Skip to main content

Elks Family Dinner

By Programs Assistant Brianne Menges

I have a confession to make: I don’t really listen to country music. It’s not that I don’t like it; I’m just more of a Glee fan myself. So after landing in the country music capital of Nashville, Tenn., I was a little apprehensive about how much I would have in common with everyone there.

Thankfully, our dissimilarities began and ended with our taste in music.

Assistant Director Debbie Kahler Doles and I recently traveled to Nashville to attend the National Scholarship Providers Association’s annual conference. While taking a break from various informational sessions, we were able to meet with some local Elks and Elks scholars for dinner.

In the months leading up to our trip, this dinner is what I had been looking forward to the most. After working for the ENF for two years, this was going to be my first opportunity to meet Elks and Elks scholars in person. I couldn’t wait!

For me, this was a chance to put faces with names, and meet the people who make our work possible and those who benefit from our programs.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, Tennessee State Veteran’s Chair Dalton Jordan, and Tennessee State Scholarship Chair Jim Birdsong and his wife, Paulette, were already waiting for us. My first Elks!

While we waited for our other guests to arrive, we had the chance to talk. I heard about the various projects my new friends were doing at their Lodges and throughout Tennessee. It was amazing to hear all of the outreach projects going on in their communities. These Elks are doing impressive things!

As our Elks scholars began arriving and introducing themselves, it was wonderful to see such a variety of backgrounds, from an alumna working on her Ph.D., to freshmen experiencing their first midterms. They were all excited to meet the Elks who helped make their scholarships possible; for many of them, this was their first time meeting Elks too.

It was such a joy to not only meet the Elks and Elks scholars, but to see them meet each other and swap stories of their times in school. That night, we were all members of the Elks family hanging out and sharing a meal. 

And like most families, we ate a little, we laughed a lot, and we have very different taste in music.

The Elks National Foundation provides more than $3.6 million in college scholarships each year. For more information about our scholarship programs, including eligibility and deadlines, please visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Meaghan's First Month

by Meaghan Morris
Lodge Grants Program Coordinator

Hello! My name is Meaghan, and I am thrilled to be the new Programs Coordinator in the Community Investments Program office.
I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2015. Since then, I’ve jetted around peripatetically, travelling to 46 states and 24 countries, and living in Western Massachusetts, Boston, and the mountains of rural Wyoming.  I moved to Chicago in 2016, and the Cubs won the World Series a little while later. I attribute my move as the main catalyst for the breaking of the Curse of the Billy Goat, so, you’re welcome for that, Cubs fans!
I joined the ENF during its busiest time of the year. I started working in the CIP office one day after grant applications opened for the new year, and our office was inundated with hundreds of grant applications in that first week alone. On top of the busyness in our office, Fundraising, Communications, Hoop Shoot and Scholarships were excitedly (yet gracefully!) preparin…

Katie Gets Acquainted with the ENF

by Katie Graves
Lodge Grants Programs Coordinator
Hello! My name is Katie Graves, and I am excited to be one of the new Programs Coordinators in the Community Investments Program office.

I graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in English and Secondary Education with a minor in Social Work in December 2018. I spent the next six months building and growing my small online vintage clothing business, working retail at a Swedish furniture store (any guesses?), and searching for a purposeful job that I could fall in love with that would also allow me to move from southeastern Wisconsin to Chicago. When I landed the Programs Coordinator position at the Elks National Foundation, I was ecstatic to begin this journey both professionally and personally. I was moving to my dream city, and I was going to be doing a job with purpose focused on helping passionate groups of wonderful Elks do good in their communities with CIP grants.

I became a part of the ENF family at an exciting time of…

For the Love of Nonprofits

by Nathan Kriha
Donor Services Coordinator
One of the most consistent passions in my life has been a love for nonprofits—especially ones that focus on education and the development of impoverished communities. This love can be traced all the way back to my high school days when my mother (quite forcibly) suggested I teach a kindergarten religious education course with her.
After my introductory class, I thought that this decision would easily be one of the biggest regrets of my life: The children would scream, cry, launch their crayons into space, tear up their books, and cry a little more. While I was initially stunned by this preliminary lesson, I witnessed my mother corral these angsty students and gradually create a heartwarming and quite soothing environment. At this moment I realized the true influence that a teacher can have on their students, and I became captivated with the study of successful teaching methods.
This interest persisted into my coursework at the University of Not…