The P.E.O. Record March-April 2022 (public)

m a r c h / a p r i l 2 0 2 2

OFFICERS OF International Chapter


Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi

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

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

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

The administrative staff has offices at the P.E.O. Executive Office. Cottey College President, Jann Rudd Weitzel, Ph.D., 1000 West Austin Blvd., Nevada, MO 64772

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

Boards of Trustees and Standing Committees Cottey College Chair, Kathryn Bayne

Lauri Cushing Laura A. Parris

Vice Chair, Diann E. McChesney Secretary, Georgann Douglas

Becky Clines Susan Harber P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee Chair, Debbie Kotecki Julee Carucci Karen Fite

James R. Bickel Cheryl Denslow Tamara Kenworthy Hope Zoeller Jack Ewing

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

To Reach P.E.O. Mail Phone 515-255-3153

P.E.O. Executive Office, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312-2899

Fax 515-255-3820

Web (Go to Members Login, enter username and password, then click Contact Us.)

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 Cottey College Mail

1000 W Austin Blvd., Nevada, Missouri 64772-2790

Phone 417-667-8181

Fax 417-667-8103



To Reach The P.E.O. Record or Submit Material Becky Frazier, Editor Mail 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50312 Phone 515-255-3153 Fax 515-255-3820 Email Layout and design of The P.E.O. Record by Allison Vial

Beverly Prewitt Donna Corbin P.E.O. Scholar Awards Chair, Rebecca Daniel Terry Northcutt Lisa Cooley

PRESIDENT’S | message

SPRING BRINGS GoodFeelings OF ANTICIPATION by Patricia L. Brolin-Ribi, President, International Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood

For me, spring brings many positive feelings of anticipation. Anticipation with hopes for more temperate weather for those who have endured a long winter, with warmer days ahead. And anticipation that, for those sisters who know summer will bring intense heat, there will be relief with comfortable temperatures during these spring days. We all anticipate growth, with flowers blooming, leaves budding on trees and spring in the air. For our P.E.O. chapters, this is

If everyone pitches in, tasks can be accomplished more easily and that provides a great opportunity to get to know your sisters better. There are many ways to help, such as offering to lead a fundraiser, serving as a pro-tem officer, or reaching out to non-participating members. These efforts also exemplify ways to Raise the Bar to the Stars . As we anticipate growth this spring, that also relates to us, as P.E.O. members. Personal growth comes as we follow these passages from our Objects and Aims “To seek growth in

charity toward all with whom we associate…” and “To seek growth in knowledge and in culture and to obtain all possible wisdom from nature, art, books, study and society…” Those thoughtful words inspire us to seek self-improvement and are not idle suggestions; they call us to action.

also a time of anticipation. We offer thanks to those who have served as chapter officers and on committees to keep our members engaged and connected during this unexpected time of continuing COVID. We also look forward with anticipation to the new officers who are being installed

By reaching out to a sister who may be struggling, that

encouragement and the compassion you show are beneficial for her and

and those who will be serving on committees. By stepping up in these very important ways, they are giving of their time and individual talents so their chapter sisters can stay in touch and share loving concern as they continue to support our projects. They truly exemplify some of the best ways to Raise the Bar to the Stars for P.E.O. How can each of us help our officers and committees sustain chapter vitality? We all can, by willingly and enthusiastically offering that support! Don’t wait to be asked. Take the initiative to lend a hand to your sisters. I like to stress the importance of working together as a team, and that is especially beneficial at the chapter level.

also yourself. By mentoring a newer sister, you help her understand and enjoy membership and, at the same time, renew your own enthusiasm for P.E.O. By learning how to host your chapter’s virtual meeting, you gain a new skill. These efforts also benefit and bring growth to your chapter. Our chapters grow stronger when we lift up our current sisters in ways that make them feel cared for and that they belong, and also when we take steps to increase attendance at meetings, plan interesting programs, and welcome new members. Anticipate how your chapter can Raise the Bar to the Stars in the next several months and what new P.E.O. experiences you can anticipate this spring. With best wishes and P.E.O. love, Patti


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


Contents The P.E.O. Record | March–April 2022 | Vol. 134 | No. 2

In Memoriam Jane Burtis Smith 5

Special Features


Sisterhood, Scholarship & Service: Inside the Heart of P.E.O. Adrienne Stephenson BY BECK Y FRAZI ER



10 13 14

A Happy P.E.O. Homecoming BY JODI ZIRBEL

Why I Am Excited to Become a P.E.O. BY BEVERLY CROWE

P.E.O. Proves Her Puzzle Prowess on National Public Radio BY BECK Y FRAZI ER


Founder Alice Virginia Coffin’s Historical Marker Restored BY BECK Y FRAZI ER


18 30 34

Weaving the Threads of Life with P.E.O. BY GA I L CAWLEY SHOWALTER

Suggestions for Hosting Chapter Meetings

The “Essence” of a P.E.O. Chapter Officer BY L I SA DEGRAAFF



FOLLOW US Facebook:

Instagram: @peointernational

Twitter: @PEOSisterhood

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

PEO International


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

IN THIS | issue

In Every Issue 1

P.E.O. Philanthropies and Foundation 22  P.E.O. Foundation Raise the Bar: Establish Your Legacy 23  P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund Searching for ELF Applicants…in the Workplace BY L AUREL ANDREW 24  Cottey College Cottey Happenings BY JANN WEI TZEL 25  P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Roommates Discover Common Bond in IPS BY K AREN NEYLON 26 P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education Welder Jessica Jones Breaks Barriers, Perseveres, Thrives & Pays it Forward BY BEVERLY PREWI TT 28  P.E.O. Scholar Awards Scholar Awards Transcend Borders BY REBECCA DANI EL 29 P .E.O. STAR Scholarship Tips, Tricks and Hints for Finding and Guiding Your STAR Applicant BY JAYME RESNI K 50 P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund A Perpetual Legacy of Love Since 1907 Events and Reminders 16 March is Introduce Your Family to P.E.O. Month 20 New Local Chapter Publicity Guidelines BY K ATHY A . SOPPE 22 Connect with P.E.O. International on Social Media

 President’s Message Spring Brings Good Feelings of Anticipation BY PATR ICI A L . BROL IN-R IB I


Your Letters

9  P.E.O. International

Membership Committee P.E.O.—A Family Heirloom BY L AURA PARR I S AND MI SSY GARY 12  P.E.O. Leadership Development Successfully Passing the Baton to Newly-Elected Chapter Leaders BY JULEE CARUCCI  Tech Tip Let’s Stay in Touch BY ANNI E JENK INS 32 Award Winning Ideas 36 New Chapters 37 P.E.O.s in the Spotlight 38 Centennial Chapters 40 P.E.O. Authors 42 Where in the World is The Record? 44 Fundraising Marketplace 21

27 PCE Turns 50 Years Old This Biennium! 39 New Online P.E.O. Record Experience

48 About P.E.O. 49 To the Point

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.


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD



RADIATING Light In a world of algorithms,

P.E.O. Kindness Caravan I answered a knock at my door to find a smiling P.E.O. holding a huge neon pink sign stating, ‘“Congratulations for completing treatments!” There on my lawn stood seven P.E.O. sisters with cowbells, signs and an air horn all yelling, “Congratulations!” The P.E.O. sisters of Chapter MF in Council Bluffs, Iowa, were there to share in the joy of my completed breast cancer treatments. These sisters had supported me through eight months of breast cancer surgery, chemo and subsequent radiation. Chapter MF members sent me cards and called me. Hearing from other sisters who had faced cancer and won gave me encouragement and helped calm my fears about unknown tests and procedures. Other sisters still battling the disease with courage while living vital lives gave me hope with their examples of strength. My sisters brought me meals and made trips to the store for groceries and other needed items for me. Amid all my medical and radiology protocols, my P.E.O. sisters kept the cards and calls coming as my healing continued. The Kindness Caravan (the actual caravan of cars of cheering sisters) was the topper! My sisters had brought the celebration and gave me permission to rejoice in my healing. It is difficult to rejoice alone, so much easier to do within the bonds of sisterhood. How perfect that the theme that our chapter chose for our yearbook was “A Kaleidoscope of Kindness.” Kindness was the thread that ran through the planned programs. COVID-19 may have stopped some of the programs, but it did not stop the kindness of my P.E.O. sisters. — Irene Brucker, MF, Council Bluffs, Iowa

hashtags and followers, it is essential to recognize the true importance of human connection. P.E.O. sisters all over the world, renowned for their joy in gathering, sharing and giving, lamented about missing those sister connections throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the true spirit of sisterhood, many have come to realize that connecting heart and spirit can be done across many miles…no password required! Sometimes, that which we get most disgruntled about can turn into something quite magical. As Minnesota Chapter EQ halted in-person gatherings in the spring of 2020, planning for the next months needed imagination. A new word “zoomed’ into our consciousness, as we traded “face to face” for “gallery view” on Zoom. A tool was illuminated in the P.E.O. Objects and Aims, supporting our desire to “seek growth in knowledge and in culture…. to radiate all light possible by conversation…[and] by exercis[ing]…any talent we possess.” In our collective P.E.O. wisdom, Chapter EQ faced the isolating COVID-19 challenge by reaching out with “loving concern [to] each sister.” Our Zoom meetings were really about celebrating philanthropy of spirit with P.E.O. sisters. As the Objects and Aims so clearly state, we never know when the “secret places of our hearts” will be made glad. There is no question in my mind that through conversation and writing, a radiation of light occurred through holy intervention. Sometimes all it takes is “a little determination to do all we can… express a loving concern for a sister.” Nonagenarian Erna Rohs says it best, “Even at this age of 95, I want to continue to be a P.E.O. because I have never met a sister I didn’t enjoy and I look forward to meeting more sisters.” — Marjorie Wright Hawkins, EQ, Saint Cloud, Minnesota

Irene Brucker (left) was surprised by her Chapter MF sisters’ Kindness Caravan, celebrating her completed breast cancer treatments


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

Jane Burtis Smith was born on March 19, 1932, to Buff and Reba Burtis in Clinton, Oklahoma. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and received her B.S. degree from the University of Oklahoma, Norman, with a major in English and speech, where she was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. As a college senior, Jane was initiated in her mother’s chapter, BR, Clinton, Oklahoma. IN | memoriam MARCH 19, 1932 – NOVEMBER 18, 2021 • PAST PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL CHAPTER, 1999-2001 Jane Burtis Smith

Upon graduating from the university, Jane married her high- school sweetheart, Don, who was a pilot in the U.S. Navy. He later began his career with Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Corporation, a division of United Technologies Corporation, where he retired as a senior project manager. Following a move to Florida, Jane transferred her membership to Chapter AZ, West Palm Beach, Florida, and in 1965 became a charter member of Chapter CW, North Palm Beach. She and Don lived in Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Lake Park and North Palm Beach, Florida. She taught high school English until their children were born. Jane’s involvement in the community included the United Way, PTA, Brownie Scout leader, president of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches and board member of the YWCA, Science Museum, Volunteer Center and president of the Pi Beta Phi alumnae club. Jane taught classes at Goodwill Industries as well as adult education classes. She and Don, members of North Palm Beach First Presbyterian Church, sang for many years in the church choir and served as Deacons and Elders. Jane enjoyed the beach, gardening, bridge, tennis and collecting cookbooks. Jane served Florida State Chapter as president in 1981- 1982. While on the board of Florida State Chapter, she was appointed to the executive planning committee for the Convention of International Chapter in Orlando. She was committee secretary from 1979 until the conclusion of Convention. Jane was appointed to the Nominating Committee for International Chapter in 1983 and served as chair during the 1985-1987 biennium. She was a member of the Study and Research Committee from 1987 to 1991, serving as vice chair during the last two years. She was elected recording secretary to the International Executive Board at Convention in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1991. During her term on the Executive Board of International Chapter, she was appointed chair of the Special Committee on Electronic Communication for the P.E.O. Sisterhood. The P.E.O. Sisterhood website was launched on August 1, 1998.

Jane served as President of International Chapter from 1999-2001 and presided at Convention of International Chapter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Convention opened on September 20, 2001, just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Delegations from every state, provincial, district chapter and chapters in subordinate territory were present with 1,375 members of Convention attending. Jane will be remembered for many qualities; among them as a fair and compassionate leader, for her strength of character and ready smile. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and P.E.O. sister. She was loved by all who knew her and will be missed. Jane is survived by her husband of 67 years,

Don, their daughter, Stephanie Nelson, FC, Tampa, Florida, and husband Scott; son, Brian Smith, and wife Lisa, six grandsons: Ryan Nelson (Ashleigh), Grant Nelson (Desire), Bradley Nelson (Kelsey), Chase Nelson (Erika), Travis Smith, Nathan Smith and one great granddaughter, Magnolia. She is also survived by her brother, Buff Burtis, M.D. (Jeannie).

We can best maintain the vitality of our Sisterhood by drawing upon the resources of our rich heritage,

becoming more involved with our projects, which reach out to others, and responding to

the challenges of the times in which we live.



March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


COVER | story

Adrienne Stephenson, GR, Tallahassee, Florida, has received multiple awards and recognitions during her career, including being named one of the 25 Women to Know in 2021 by the Tallahassee Democrat; the newspaper honored women who “defied the challenges that 2020 brought and continued to give back and give their all to those in need.” Following (page 8) is the profile of Adrienne that appeared in the Democrat in April 2021. It highlights her many accomplishments academically, professionally and in her community. As you learn about this amazing service- minded woman with a passion for mentoring, it will seem a natural fit that she became a P.E.O. Adrienne is assistant dean of The Graduate School and director of the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards at Florida State University (FSU). It was in her role at the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards where she first learned about P.E.O. In 2017, members of Chapter GR Carolyn Walker and Dusty Bennett reached out to Adrienne to ask for help identifying graduate women pursing doctoral degrees who may be eligible for the P.E.O. Scholar Award. Carolyn and Dusty were hoping to create an on-going sustainable



Inside the Heart of P . E . O . Adrienn St phenson

by B cky Frazier, Editor, The P.E.O. Record

relationship. Adrienne recalls, “When Carolyn and Dusty came to the university, it was like we knew each other for a very long time. They told me about the P.E.O. Scholar Awards and all the other things their chapter does in the community. We connected over our love for service and talked about what we could do to engage all six P.E.O. chapters in the Tallahassee area.” Carolyn and Dusty invited Adrienne to a reciprocity meeting; she spoke to the group about her role at FSU, the landscape of women pursuing doctoral degrees and what the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards does to help students identify fellowships and scholarships. Adrienne and those in attendance recognized the potential for a mutually-beneficial relationship. P.E.O. has scholarships, grants and loans and Adrienne has an extensive database of young women pursuing higher education who may qualify for P.E.O. projects. Since then, Adrienne has helped Tallahassee chapters identify potential recipients. “ I try to be a connector , ” says Adrienne.

1, 2, 5: Adrienne spearheaded Chapter GR’s school supply drive project; they collected supplies for 36 elementary school teachers in their community


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

COVER | story

Not long after her presentation at the reciprocity meeting, Adrienne received an invitation to a Founders’ Day celebration and shortly after that, an invitation to become a P.E.O. in Chapter GR. “[Being a P.E.O.] is absolutely a natural fit, said Adrienne. “One thing I think about on a regular basis are my intersecting interests—sisterhood, scholarship and service. As a scientist, I often think about how I fit these things together—these things that are the foundation of who I am…and one doesn’t exist without the other. I’m a scientist, I’m a scholar and I’m a service leader. That’s why P.E.O. was such a natural fit. All of what we do involves sisterhood— in the local chapter, at the international level and to women all over the world. I got to know everything P.E.O. does has service at the heart of it. My intersecting passions really fit with P.E.O.” Because of her position at FSU, Adrienne is not involved in the nominating process to avoid any conflicts of interest, but remains actively involved with Chapter GR in other ways. In addition to helping with the chapter’s annual garage sale fundraiser, Adrienne has served on the membership committee and is currently chair of the philanthropic committee. In this role, her focus is on getting P.E.O. connected to the community. She has spearheaded community service projects such as food drives, book drives, school supply drives and a mask distribution project. Adrienne says, “I love the power of WE that comes from Chapter GR; they recognize none of us do this work alone. Together, with other chapters, we can give back, touch lives and make a difference in the Tallahassee community.” Adrienne continues, “We’re lifting while we climb. While we grow, we get to bring other people along— women pursing higher education, younger kids in community and other people engaged in what we are doing. That’s a bright spot in P.E.O. I am really grateful for P.E.O. and my P.E.O. sisters in Chapter GR. I absolutely love the work we do together. What I love most is that we recognize when we support people in the community, that opens up a world of possibilities for them. We don’t get to see the results right away, but years later we have women who either join our chapter or reach out to say what we’ve done made a difference. This is our return on investment—this is what’s coming out of it. It’s creating lifelong impact—it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

continued on page 8...

3, 4: Adrienne instantly clicked with Chapter GR when she met them in 2017. She says, “I love the power of WE that comes from Chapter GR. They recognize none of us do this work alone.”


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


COVER | story

“MY SERVICE IS MY SCHOLARSHIP,” says scientist Adrienne Stephenson by Heather Fuselier, special to the Tallahassee Democrat, Tallahassee, Florida Reprinted with permission

Books” to support the creation of culturally diverse libraries in Title I classrooms, so that all children can see themselves in the books they read.

“Service is my love language.” For her outstanding service and

mentorship, Stephenson was awarded the Florida Commission on the Status of Women Spirit of Community Award, Excellence in Teaching and Undergraduate Advising Mentoring Award and Partner with a Purpose Award from FSU, and the Tallahassee Barrister Community Mentor Award. She lifts while she climbs and currently serves in various capacities as a member of the Tallahassee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., P.E.O. Chapter GR, and board member of the Tallahassee Scientific Society. As Assistant Dean in the FSU Graduate School, Stephenson, assists graduate students with applying for fellowships and awards to support their graduate education, supports graduate enrollment of African American and Hispanic students pursuing advanced degrees, and educates undergraduate students about graduate school as an option. As a first-generation college graduate, she knows the value of hard work and perseverance. She recalls the influence of her fifth grade teacher, Betty Chase, who instilled in her a value of community, discipline, structure through her high

“The abi l ity to explore and l ive outside of the box, to stretch what we think things are, that is ‘why science’ for me,” Dr. Adrienne Stephenson says with energy in her voice. It’s also the “why” behind her more than 17-year commitment to STEM education, service in the community, and her role as mentor and advocate at all levels of education. From elementary classrooms to graduate students, Stephenson’s hands-on approach to mentorship means that everyone taps into their potential. “My service is my scholarship,” she explains. Her layered approach to staying active in STEM while serving others and contributing to Tallahassee’s culture of care are a few of the reasons why Stephenson is one of 25 Women You Need to Know. “You never really unplug from something you love,” she says when describing a recent trip to the grocery store to load up on supplies for a virtual STEM series called STEMing in the Kitchen, a collaborative effort of nonprofit, Changing Faces Inc. and the Tallahassee Chapter of the Links. Her enthusiasm for connecting students with science spills into every conversation. “We have kids from all over the country logging in to learn about health and nutrition education, fitness, and science through cooking,” she explains. In the wake of COVID-19, she partnered with long-time friend Dr. Darice Richard to distribute face masks to Title I schools in Leon county as a way to provide an extra layer of safety to students as they returned to the classroom. The Mask 4 Class Tally initiative with the help of the Tallahassee community donated over 15,000 masks throughout Tallahassee’s schools, homeless

shelters, assisted living facilities, and several community programs. “You never have to reach far in Tallahassee to get things done,” she says. Stephenson may not have to reach far, but she reaches out often. As co-lead of the Annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science event hosted by FAMU, FSU, and TCC, the Assistant Dean of The Graduate School for Florida State University works to change perceptions of what a scientist looks like. She earned a doctorate in Neuropharmacology and Toxicology from Florida A&M University after attending Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and growing up in Washington, DC. “Tallahassee is a very different place but I would not want to do this work anywhere else. Although I’ve been in Tallahassee for almost 20 years, I am now discovering the beauty of Tallahassee through walking. Hitting the pavement weekly has taken me to a number of greenways and parks that I had no idea existed. I have explored eateries and other hidden gems downtown.”

HER MOTTO IS, “I have been given this mountain to show others it can be moved.”

expectations, and a love for learning. “This week, I will have the honor of participating in conferring graduate degrees to several graduate students that I have mentored throughout their academic career at FSU. This means the world to me!” Stephenson’s wrap-around approach to inspiring service and scholarship at all levels of education is a gift to Tallahassee that everyone can enjoy.

Whether she is pushing or pulling, Stephenson makes sure everyone has a chance to see themselves represented in the area of study that interests them. STEM initiative, Conversations with Kids and STEMineers exposes youth to STEM professionals in robotics, chemistry, engineering, game design, neuroscience, marine science, bat science and more. She, along with several student organizations from FAMU and FSU, the FAMU HBCU-UP Program and several community partners coordinated a book drive called “I See Myself in


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars


by Laura Parris, P.E.O. International Membership Committee and Missy Gary, BN, Lafayette, Louisiana P.E.O. — A Family Heirloom An heirloom is something passed down in a family for generations. In my family, our unique heirloom is P.E.O. During Introduce Your Family to P.E.O. month in March we are encouraged to talk to our families about P.E.O.

Missy’s P.E.O. Story I have always been told that P.E.O. lasts a lifetime but in our family, it has lasted beyond a lifespan. From one generation to the next, the Sisterhood has always been a constant in our lives. My first memory of P.E.O. was holiday parties filled with love, laughter and holiday treats. Each Christmas, my mom’s chapter would gather with their families to celebrate the holidays, including an activity for the kids such as making ornaments. This was especially fun for me because I love to be creative. As a senior in high school, I was initiated into the P.E.O. Sisterhood. Once I completed my bachelor’s degree, I transferred to Chapter BD of Baton Rouge. This is where I learned the lesson taught by my grandmother—P.E.O. would become my second family, a home away from home. My chapter was filled with wonderful women with a collective purpose. Each sister embraced me. After marriage and moving back to my college town Lafayette, I joined Chapter L. It was because of their love and support that I chose to organize Chapter BN, the 50th chapter in Louisiana. My dream became a reality when I joined together with Heather Hennigan a member of Chapter Y, Lafayette, to build a new chapter. I always had the support of my sisters, but it was my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to whom I turned. It was important to me for them to be a part of the legacy my grandmother began so many years ago. So, on January 4, 2020, my family, along with new and old friends, formed Chapter BN. I invite you to speak to your family about our Sisterhood. In my family, it isn’t jewelry or a family album, it is the P.E.O. Sisterhood and our love for each other that connects generation to generation. P.E.O. is a priceless heirloom that I will one day pass on to my daughter.

My mother gave the gift of P.E.O. to me. My first memories of my mother going to P.E.O. meetings were once a month on a Sunday evening, holding her P.E.O. yearbook tight as she ran out to the car. She never talked about P.E.O. but I knew she cherished her chapter because she never missed a meeting. She introduced me to the P.E.O. Sisterhood when I was 35. One of my sisters was already a P.E.O. and my other sister joined later. Mom explained to me that before I said yes, I need to realize P.E.O. will become my second family, full of warm, caring, supportive women with the purpose of helping women reach their educational goals. How correct she was. As my daughters grew, I knew it was time to talk more about P.E.O. At age 18, both my girls, Missy Gary and Kimmi Jo LeBon, were initiated into my chapter. Through the years it has been fun watching them grow in P.E.O. Kimmi Jo attends meetings when she can as she is a mother of two young boys. She absolutely adores her chapter sisters. Missy has embraced P.E.O. and is active in her chapter. She just recently organized Chapter BN, Lafayette, Louisiana, composed of mostly younger women. Our family continues to grow as I have a new granddaughter, Cecilia. She will be the future of our Sisterhood. I found a quote in my mother’s 1968-1969 Chapter AB, Albany, New York, yearbook that is still true today, “With the knowledge and insight gained from the past, we use our talents to convert our dreams into reality.” My family’s reality is passing P.E.O. on, sharing that special gift from one generation to another. You see— P.E.O. is our family heirloom.


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


Pictured left to right: Lynda Kalb, Jodi Zirbel, DeDe Jacobs


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

“ GRE AT ! A PARK I NG SPACE , AND NOT TOO FAR FROM THE S TORE ENT R ANCE , ” I thought to myself as I carefully eased my SUV behind a cheerful red sedan and parked. Then I noticed the license plate. It had the letters “PEO” in it. “How funny!” I thought, “P.E.O. ... those three letters have been such a part of my family for nearly 120 years.” As a great-granddaughter, granddaughter and niece of some wonderful P.E.O. sisters, I had recently been thinking a lot about having let my membership lapse during our last move across the country. And remembering my grandmother’s words, “You are never without friends in P.E.O.” As I walked by the empty red car, I noticed a daisy sticker on it and realized that this car must actually belong to a P.E.O. sister! Wow! Now I wasn’t sure what to do. So I said a little prayer that God would make it possible for me to speak to the unknown P.E.O. sister. After nearly an hour of successful shopping, but no sign of a P.E.O. sister, I left and went to my car. As I unlocked my door, I heard a cheerful voice behind me give a casual greeting. I turned to smile at the speaker and realized with a start that she was standing at the P.E.O. car! A lovely woman, with a beautiful smile. “Excuse me, are you in P.E.O.?” I BLURTED OUT,

SHE SMILED DEL IGHTEDLY AT ME , “Chapter IF, Saint Louis! Are you a P.E.O. as well?”


She beamed and gave me a big hug. Then she told me all about her amazing chapter and invited me to a meeting. What a wonderful answer to my little prayer. I went to the next meeting with my new sister, Lynda Kalb. It was just as welcoming and wonderful as Lynda had described. Since then, I’ve been to meetings where sisters have shared fascinating stories, listened to experts on a variety of subjects and attended a fabulous Christmas luncheon with music and a special reading provided by our own chapter, all accompanied by great food and laughter. Some of us even get together weekly to walk at a park. Happy times are ensured when P.E.O. sisters meet! I am now a happy member of Chapter IF, surrounded by gracious, friendly and active sisters. What a wonderful homecoming it has been! Coming home to P.E.O. is finding a family. A family of sisters, who are always ready to welcome and encourage. If you, for any reason, are no longer active in a chapter, reach out and find one in your area. Your P.E.O. family is waiting to welcome you home. So many interesting and talented sisters cannot wait to get to know you! I can vouch for it—give them a chance and you will find that to do so is a joy!


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD



Successfully Passing the Baton

by Julee Carucci, P.E.O. Leadership Development Committee

to Newly-Elected Chapter Leaders You have just finished your President’s Letter and are poised to “retire” from your chapter leadership position. You have reflected on your tenure of the last year or two with pride as your teamnavigated the many challenges created by the pandemic. It is time to pass the baton to the new chapter leaders. Whether you thrived or struggled this year, you will want to ensure that your chapter is well-positioned to renew, refresh and move forward.

The actual training of officers should be the last item on the agenda, since time required for training varies significantly by position. As the incoming officer receives training from the outgoing officer she will feel immediately connected, confident and ready. Proper instruction will provide the incoming officers support and self-assurance. In turn, they will provide positive leadership for the chapter. A well thought-out and executed plan for the meeting will empower a chapter’s leadership team. Their dedication and preparation, in turn, will enhance chapter and philanthropic vitality. They will firmly grasp that baton and sprint forward while you enjoy your mountain vacation, confident that your chapter is in good hands.

Wait! Before you pack for that well deserved, spring break at your cousin’s mountain cabin, you have one more task to complete… Your officer transition meeting! The best place to start as you prepare for this important meeting, which should be held between the election of officers and the next regular meeting, is with the “Outline of Yearly Meeting for Local Chapter Officers.” This document guides the president through the meeting and sets her agenda. The transition meeting is for both outgoing and incoming officers. Having both there facilitates the transfer of materials and knowledge. It also builds team dynamics, broadens the understanding of all officers and provides closure for the outgoing officers. Remember, the process of bringing in new officers involves more than merely replacing one person with another or shifting supplies from one set of hands to another. It encompasses the passing on of P.E.O.’s mission and goals as well as organizational knowledge that has developed over time.

Start the meeting with a discussion of the health of the chapter . Many presidents find it helpful to complete a Chapter Trends Assessment, which is a short questionnaire that charts your chapter’s membership and philanthropy trends. The officers can use this information to focus on the future. The incoming president can share her theme for the year and all the officers can participate in a discussion of ideas to build chapter and philanthropic vitality. It is important to listen to each sister’s input as you renew, refresh and chart your way forward. This is the time to review the supplies and records of each office. Check the current year List of Supplies and each officer’s Retention Record in the Instructions to Officers of Local Chapters. The outgoing officer can help clean house and get rid of outdated forms and records before she passes on her notebook, files or storage box.

Each of the resources mentioned in this article is available on the P.E.O. International member website. For more tips and tools to enable a productive meeting, you can view the video or PowerPoint titled, “Successful Officer Transitions,” available on the P.E.O. International member website in the Leadership Development Resources section.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

Excited Why I am

to Become a P.E.O.

Philanthropic endeavors —upon my retirement, I set a goal to apply my talents to philanthropic endeavors. The work that P.E.O. does for the advancement of women’s education is a valuable cause that I wholeheartedly support and want to be part of. Empowering women —whenever the opportunity arises for me to give advice to young women, I tell them to choose any vocation they want, as long as they can achieve financial independence and self-sufficiency. A financially independent woman is in the driver’s seat. She steers her life and is not steered by someone else. She has the ability to navigate herself into positive relationships, fulfilling jobs, safe housing, good health, motherhood and many other life choices we make. The surest way to financial independence is through higher education and the work P.E.O. does to provide educational opportunities to women is aligned with my strong beliefs on female financial independence and self-sufficiency. Building meaningful friendships —one of God’s greatest gifts is the bond between women in friendship. Some of my mother’s closest friends are her P.E.O. sisters. The women I’ve met so far at P.E.O. social gatherings have been extremely cordial and interesting. That P.E.O. brings together women with varied backgrounds at different stages of their lives appeals to me and I look forward to building lasting friendships with the P.E.O. sisters in Chapter JH. I believe in God as a sovereign being and I believe that God directs people and events into our lives for a purpose, forming us into someone better than before, and giving us the opportunity to serve others. I believe P.E.O. is a path that God intends for me to take to fulfill my role in philanthropy, empowering women and fellowship.

B E V E R L Y C R O W E JH, Amelia Island, Florida


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature

P.E.O. Proves Her Puzzle Prowess on NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

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

As a third-generation P.E.O., Marion Yoder, AJ, Cheyenne, Wyoming, grew up with the Sisterhood as part of her life. Her maternal grandmother, Verlin Lemarr Goins, was a member of Chapter C, Cheyenne; her mother, Louise Goins Yoder, became a member of P.E.O. in Chapter M, Torrington, Wyoming, in the 50s; she later transferred to a chapter in Kearney, Nebraska, and then to Chapter R, Rocky Ford, Colorado, where she remained an active member until her death in 1974. Marion, who is passionate about volunteering, has always stayed busy, donating time to her church, library, hospital, botanical garden,

civic center and more. She was pleased to be invited to join Chapter AJ, Cheyenne, Wyoming, by Ruth Arnold in 2010. “I didn’t think twice about saying ‘yes’,” said Marion. Marion has been corresponding secretary and recording secretary in her chapter and is currently serving as the P.E.O. STAR Scholarship chair. Over the years she has given programs, including one on the mission trip she took to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. “I like the fact that it’s an instantly responsive group,” explained Marion, when asked what she enjoys about P.E.O. She continued, “When

you come up with an idea of something to do, they are only too happy to help. For example, for the last two years, while planning secret Santa events, I suggested we also do a project where we support women in need in our community. We collected bras to donate to a local organization; in 2020, we donated 75 bras. In 2021, we donated 103 bras. P.E.O. has a good ethos and my chapter exemplifies that.” Marion recently had her 15 minutes of fame when she was a winning contestant on NPR’s Sunday Puzzle quiz. We’re pleased to share the following article about her big win.

Cheyenne Res i dent Wi ns NPR’s “Sunday Puzzle” by Jasmine Hall, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, Cheyenne Originally published November 20, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

She joked with Shortz on the show that she was stricken by a stroke of great insight. He laughed along with her and said it was genuinely impressive. Not only did Yoder manage to qualify, she also won the complicated and quick-witted puzzles that were thrown at her on the radio show. The game Sunday, Nov. 7, gave her two words each round, and she had to drop the letter in each of them to leave two words that were in the same category. The first example from the host was “drill” and “stage,” which became “dill” and “sage,” both herbs. She flew through nearly 10 rounds of this kind of brainy madness in just six minutes, earning her a Weekend Edition lapel pin, puzzle books and games. Although the prizes were an exciting element, Yoder said her favorite part was talking with Shortz over the phone. He took the time to chit-chat with her before and after the show, and they exchanged kind words.

Twenty-five years of listening to NPR’s “Sunday Puzzle” prepared Marion Yoder for the phone call of a lifetime. She was picked out of the 2,100 people who emailed in their correct answer for the qualifying puzzle challenge three weeks ago, and was given the opportunity to play a word game live on the air with NPR radio host Will Shortz the following Sunday. Every week, there is a new qualifier, as well as a new kind of puzzle featured on the show. The one Yoder solved was submitted by listener Michael Shteyman of Freeland, Maryland: “Think of a popular tourist attraction in two words. The second, fourth and sixth letters of the second word, in order, spell the first name of a famous author. The last four letters of the first word spell the author’s last name. Who is the author, and what is the tourist attraction?” Yoder managed to come up with the answer, Ayn Rand, whose name came from the tourist attraction Grand Canyon. “I was lying in my little bed doing the puzzle at 6 a.m. on Sunday, about a week ago, and it just popped into my head,” she said.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

Marion Yoder won NPR’s Sunday Puzzle in November; she wears the “Weekend Edition” pin with pride Photos by Jasmine Hall, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

She said he was charming, and told her he knew she’d be good when he heard that she did crossword puzzles. This was a compliment, since she considers him the king of crossword puzzles, but it’s not where her passion lies. “I don’t do the crossword puzzle,” she stated matter-of-factly. “I do the Jumble.” Besides working on the Jumble, Yoder is constantly finding ways to strengthen her community in Cheyenne. She practiced law for four decades, and now, in retirement, she’s a full-time volunteer at the library, Botanic Gardens and hospital gift shop. One of her fellow volunteers at the library, Pete Sokolosky, actually won the Sunday Puzzle more than 20 years ago. He had to mail in written answers on a postcard to get on the radio, and triumphed with his own lapel pin to show for it. When he found out Yoder had won the Sunday Puzzle just like he did, he gave her his own Weekend Edition pin as a placeholder until she receives hers in the mail. She said this was just one of the many acts of kindness and moments of connection she’s had since she played. “I’ve been hearing from people I haven’t seen or heard from in years and years,” she said. She said she never thought her appearance on the show would draw so many people together. Her friends brought her flowers, made her a crown and were ready to celebrate. A woman she barely knew, but had spoken to at the grocery store earlier that week, even reached out to give her a call and say congratulations. “It’s just been so fun,” she gleefully expressed. “It’s been fantastically fun.” And she plans on continuing the joy and the games with her next goal: to get on “Jeopardy.”


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD



Introduce Your

Family to P.E.O.


Tell everyone in your family—partners, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents (everyone!) about the mission of the P.E.O. Sisterhood and how important the organization is to you. Share the message of P.E.O.’s mission on social media and broaden the reach of our philanthropies. THE P.E.O. MISSION STATEMENT P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations.


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

SPECIAL | feature

Founder Alice Virginia Coffin’s Historical Marker Restored by Becky Frazier, Editor, The P.E.O. Record S ince 1949, the Kentucky Historical Society’s Historical Marker program has recognized people, places and events important to local, regional, state and national history. In 1981, a historical marker for P.E.O. Founder Alice Virginia Coffin was dedicated at the site of her birth in Louisville. In 1996 the marker was stolen and missing for a short time. Once recovered, the plaque was given a new coat of paint and put back up; however, it was still looking the worse for wear. In 2014, after receiving a grant to cover most of the cost, 10 Louisville chapters contributed to have the marker sent to a foundry where it was restored. Recently Alice’s historical marker was chosen as part of the Kentucky Historical Society’s limited renovation project and was once again sent to a foundry where it was restored. On January 12, 2022, the marker for P.E.O. Founder Alice Virginia Coffin’s birthplace was put back into place near downtown Louisville, Kentucky. Located in a small grassy area on Jefferson Street between Preston and Floyd Streets in Louisville, this is the only historical marker dedicated to a Founder of P.E.O. Alice Virginia Coffin (1848-88) (Marker Number: 1715) LOCATION: Jefferson St., between Preston and Floyd Streets, Louisville, Kentucky DESCRIPTION: Born on this street, Alice Virginia was one of seven founders of P.E.O., an international philanthropic and educational organization for women. It began as a sorority at the Iowa Wesleyan College, 1869; owns Cottey College in Missouri, and provides monetary assistance for education of women. Miss Coffin designed P.E.O. seal. Presented by Ky. P.E.O. Chapters.

First Vice President of International Chapter Cathy Moss, a resident of Louisville, visited the re-installed Historical Marker of Alice Virginia Coffin. She says, “Today it’s a really amazing juxtaposition between our beautiful marker and a homeless camp. It caused me great pause to see it; I ended up feeling extremely touched, remembering that the Founders were always ready to help the less fortunate.”


March–April 2022 | THE P.E.O. RECORD


SPECIAL | feature

ne of the joys of aging is having

the opportunity of looking back and seeing a pattern to the threads of our lives. We’ve all heard the story of looking at

the back of the tapestry with all the knots, only to turn it over to see the beautifully woven design. As life unfolds in real time, it’s like viewing the backside of a tapestry. It appears to be nothing more than a jumble of thread —tangled, frayed, occasionally knotted and seemingly random. Often, we can’t see the sense in life’s events. Nevertheless, things are not always what they seem. It’s only when you turn a tapestry over that you see the art: the rich colors, the texture and the patterns that can make a tapestry a thing of spectacular beauty. It’s when looking back I can see The Weaver’s hand in the events of my life. MY LIFE IN P.E.O. IS SOMETHING LIKE THAT TAPESTRY. My P.E.O. life began in 1975. I was very pregnant with my second child when I was initiated into Chapter AT in Port Arthur, Texas. Aline Showalter, a fine lady I barely knew, was the president then. Mildred Sheifley, we called her Aunt Mike, was the family friend who nominated me. She was insistent that P.E.O. was for me. Little did I realize then how important a role P.E.O. would play in my future. In 1980 when my third child was three, my marriage fell apart. I couldn’t see how I could manage P.E.O. with three young children and a full-time job, which became absolutely necessary. I almost went inactive but Aunt Mike wouldn’t allow it. She paid my dues. In 1983, I took my children and went to the University of Texas (UT) to work on a master’s degree. I had enough money to make it through the two summer semesters. Making these arrangements turned out to be a challenge. I took baby steps of faith as one by one, arrangements for housing and childcare fell into place. I was given a glimpse of what The Weaver can do with the fabric of our lives. I completed the second semester and began to think of how much money I’d spent and how I could possibly complete the degree I’d started. As I packed up the few things we had brought with us, I noticed an issue of The P.E.O. Record. On the back cover was a full-page about the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) grant. I read the requirements necessary and realized that I was a perfect fit. When I returned home, I contacted our chapter president and she began the application process for a grant we had only just heard of.

by Gail Cawley Showalter, CC, Beaumont, Texas


THE P.E.O. RECORD | March–April 2022

Women helping women reach for the stars

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