Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Sophia Scalise
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient

University of Arkansas—Biological Engineering Major

Sponsored by Fayetteville-Springdale, Ark., Lodge No. 1987


Elks scholars are known for their hard work and dedication to excellence. Sophia Scalise is no exception.

In high school, Sophia was involved in numerous activities, including playing varsity tennis, participating in school musicals, working as a lifeguard, and volunteering at her church and the local animal shelter.

Besides her commitment to her extracurricular involvement and community service, Sophia also achieved academically, taking AP classes, becoming a member of the National Honor Society, and graduating first in her class.

Now in college, Sophia studies hard for her biology courses and has also found time to become involved on campus. Her new involvements include club tennis, joining Phi Mu, and Residents Interhall Congress Judiciary, a branch of the university’s student government.

While her eyes are set on her future, Sophia has fond memories of her youth spent at the local Lodge.

“The Elks Lodge is where my family bonded,” says Sophia, whose brother Samuel is also a Legacy scholar. “I owe some of the fondest experiences of my childhood to our local Lodge.”

Sophia looks forward to making more memories at the Lodge.

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Success in Springfield

by Programs Assistant Sarah Louderman

Due to my brother’s poor timing picking a wedding date, I unfortunately did not have the chance to attend the Elks National Convention in New Orleans this past summer. Thankfully though, the Elks National Foundation was invited to attend the Illinois Elks Convention. The IEA wants to encourage more Lodges to apply for Community Investments Program grants, so our two-person grant department of Programs Associate, Mary Morgan, and I traveled to Springfield for the weekend.

Mary and I arrived in Springfield late Friday morning and were greeted by many friendly Elks who helped us set up a conference room for office hours. We held office hours and assisted visitors with general information about the Community Investments Program. Afterwards, we walked to the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library and spent the end of the afternoon touring the spectacular exhibits and perusing the gift shop.

Once we returned from our museum visit, we went to the top floor of the hotel to stop by the Districts’ hospitality rooms. The rooms were decorated with fun themes and we toured each one to say hello to volunteers we had become acquainted with through the Community Investments Program. Since our grant presentation was planned for Saturday morning, we decided to turn in early so we would be well-rested and prepared for the next day.

Saturday morning was busy and exciting. Mary and I met early to review our presentation notes and before long, we had only 15 minutes before we were planned to start! We hurried to the conference room and got rolling. The room was filled from the beginning, but many more people joined and we eventually had to bring in additional chairs. The crowd was attentive and we distributed all of our flyers and brochures. The presentation mainly focused on the Beacon and Gratitude Grants, since these are generally the only two still available in September. Mary detailed the different guidelines for each grant, important details that the ENF looks for on grant applications, and common application mistakes.

After the presentation wrapped, many Elks came up to chat with us and ask questions. Some people requested more information and others just wanted to introduce themselves. After speaking with so many volunteers over the phone during our regular work days, it’s always nice to formally meet in person.

We stayed for a couple hours after the presentation to help a few Secretaries, Exalted Rulers, and Grant Coordinators with project ideas and planning. Once everyone had the assistance they needed, we packed up our rental car to hit the road—but not before one last stop. We had a craving for something sweet, chocolaty, and Lincolny, so we stopped at the Lincoln Museum’s gift shop one last time to purchase chocolate covered penny cookies. We then bid farewell to Springfield and the IEA Convention. Thank you for being such great hosts!

The Elks National Foundation allocated $8.68 million this year to fund the Community Investments Program. Lodges meet local needs in Elks communities through Beacon, Gratitude, Promise and Impact Grants. These grants offer Lodges opportunities to serve the community in ways that will raise the Lodge’s profile, energize the membership, encourage former members to return to the fold, and gain the notice of people who want to be part of an organization that’s doing great things. To learn more about the Community Investments Program, please visit www.elks.org/enf/community

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

An Education In and Out of the Classroom

By 2014 Legacy Awards Recipient and Elks Scholar Advisory Board Member Anji Radakrishnan

Anji Radakrishnan, 2014 Legacy scholar and freshmen representative on the Elks Scholar Advisory Board, is giving us a glimpse into life as a college freshmen. Join her each month as she blogs about her exciting new challenges and experiences at Penn State. 

Hi everyone! Hope everything is going well for my fellow Elks scholars, and everyone is as happy as I am to finally be going home for Thanksgiving. I’d like to highlight a few important things I’ve learned this month, in the classroom setting, on the extracurricular front, and in an incredible lecture I watched from a guest speaker.

In sociology class, we are learning about ethnocentrism—how we tend to see our own culture as the central crux of the world. Our teacher showed us videos of life in other countries, such as a woman eating bugs in China. I saw a video of a Chinese woman eating a live frog. My class was simply stunned, which my teacher pointed out was an example of how sometimes, we get so absorbed in our own culture and what we know and think is right, that we can’t comprehend that there are other ways of living.

Last weekend, my dance team performed together for the first time. We bought yards of fabric and made skirts, and wore a lot of stage makeup. We even put blush and eyeliner on the boys! The performance itself was amazing. Afterwards, the four teams: Ghaam, the garba-raas team, Jadhoom, the fusion team, Natya, the classical dance team, and Fanaa, the acapella team, had a social. Dance and the associated community is quickly becoming a huge part of my life here at Penn State. In the past, I’ve only danced solo, so this past weekend I learned how exhilarating performing with a group of people that you love and share your passions can be.

I also just attended a lecture given by Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala and co-founder of the Malala Fund. His daughter was shot in the face after showing her support for women’s education. He was simply awe-inspiring; his wit, humility, and perceptiveness depict an honest, yet optimistic view of humankind. All of the people in his audience left with a new-found respect and gratitude for our education, when only 1 in 10 women in Kenya are able to attend school. As I walked away from that lecture hall, my first thought was, “Wow, women in other locales don’t even have the chance to be educated like I do.” My second thought? “Hmm, I probably should stop skipping my 8am Chem class….”  :)

I hope college has been as enlightening for others as it has been for me. Post in the comments with your experiences and funny stories. Until next time!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Sarah Morton
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

University of Wyoming—Biology Major

Sponsored by Cheyenne, Wyo., Lodge No. 660

Having started her first job at just 12-years-old, Sarah Morton understands the meaning of hard work.
After a busy high school career, Sarah shows no signs of slowing down. She jumped head first into all her university has to offer.

Even before classes started Sarah was involved with the university’s Outdoor Program, where she met fellow freshman and enjoyed Wyoming’s natural beauty during a weeklong backpacking trip. She continues to hike and enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis.

On campus, Sarah became a freshman senator for the university’s student government, reviewing legislation and planning events and programs for the enjoyment of her fellow students. She also promotes student well-being by participating in Real Women Real Bodies, a university organization that promotes positive body image among students through campus-wide campaigns.
She is also involved with the Pre-Med Club, which will not only keep her on track for medical school but also allows her to raise awareness for conditions from breast cancer to Alzheimer’s.

In the future, she will continue to help others through her hard work and commitment to excellence. After obtaining her biology degree, Sarah will pursue her graduate degree in optometry and hopes to ultimately open her own office focusing on children’s vision health.

“I am incredibly honored to be recognized by a group that promotes stronger communities, helps youth, and supports veterans,” says Sarah. “Being an Elks scholar means that I am a role model who promotes being a positive and active community member.”

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. This year, the ENF allocated $2.44 million to fund the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, which includes 500 four-year Most Valuable Student Scholarships. For more information about the Most Valuable Student scholarship program, including eligibility and deadlines, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Chloe Johnson
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient

Middlebury College

Sponsored by Burlington, Vt., Lodge No. 916


Through academics, athletics and community service, Elks scholars are inspiring people all over the country. For Chloe Johnson, she inspires young women in her community to lead full and active lives.

Involved in dance since childhood, Chloe is now a member of the Northern Vermont Ballet Company, where she’s held lead and supporting roles in the company’s ballet performances. She also inspires a love for ballet in children, working as an instructor for the school’s youth ballet classes.

Aside from dance, Chloe inspires young girls to become actively involved in their communities. She founded the Be YourSELF Mentoring Program for elementary and middle school girls to encourage them to lead healthy lives through community service, environmental awareness, leadership and fitness.

Though the program began locally, Chloe hopes to expand and involve other high school and college women in promoting these values to young girls in their communities.

Besides continuing to inspire young girls, Chloe is pursuing a degree in chemistry or mathematics and continue helping others by getting either a graduate degree in physical therapy or becoming a pediatrician.

“Being an Elks scholar means being a leader, both academically and throughout the community,” says Chloe. “Elks scholars are students who actively pursue knowledge and seek to better the world.”

With her ability to inspire others and the assistance of her Elks scholarship, Chloe is poised to better the world, one girl at a time.

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit
www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Casey Boyle
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient  

University of Wisconsin-Madison—Engineering Major

Sponsored by Clarksburg, W. Va., Lodge No. 482


Casey Boyle enjoys being among others who share his dedication to leadership, community service and giving back. As a member of the Elks family, Casey feels right at home.

After years of volunteering to help his community, Casey was selected as a representative for Badger Boys State—a summer leadership program for Wisconsin high school students, focusing on leadership, teamwork and government processes.

Besides learning about the workings of government, Casey was inspired by being with peers who shared the same passions, goals and dedication to community.

“I became aware of the potential impact that a group of young leaders could have within communities, across our state, and potentially in the country,” explains Casey.

As an Elks scholar and member of the Elks family, Casey has again joined a like-minded group of leaders, working to create stronger communities nationwide.

He is excited to continue his lifelong relationship with his Elks family. He regularly participated in the Elks Hoop Shoot growing up and plans to volunteer at a local Hoop Shoot contest soon.

“It was such an honor to have been selected as a Legacy scholarship recipient,” says Casey. “Being an Elks scholar means being a person of the highest character, being a person who reaches out to help build others up, and being a person who fellow students, friends and family can look up to.”

A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Elks National Foundation helps Elks build stronger communities through programs that support youth, serve veterans, and meet needs in areas where Elks live and work. In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation allocated $1 million to fund 250 scholarships for the children and grandchildren of Elks. If you know any Elks children who are high school seniors, encourage them to visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars for information, including eligibility and deadlines.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Seeing Scholars in the Steel City

by ENF Programs Coordinator Ashley Brown



Pittsburgh may be known as the city of bridges and steel, but it could also be known as a city of Elks scholars, many of whom attend the city’s numerous universities.

As this was my first opportunity to travel on behalf of the Elks National Foundation, I was incredibly excited to learn how to best serve our scholars to ensure their scholarships aided them in achieving their educational goals.

Programs Relationship Associate Anne Stretz and I recently visited the Steel City to attend the National Scholarship Providers Association’s annual conference. While we spent the days learning how to best serve and engage our scholars, we were able to spend some time connecting with our Pittsburgh scholars over dinner at a local restaurant.

I was looking forward to putting faces with names and meeting the scholars whose goals we were helping to make possible. It was an amazing opportunity to connect and learn about what they are involved in and their plans for the future.

They ranged from freshmen to seniors and came from multiple universities. Legacy scholar Danielle Richetelli and Most Valuable Student scholar Mark Jordan, who are both freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, spoke about their first few weeks at their new university. Mark was lucky enough to score a spot in the university’s newest dorm, making Danielle a jealous fellow freshman!

Lauren Drumm, a senior Most Valuable Student scholar representing Duquesne University, regaled us with stories of her recent study abroad experience in Iceland, where she hiked up mountains and swam in glacial waters. Back home in New Jersey, her mother was inspired to join the local Elks Lodge (more to follow on that story!).

Several senior scholars who were looking forward to their journeys after college also joined us.

After four years of studying computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon, Most Valuable Student scholar Ian Glasner is looking forward to a career at Google in his home state of California—that is after he makes it through his last few rounds of final exams!

Fellow Carnegie Mellon senior and Emergency Educational Grant recipient Anna Vande Velde enjoys her time studying psychology, accomplishing a high GPA in between working her four part-time jobs. With her senior year in progress, Anna is getting ready to apply to graduate school. She ultimately plans to help people through a doctorate in clinical psychology.

While they attend different colleges, with varying majors, interests, and career aspirations, they all had one thing in common—the support of their Elks family.

Visiting Pittsburgh was an incredible opportunity to see the profound impact ENF scholarships have on the lives of our scholars. With knowledge gained and fond memories of time with my Elks family, I am excited to continue helping Elks build stronger communities, one scholar at a time.

In 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.06 million to fund the ENF scholarship program, which provides college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. Today’s Elks scholars can be tomorrow’s Elks. Be sure to include Elks scholars from your Lodge in Lodge events and service projects. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.