a team. We know intuitively that all members bring different skills to P.E.O. It is wise to recognize those individual

they have, even when the task requires hard work. It also offers an opportunity to better know our sisters. When we stress teamwork, we also celebrate the efforts of all those around us and let them all shine. It is crucial to lift up our sisters and recognize them for their efforts. Freely giving kudos to the team for

MARGARET MEAD, AMERICAN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGIST, STATED IT PRECISELY: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.”

change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has.” This is a great example of what our wonderful P.E.O. sisters have accomplished through teamwork by helping to educate women for 153 years. P.E.O.s are the very essence of teamwork, especially as we are all volunteers who rely on each other to be successful and accomplish our mission. We each accept and perform our duties as a part of the team—whether that be as a participating chapter member, a committee member or even as an officer. While the efforts of every

strengths and blend them together to their greatest advantage. Whether the goal is to find an applicant who would benefit from one of our projects or to organize the chapter’s fundraiser, simply stated “more heads and hands are better than one” when it comes to achieving the task at hand. Members working as a team find satisfaction and joy in their assignments which leads to more willingness to participate in the future. Encouraging a collaborative approach yields a better outcome and also more support for the endeavor. Those pulling together as a team often express what fun

a job well done goes a long way to increasing self-confidence and brings joy to their efforts on behalf of our Sisterhood. The next time your chapter undertakes any endeavor—whether organizing meals for a sister who is ill or helping host your state, provincial or district convention— remember the benefits of teamwork and how that will help your chapter sisters Raise the Bar to the Stars. WITH BEST WISHES AND P.E.O. LOVE, Patti


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


Contents The P.E.O. Record | July–August 2022 | Vol. 134 | No. 4

cover story

The Last Stitch: P.E.O. Marcia Streepy Faces Mortality, Completes Her Painting Oeuvre BY PEGGY GRAHAM AND MELANIE WERNER 6

Convention of International Chapter Save the Date! Convention of International Chapter is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 21-23, 2023 5

Special Features

5 10 11 12 14 16 18

Celebrate the Reintroduction of the Ceremony of Initiation! Capturing the Glow and the Full Import of P.E.O. BY VITA BERG IPS Recipient Sol Vidal Almela Studies Women’s Heart Health, Feels the Love from P.E.O. BY BECKY FRAZIER Heart Disease in Women BY THE CANADIAN WOMEN’S HEART HEALTH ALLIANCE Life-Long Learner Marilou Cassidy Graduates College at Age 81 BY CANDY BENNETT


You’re Not in Charge, Madam President! BY SUNSHINE REGIACORTE

Saluting Commander Stacy Coulthard: 2nd Generation P.E.O. is a Shining Star in the U.S. Navy BY JERRY OSBORNE Daisy Download Injects Renewed Excitement in P.E.O. for South Dakota Chapter BY NANCY SCHMIDT




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Instagram: @peointernational

Twitter: @PEOSisterhood

LinkedIn: International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood

PEO International


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

IN THIS | issue

In Every Issue 1

P.E.O. Philanthropies and Foundation 21 P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund 3 ELF Superstar Chapters BY MARTI RAMSEY 22 Cottey College Dr. Stefanie D. Niles Named 13th President of Cottey College BY RANDON COFFEY

President’s Message The Benefits of Teamwork BY PATRICIA L. BROLIN-RIBI


Your Letters


P.E.O. International Membership Committee Refresh, Reconnect, Renew BY KATHLEEN FELDMAN AND RITA BRIGGS

24 P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund

Partners in Peace Program Amplifies the Power of IPS BY JAN KNUCKEY

25 P .E.O. Program for Continuing Education


P .E.O. Leadership Development Why Do I Need Leadership Resources? I Am Not a Leader!... Or Am I? BY KAREN FITE

Fighting for Communication Equity BY DEBBIE NIELSEN DUMLER

26 P.E.O. Scholar Awards

Supporting Our Scholars and Nominees BY TERRY NORTHCUTT

36 Award Winning Ideas 38 P.E.O. Authors 39 New Chapters 40 Centennial Chapters 42 Where in the World is The Record? 44 Fundraising Marketplace 48 About P.E.O. 49 To the Point Events and Reminders 8 H ave You Seen the NEW Online P.E.O. Record? 28 Connect with P.E.O. International on Social Media

27 P .E.O. STAR Scholarship


50 P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education PCE Turns 50 Years Old This Biennium!

Gallery of Presidents 29 Jean Franovich, Arizona Carolyn Zachry, California Beverly Carlone, Connecticut

Barb Timm, Michigan Jane Henning, Minnesota Diane Hartingh Price, North Carolina Jean Van Delinder, Oklahoma Carol Hungerford, Oregon Barbara Helmer, South Carolina Betsy Grimes, Texas Alice Stephenson, Utah Judy Dierker, Virginia

Janet Brown, Florida Nancy Burk, Georgia Vera Redman, Idaho Carol Flora, Indiana Sherryl Appling, Kentucky Diane Meek, Manitoba- Northwest Ontario

The P.E.O. Record (ISSN 0746-5130) is published bimonthly by the P.E.O. Sisterhood, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312-2899. Periodical class postage paid at Des Moines, Iowa, and at all additional mailing offices. Subscription price is $5.00 per year. Single copies are $1.00. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The P.E.O. Record, 3700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312-2899. Printed in USA. Canada Publications Mail Agreement No. 40586518. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to IMEX, P.O. Box 4332, Station Rd., Toronto, ON M5W 3J4. Submission of material to The P.E.O. Record is your consent to our right to edit and publish it, either all or in part, in any P.E.O. print or digital communication medium. The content matter may or may not reflect the opinions of the Sisterhood. Complete submission guidelines appear on the “Members Only” section of P.E.O.’s official website, The P.E.O. Record welcomes members’ submissions to the address on the inside front cover.


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD



ELF Recipients Who Are Sisters I enjoyed reading the article on P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund (ELF) recipients who are sisters (May/June 2022 issue of The P.E.O. Record). Chapter IS, Kirkland, Washington, has sponsored my three nieces for ELF loans. One received an ELF loan in 2013 while she was earning her master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown; another received an ELF loan in 2014 while she was majoring in mechanical engineering at Stanford and, in 2021, another niece received her loan to obtain her bachelor’s in computer science, economics and data science from MIT. My oldest niece is a new mother and recently began a doctoral program at Johns Hopkins; the second was instrumental in the design of a rapid (and accurate) COVID-19 home test kit and ran in the 2022 Boston Marathon; and the third has been accepted to the Sloan School of Business at MIT and was recently selected for a Fulbright Fellowship in Germany. They are all amazingly brilliant, beautiful and well-rounded young women who will contribute to our society and do amazing things for years to come. Thank you to ELF and P.E.O. for helping them reach their educational goals. What an amazing gift! — Dorothy Caravias, IS, Kirkland, Washington

A Note on Transferring After returning home from Charleston yesterday, having driven up to attend the Golden Girls Luncheon at the 2022 Convention of South Carolina State Chapter, I found the May/June issue of The Record in my mailbox... the perfect ending to a P.E.O. day! Tonia Bohnen’s article on “Transferring” really resonated with me! When I received the gift of P.E.O. and was initiated into Chapter EL, Newark, Ohio, in 1989, I saw P.E.O. as a wonderful organization of women helping each other in our chapter and helping others in our community and sometimes beyond. I enjoyed our meetings and our programs, working with my sisters on fundraisers and attending socials and BIL events. But another jewel in the P.E.O. star I didn’t experience until four years later, when a job transfer for my husband had us moving back to Pittsburgh—the process of “dimitting,” as it was called back then. What a wonderful feeling knowing my sisters “sent ahead” my P.E.O. introduction to the area chapters and soon I found a new P.E.O. home—and added more loving, welcoming sisters to my P.E.O. tapestry. And the process was repeated again and again with the same wonderful results. Just as you mentioned in the article, I was able to learn about/contribute to different chapter traditions and operations—all the while feeling the comfort of the consistency of our P.E.O. processes and rituals. “No more moves” is my mantra as I am fully entrenched in both my life and lifestyle here on Hilton Head Island and in my wonderful Chapter AG. But if those plans change, I know that I have the support of P.E.O. to make another smooth transition. INITIATED: EL, Newark, Ohio – 1989 TRANSFERS: BW, Wexford, PA – 1994-1998 EN, San Francisco, CA – 1998-1999

RI, San Rafael, CA – 1999-2001 H, Charleston, WV – 2001-2005 NE, Naperville, IL – 2005-2010 A, New Haven, CT – 2010-2015 AG, Hilton Head Island, SC – 2015-present

— Margie Lechowicz, AG, Hilton Head, South Carolina

Editor’s Note: The P.E.O. Record attempts to present all viewpoints in response to published content. Responses published in Your Letters are limited to the single issue following the issue in which the material in question was printed and, as with all submissions to The Record, are published at the editor’s discretion and dependent upon available space.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

the Reintroduction of the Ceremony of Initiation!

Convention of International Chapter September 21-23, 2023 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Save the Date We are so pleased that new members are once again being initiated into the P.E.O. Sisterhood through our beautiful Ceremony of Initiation. As you recall, this ceremony was temporarily suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, when women became sisters through Initiation by Affirmation. Starting July 1, 2022, the Ceremony of Initiation replaces Initiation by Affirmation. •  Sisters who were Initiated by Affirmation between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022, will receive the Ceremony of Initiation: – Prior to December 31, 2022 – Before serving as an officer during the Ceremony of Initiation – From the chapter to which they currently belong •  The Ceremony of Initiation is only to be conferred at an in-person meeting; there are currently no options for the ceremony to be conferred at a virtual or hybrid meeting. •  The Ceremony of Initiation may be conferred on more than three members/candidates at one time from July 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022. Hearing the words of this beautiful ceremony reminds us all of the meaning behind our emblem, our five virtues, our Objects and Aims and the promises we each made as we entered P.E.O. membership. The Ceremony of Initiation unites every P.E.O.!

Watch for updates and more information in future issues of the P.E.O. Record Registration opens March 2023


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


COVER | story

“The Last Stitch” oil on canvas

“prairie fire i by chase lake” pastel on paper

“rooster” pastel on panel

P.E.O. Marcia Streepy Faces Mortality, Completes Her Painting Oeuvre Last Stitch The

by Peggy Graham, FL, Olathe, Kansas, and Melanie Werner

“Every day I have something to do related to art.” Every day, Marcia either paints with other artists on Zoom or goes into her studio at InterUrban ArtHouse, a creative cooperative space for artists. At home, she has a sunny window in her living room with a desk for her paints and papers. Marcia says, “I am so grateful that my daughter set up a watercolor station where I can come in and play.” Art is more than therapy and joy for Marcia—it’s a business, and she is busy labeling, framing and pricing pieces for her upcoming show. She has a basement studio in her home with what she calls an “overwhelming” number of pieces. Because of her ALS, Marcia’s handwriting has deteriorated; she’s able to continue creating artwork through the use of a brace on her right hand and a neck brace, which allows her to keep her head upright and breathe more readily. She has adapted to physical limitations by using innovative tools like a trowel to push paint around a large canvas. Marcia started painting as a child with her mother, a regional artist in western Kansas. She also liked to sew, experimenting with fashion and creating her own clothes. Wanting a stable career, however, Marcia put art aside as a profession and became a nurse working in hospitals,

arcia Streepy, FL, Olathe, Kansas, created her oil painting “The Last Stitch” for her 2015 one-woman art show featuring women and

fashion. It depicts two girls putting last- minute finishes to their prom dresses, an image she captured from a 1940s photo.

The painting is a metaphor for Marcia’s own life. She currently spends her days working with what energy she has left to finish new works and curate 30 years of previous oil, watercolor and pastel paintings for an exhibition in late May 2022 at the InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. “I have an urgency to get things done,” Marcia said. Things are urgent for Marcia because the 69-year-old artist received a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in November 2020. Because of her declining health, Marcia is no longer teaching art classes, which she did for several years, but she does plan to keep painting and mentoring other painters. She says, “My goal is to have a good attitude and continue to support people.”


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

COVER | story

schools and public health for 12 years. She continued painting and taking university art classes, as well as workshops with notable artists. She became a professional artist after necrosis in her knee forced her retirement from nursing. Starting in 1987, when her two daughters were young, she painted on weekends, working in portraits, life drawing and plein air. During the last 30 years, she has won national and international awards, painted murals in Kansas City and been accepted into prestigious art shows. Marcia faces the reality of her life expectancy, which she says is 2-5 years. This isn’t her first encounter with medical health issues, which began when her doctor suspected she had an autoimmune disease at the age of 12. She had to take a year off from work as a nurse due to pre-eclampsia, abnormally high blood pressure during pregnancy, and thrombocytopenia, low platelet count. She was diagnosed with lupus in 1983 and, in 1987, avascular osteonecrosis, which causes the death of bone tissue. She had right and left hip replacements, as well as a total ankle replacement. In 2019, she had a spinal fusion and subsequently wore a back brace.

Marcia is trying to rest and take care of herself for her and her family’s sake. She says, “When you have time to rest and close your eyes, you have more time to converse with God. Here I am getting closer to meeting God, and I am pondering what this time will be like. I am not fearful for myself. I worry about my husband and daughters.” Art has been a joy for Marcia’s life. She said, “It’s a joy to be inspired by God’s creation and to watch the colors on a blank canvas come to life and escape from health issues. I love to be outside, especially in the Flint Hills of Kansas where one feels small in comparison to the open sky and miles of prairie.” Marcia has stitched together her own beauty in an impressive legacy of art, an inspiring legacy of life. EDITOR’S NOTE: Shortly before this magazine went to print, we learned that Marcia passed away. Peggy Graham, the author of this article, says, “I would like people to know Marcia, her talent and her brave spirit.”

Sunflowers for Ukraine

Lately Marcia has been painting small watercolor sunflowers. She says, “As a fifth-generation Kansan, sunflowers have a special place in my heart. The sunflower is also the flower of Ukraine and since the war there started, I have been gifting my sunflower watercolors to people who visit

me. On the back I include a prayer for peace. We all try to do our part in taking care of each other and I am blessed to have my water colors handy every day and to have help painting as I lose my motor skills due to ALS.”


Marcia Streepy became a P.E.O. in January 2018; she was initiated into Chapter FL, Olathe, Kansas. She said, “When I joined P.E.O., I loved getting to know my sisters. They are such lovely women and I am honored to be a part of this group.” Marcia was involved with some chapter committees but had to step back when her ALS symptoms got bad. In true P.E.O. fashion, her sisters responded with kindness and understanding and rallied around her. Marcia says, “This group of women in Chapter FL has been marvelous. They are so caring; they send cards and bring meals. They are amazing. I’m so fortunate to have gotten to know them.”


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


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THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars


REFRESH, RECONNECT, RENEW by Kathleen Feldman, Vice Chair, and Rita Briggs, Chair, P.E.O. International Membership Committee

International Chapter has asked us as sisters and local chapters to move our beloved Sisterhood forward. It has been a long two years with the challenges that the pandemic brought not only to our personal lives but also to that of our P.E.O. chapters. This year International Chapter wants to take the pressure off the local chapters and members, giving them time to reconnect, renew and reengage. This is to be a year of refreshing and renewing our local chapters, making them a place where sisters engage with each other, show loving concern and find joy after the challenges of the past two years. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Just what we need. Virtual calls and meetings certainly have been a great way to keep in touch, but there is nothing better than getting together with our sisters in person and reconnecting once more. The words of Robert Southey are so true of P.E.O. after the pandemic—“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded “No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” – ROBERT SOUTHEY of each other’s worth.” We are a special and unique group of women, dedicated not only to the Sisterhood and our projects, but to each other. We have a special bond that no other group possesses. As sisters we flourish when we are together. This is truly the empowerment of sisterhood. Let’s try and break down this idea of refreshing, reconnecting and renewing and see how it applies to each of us. Where do we start? What does it mean when someone says “refresh”? It’s like saying, “create a welcome change.” We all know that P.E.O. is not new, but it can be! If we try to reinvigorate and stimulate enthusiasm within our chapters, we have a wonderful starting point. In the past we may have lacked interesting programs, enjoyable social outings, fun luncheons or dinners at a new place. We may not have brought a new member into our chapter in a long time. Isn’t it time to share the joy again? If we want to refresh something we want to restore, resume, reaffirm or renew a promise. Quoting George Washington, “Actions, not words, are the true criteria of the attachment of friends.” It is never too late to start. Now is the time to


refresh your local chapter. We need to be listening, laughing and loving whenever we are together. A member in Pennsylvania referred to how much more she receives from our Sisterhood than she gives. You are only limited by how much you reach out. Another member from the District of Columbia expressed the essence of membership—P.E.O. brings out the best in me. What can you do to restore the vigor and revive the true meaning of P.E.O. Sisterhood back into your chapter?


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature

Capturing the Glow and the Full Import of P.E.O. by Vita Berg, KH, Raytown, Missouri

Sisters, this writing reflects the rainbow color patterns of the body’s energy. Rainbow colors combine in the color spectrum to shine as pure white light. These colors inspire and expand my understanding of the radiant virtues of P.E.O. The virtue of truth adds depth and color to the soul. Each sister is a unique treasure, whose truth is an unchangeable part of her, evidenced by qualities she uniquely radiates, like sunshine. The radiance of the sun dresses each day, enhancing magical colors. Imagine the hues of red, yellow and orange sending vibrations that whisper messages of the virtue of truth. Courage, trust, discernment, receptive, and respectful listening are elements of truth. Trust encourages the ability to distinguish the beauty of truth from fearful reactions, bringing awareness to the presence of warm light. Patience, understanding, kindness, speech, love, faith and reverence flow from the purity of heart. Do you feel the blush of pure pink love in P.E.O.? Sisters, observe purity as it glows in pastels of pink enhanced by the loving ways we think. When life presents challenges or seems unfair, sparks of luminosity create the warmth and compassionate care articulating the full import of P.E.O. Justice portrays the desire to choose the right way to live and expresses fairness. The virtue of justice is luminous in the colors of silver and gold. The virtue of faith is a powerful gift from God, received and shared with deep appreciation. Our sisters remind each other with sacred spiritual, scriptural airs, “If you have faith as tiny as a grain of mustard seed, nothing is impossible for you.” “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Rose violet to purple rises in delicate crystalline sparkles, like a crown, to reveal the treasure of faith as it unfolds with strength and joy.

Dear sisters, the most essential virtue is love. Love is patient and mercy is the loving-kindness of God. God shows Himself through us as we nurture, expressing immensity, mystery and abundance. Nature is filled with elements of unconditional love. The brilliance of emerald green and sunshine yellow reveals the tangible expression of love, like the nurturing warmth of a beautiful day. • The rose does not withhold its fragrance from anyone. • A tree does not deny shade to anyone who seeks its cover. •  In the presence of nature’s loving-kindness, we sense symptoms of peace and joy, like the gentle breeze upon the ocean waves. Twinkle, twinkle, for you are a very vibrant star, Like a diamond in the sunlight. Our Purity sparkles as we nurture Each other. With strength and fairness, Our efforts shine and polish the virtue of justice. We embrace faith together and appreciate grace.

See yourself with clarity And express pure charity Know your truth is the unchangeable brilliant you. Our sister hearts are like our gold star Filled with love and light. We mentor this love through each life filled with sisterly affection.

It is easy to hold each sister dear, in Faith, Love, Purity, Justice, and Truth. Joy reflects in shimmering signs of peace. We Discover in our soul’s reverence and connection, The soft and delicate Glow Of the Radiant Life of P.E.O.

Vita Berg, RN, LMTB, Stephen’s Minister, shares heartwarming stories to clarify thoughts, soothe emotions and provide nurturing with wisdom. Vita specializes in pain management, life coaching and grandmother’s advice, with motivational articles to inspire body, mind and spiritual vitality. She joined Chapter KH, Raytown, Missouri, in 2013. This writing is dedicated to Shirley Keisker, Chapter KH, who spent her life radiating P.E.O. virtues.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature


Feels the Love from P.E.O.

Studies Women’s Heart Health,

by Becky Frazier, Editor, The P.E.O. Record

Sol Vidal Almela from Valencia, Spain, is a two-time P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) recipient. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute with a focus on cardiac rehabilitation and women’s heart health.

“My experience with P.E.O. has been invaluable,” said Sol. Through P.E.O., Sol has been able to connect with women from all over North America. Local chapters J, N and O in Ottawa, where she is studying, have been especially supportive. Sol has attended social events at the invitation of Chapter J, Ottawa, Ontario, and presented programs about her work. She found the encouragement of P.E.O. especially meaningful during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sol said, “I’m away from home, COVID was going on and I was so stressed…then I received all these cards for Christmas and it was so great. I’ve really loved that part—it’s not only the financial support, but also the emotional support.” That’s why, says Sol, when a local chapter asks her to visit their chapter and present a program, she always says “yes.” “It’s a mutual benefit,” she explains. “P.E.O. has been helping me with my education and now I can share what I’m learning with the P.E.O. members.” Sol’s admiration for P.E.O. is palpable. She commented, “All these women are volunteering their time to help people like me and it’s actually changed the way I see things. I know in the future I’m for sure going to join P.E.O. or another organization like this…these people who don’t know you give you a scholarship; I’ve been so grateful and it’s really changed my mindset. These women are giving away their time and helping me and I hope to do that in the future for other people.” Sol’s Ph.D. project is looking at differences in female and male patients diagnosed with heart disease, for example, comparing the symptoms and quality of life between the sexes. She

is part of the Exercise Physiology and Cardiovascular Health Lab, where she investigates how women compared to men respond to cardiac rehabilitation, an exercise program with remarkable physical and mental health benefits for those with heart disease. Are these rehabilitation programs meeting the needs of women? Do women benefit as much as men? Together with her supervisor Dr. Jennifer Reed, they are finding ways to make cardiac rehabilitation more attractive to women, as, unfortunately, fewer women than men participate in these programs. With the help of P.E.O., Sol has been excelling in her Ph.D. endeavors, her first research publication was featured for International Women’s Day by the European Society of Cardiology. For

understand them fully. It’s a growing field and, as a woman, I want to learn about this and how lifestyle changes can help women with heart disease.” In addition to her Ph.D. work in the field of heart health, Sol is also a member of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance (CWHHA), a group of medical professionals, trainees, researchers and patients working to improve women’s heart health. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women in the world. To raise awareness about this important topic, Sol and the CWHHA are pleased to share the following information about heart health with the P.E.O. Sisterhood.

(Continued on page 12...)

“All these women are volunteering their time to help people like me and it’s actually changed the way I see things. I know in the future I’m for sure going to join P.E.O. or another organization like this…these people who don’t know you give you a scholarship; I’ve been so grateful and it’s really changed my mindset. These women are giving away their time and helping me and I hope to do that in the future for other people.” — SOL VIDAL ALMELA

her post-doctoral studies, she plans to turn her attention specifically toward women’s health. She explained, “Especially with heart disease and women, for many, many years research studies were done in men only and those results were translated into women…there is still so much we don’t know about women’s heart disease because it’s different than in men. There are some conditions that are more prevalent in women in terms of heart disease and we still don’t


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Heart disease is on the rise and is the leading cause of death for women worldwide. HEART DISEASE sease e rise he cause h for ide . VITAL STATISTICS FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION MORTALITY DATA sease is on e and is the g cause of for women ldwide. Canada United States Australia United Kingdom KEY MESSAGE # 1 VITAL STATISTICS FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION MORTALITY DATA

STIONS? or healthcare provider.





Lopez et al. Int J Epidemiol, 2019, 1815-1823.



19, 1815-1823.

SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK MOST OFTEN REPORTED BY WOMEN • Chest pain or discomfort (ex. pressure, tightness or burning) • Pain in the jaw, neck, arm or back • Abnormal excessive sweating • Shortness of breath • Stomach pain or discomfort, or feelings of nausea or indigestion OTHER ACCOMPANYING OR ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS • Unusual weakness or fatigue • Back, shoulder or right arm pain • Sleep disturbance • Dizziness or light-headedness • Fast or irregular heartbeat

Heart attack symptoms are not recognized in over 50% of women. Women are more likely to present with 3 or more symptoms in addition to chest pain.

If you think someone is having a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention.

Lichtman JH, et al. Circulation. 2018;137:781–790


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Women can be at greater risk for heart disease than men.

Causes of heart disease can be different for women than men.


Cigarette smoking —Women have 3x higher risk of heart attack due to cigarette smoking compared to men Diabetes mellitus —Women living with diabetes are 3x more likely to die from heart disease compared to men

Certain pregnancy complications — ex. Premature birth, diabetes or hypertension during pregnancy, preeclampsia

Earlier menopause —Average age of menopause 50-52


Polycystic ovary syndrome

• Coronary artery disease • Valvular heart disease • Arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) WOMEN ARE MORE LIKELY THAN MEN TO HAVE: • Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) • Coronary vasospasm • Microvascular dysfunction (small-vessel disease) • Takotsubo (stress-induced) cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) • Peripartum cardiomyopathy (weakened heart during or after pregnancy) Some health providers may be less aware of the differences between women and men.

Systemic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders —ex. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus

Garcia, M. et al. (2016). Circ Res, 118(8), 1273-1293. Yusuf, S. et al. (2004). Lancet, 364(9438): 937-52.

There is a lot we can all do to help reduce the risk . Heart disease is largely preventable .

Be active, keep moving

Eat a variety of healthy foods

Manage stress

Live free from commercial tobacco and vaping

Limit alcohol

Get regular check ups (test for blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol)

Hu, F. B., et al (2000). New England Journal of Medicine, 343(8), 530-537 Yusuf, S. et al (2004). Lancet, 364(9438):937-52

To take care of others, you need to first take care of yourself . Start the conversation with the women in your life.

QUESTIONS? Visit or your healthcare provider. | #HerHeartMatters | @CWHHAlliance


July–August 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature

Life-Long Learner Marilou Cassidy Graduates College at Age 81 by Candy Bennett, GY, Vancouver, Washington

Few women decide to return to school in their late 70s. Meet Marilou Cassidy, Chapter GY, Vancouver, Washington, who graduated from Washington State University Vancouver (WSUV) at age 81! Marilou’s journey to earn her bachelor’s degree spanned 63 years, beginning in 1959.

Two Chapter GY members particularly inspired Marilou when they returned to school. Candy Thompson completed her bachelor’s degree at WSUV, 30 years after beginning studies at University of Portland. Connie Kearney went back to earn a law degree 20 years after completing her first degree. Citing “History of American Women” as her favorite college course, now Marilou is a role model for other women. Marilou’s interest in photography and the arts eventually led her to enroll in a degree program at Marylhurst College but she never stayed in the program. “Something always came up,” she explained. When Marylhurst announced its closure in 2018, Marilou made the decision to finally complete her degree. Helpful staff spent hours digging through paper records in the back room to validate her credits. She said, “It took me months to get up the nerve to even call admissions. When I finally did, they were wonderful. They did not laugh at me at all!” She waited to tell her husband about her decision until she had received the acceptance letter in her hands. “He has been my most ardent supporter even though I think he might have been somewhat shocked at my news,” says Marilou. Marilou officially began her degree program at WSUV in fall 2019. Then COVID-19 hit and the world changed for everyone—especially college students. Classes moved from in-person to Zoom mid-way through spring 2020. They continued on Zoom through fall 2020 and spring 2021. Marilou learned online programs of Blackboard, Canvas and Zoom. Her college-aged grandchildren and fellow students helped her through the transition. The positive side of the Zoom classes was she could still take short trips with her husband to their beloved ranch and summer home while in school!

Eager for travel and adventure after high school, Marilou wanted most of all to become a stewardess. The airlines required two years of college, so she completed the requirement at Clark College in her home town of Vancouver. She officially joined “the friendly skies of United Airlines” in 1961. She says, “I loved every minute of the adventures of living in Chicago and Seattle and traveling across the United States.” While based in Seattle, Marilou met her

Marilou as a stewardess, 1961

future husband, Larry, and gave up her glamorous job to get married. In 1963, if you married, you could no longer be a stewardess. Years flew by and included a move back to Vancouver, the birth of three children and managing a busy household for many years. While juggling all these responsibilities, Marilou was always taking classes too: sewing, cooking, accounting, golf, photography. “I guess I have always been a student, although never really on the college degree path,” said Marilou. During her years at home full time, Marilou became a charter member of Chapter GY in 1980, expanding her friendship circle and leadership roles. She served in several offices, including president, and chaired the chapter committee for the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education. She was always a strong advocate for supporting women returning to college.

Life changes are challenging to a student. Marilou’s determination has prevailed. In January 2021, she had a total knee replacement. In September, the beloved family yellow lab, Lucy, passed away at age 13. And throughout the return to classes, Marilou has been supporting her husband in his struggle with cancer.

Chapter GY helped Marilou celebrate her graduation


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“I think it’s wonderful what she has done. It was fantastic to watch her grow.

I see her emerging as a stronger person for the rest of our lives. So, I feel very lucky.”

Larry has been Marilou’s strongest

champion. He says, “I think it’s wonderful what she has done. It

–LARRY CASSIDY, Marilou’s husband

was fantastic to watch her grow. I see her emerging as a stronger person for the rest of our lives. So, I feel very lucky.”

May 7, 2022 – Graduation Day at WSUV! Marilou received a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in fine art and history, magna cum laude! Chapter GY sisters gathered at the Cassidy home to celebrate with their newest graduate who reached her goal after 63 years!

Marilou reflects, “At this point I cannot believe how much I have learned from my classes. I started out with just wanting the diploma to hang on the wall and have ended up enjoying the learning process so much. It has been a life changer for me.”

What did Marilou say she wants to do next? “Take

some more classes on

photography and tune up my golf game!” Forever the

life-long learner— reaching for the stars.


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SPECIAL | feature

You’re Not

in Charge,

Madam President!

I joined P.E.O. in 2007, I was a very young 32 years old and I only mildly understood what P.E.O. was at the time. I served as corresponding secretary for several years in my chapter and even up until a few years ago I never thought I could handle, yet alone enjoy, being president. I was absent for several years when we temporarily lived abroad and when my children were very young, but even in my absence I always paid my dues and eventually I was ready to rejoin as a participating member of the chapter. My sisters were very gracious and encouraging to me as I regained my footing and served again as the corresponding secretary. My work as an officer helped me to see the inner workings of P.E.O. and I understood more fully what P.E.O. was all about. I love that two-thirds of our mission statement isn’t about fundraising, it’s about helping each other. The longer I am in P.E.O., the more fully I understand this. The loving concern for each sister is genuine and constant. This is part of what made my decision to accept the nomination for president such an easy one. I knew that the women in my chapter were nothing but gracious, forgiving, encouraging and full of kindness and would only want me to succeed. And this desire for others to be successful flows down, not only from the chapter, but from the state/

provincial/district and International officers as well. P.E.O. is doing a great job of making it easy to understand the role of each officer with online training and easy access to district representatives. “You’re not in charge, Madam President!” This is what I remind myself before the meeting starts, that we work together. It’s funny, all those years when I was worried about being asked to be vice president (and presumably “I am not in charge of my chapter. When I start a meeting the only thing I am there for is to guide the flow of the meeting.” – Sunshine Regiacorte president following that) I was scared of something that didn’t really exist. I am not in charge of my chapter. When I start a meeting the only thing I am there for is to guide the flow of the meeting. I am there to help a team stay on task—a team of women that already know how to work well together and support each other. I remember when one of our members became president of the chapter and, having been installed the previous month, was running her first meeting.

She was older than me and someone I looked up to as a mentor and a professional in the community. How surprised I was when during that first meeting I saw that her hands were shaking as she turned the pages of the President’s Book. This woman that I looked up to was nervous! I realized how vulnerable she must have felt at that moment but also how much she trusted our group of women. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized that it’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to feel insecure about what you’re doing as long as you’re willing to learn and try. Each “Madam President” sets an example for the future “Madam President’’ and this woman was a great example to me at that moment. If you’ve been serving as an officer and suspect that the time might be drawing near to take your turn with the gavel but you’re worried that you’re not cut out to be president I would urge you to allow your fear and worry to be transformed into enthusiasm and hope because your sisters only want to see you grow. Being president is work, don’t think I’m saying it isn’t, but it is worthy and rewarding work. And best of all, you don’t do it alone. Your sisters go before you and beside you—from all the past presidents to the officers and all the way down to the newest members. From my viewpoint, if you

ever find yourself working alone, you’re probably doing it wrong.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | July–August 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars


Why Do I Need Leadership Resources? I Am Not a Leader! ...OrAm I? By Karen Fite, P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee

Everyone within the P.E.O. Sisterhood is a leader. Yes, that means you. You may serve on a committee or as an officer. Maybe you know of a young woman who could benefit from one of our projects. Or, you have a great friend who possesses the qualities of a P.E.O. and you invite her. Or, you know of a sister who has a personal need, and you reach out to comfort her. Each of these examples are evidence of leadership. Here are some specific ways that you may want to access and use these resources to help you grow in leadership and service. All resources can be found on the P.E.O. International member website at .

Are there any easy and ready-to-use chapter program ideas among the Leadership Development resources? YES! Many of the resources would be great for chapter programs. Most have videos, PowerPoint files, scripts and/or handouts that can be used for your chapter. Resources are organized under six key competencies: Productivity, Officer/Committee Development, Inspiration, Healthy Relationships, Communications and General. Each has a summary, the recommended audience, the format and the approximate time it will take. An easy place to start would be under Healthy Relationships, where there are two Icebreaker modules that can be used to get to know your chapter sisters better. How can I be a better listener? If you have ever been in a meeting when you realized that you have tuned out and missed part of the discussion, then “Listen Up Sisters,” an 18-minute interactive video, is a great resource for you. By reviewing this resource and beginning to practice the constructive listening skills you will be able to develop an understanding of others’ points of view by preventing misunderstanding or confusion. When everyone in the meeting uses these techniques, a safe place of trust is created where all ideas and opinions are welcome. If you want to give the presentation, there is also a PowerPoint and script available to download.

I want to figure out how I can contribute more to our Sisterhood. Are there resources for this? “Leading Yourself from Intent to Impact” is a 30-minute video workshop where you will learn skills to define your best point of contribution, create simple and personalized action steps, track your results, tweak your efforts over time and visualize the future to see your positive impact through P.E.O. come to life. Since each of you are unique, your plan will represent your talents and interests. Accompanying this video is a one-page worksheet for personal reflection on ways to develop your own plan. If you wish to provide the information as a program to your chapter, there is also a PowerPoint and script for your use. In today’s world how can we productively discuss issues when we disagree? Two resources can be recommended to help your chapter address these challenges. “Talking About Differences: Finding Common Ground” offers a five-step approach to Hear, Understand, Summarize, Validate and Compromise to address uncomfortable conversations. A 13-minute video and one-page document is provided. The “Resolving Conflict using P.E.O. Virtues” tip sheet (two pages) outlines approaches and responses to resolve conflicts in a positive manner using the framework of our five virtues.

A great benefit of membership in P.E.O. is the opportunity to continue developing your leadership skills! Find the above resources and many others under the Leadership tab on the P.E.O. International member website, , or go directly to . If there is a resource you need, but is not currently available, use the Contact Us link to tell us about it; we would love to hear your ideas and feedback. Leadership Tip:


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