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.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Finding the Balance

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.


It’s a common notion among college students that we can only pick two of the following three things: academics, extracurriculars, and social life. Here at Penn State, like people at every other university, some pick only extracurriculars and social life, trying to enjoy themselves as much as possible in the four years that we have as undergraduates. On the other hand, some pick only academics and extracurriculars, trying to build a solid resume that will bring them future success. Finally, there are some brave souls who dare to pick all three.

Since coming to college, I’ve had to make some crucial decisions. The amount of in-class hours is significantly less from high school to college. However, the amount of out-of-class studying required is significantly higher.  All of the time in between these two things, however, is up to each individual to delegate to each activity, whether extracurricular or social.

My true passion is dance, and I have joined three dance establishments: Ghaam, the garba-raas team, salsa, and belly dancing. This makes for five practices a week, which keeps me busy and gives me a good outlet from studying. Additionally, I joined the South Asian Student Association in order to meet other Indian people and keep in touch with my culture. With a student base of 40,000 people here at Penn State, meeting people is not at all difficult. Some of my best nights here were spent eating, dancing, and just talking with my floor mates into the early hours of the night (of course, we all regretted this when we were unable to wake up for our 8 a.m. Chem class the next morning).

All the while, as an Elks scholar, I am making a difference in my community and working to fulfill my duties as the freshman representative of the Elks Scholar Advisory Board. I hope all my fellow Elks scholars are enjoying their time in college, finding that balance between academics, extracurriculars, and social life, and staying true to themselves and their roots. So, fellow Elks scholars, how do you find time to balance your academic and social live at school? Post in the comments below to let me know. Until next month!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elks Community Builder


An Elks National Foundation Beacon Grant has helped the Elks find the right balance. Using its Beacon Grant, Blue Springs, Mo., Lodge No. 2509 partnered with a local nursing home to provide fall prevention classes for residents, helping them prevent injuries. For each therapy session, Elks set up the classroom, served as spotters, and assisted the instructor with client evaluations.

Thanks to this beneficial program, residents’ balance has improved, helping them feel safer and steadier in their homes.

“I tested much better at the end of the program than at the initial evaluation,” says one client.

Through Beacon Grants, the Elks National Foundation gives Lodges the opportunity to develop an ongoing, charitable, Elks-driven community project. These $2,000 grants are available to all Lodges. To find out more about Beacon Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Haley Strouf
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Bioengineering Major

Sponsored by Rice Lake, Wis., Lodge No. 1441


“I pride myself on my identity as an active member of my school and community,” says Haley Strouf.

Her numerous involvements from athletics to volunteering allow Haley to develop her identity as a dedicated and passionate individual, an identity she will continue to cultivate in the years ahead.

In high school, Haley honed her leadership skills as the captain of her swimming, gymnastics and track teams, while also serving as vice-president for her senior class and the National Honor Society. Amid her leadership roles, Haley also cultivated a love of helping others, by volunteering as a math tutor and mentoring elementary children.

As she looks forward to her future, Haley plans to continue to stay involved and assist others. After graduating and pursuing graduate school, Haley hopes to become a bio-engineer and design prosthesis, helping those restricted through amputation achieve fuller lives.

Her new identity as an Elks scholar will ensure she achieves her goals with the help of her Elks family.

“Being an Elks scholar is both exciting and meaningful,” says Haley. “My identity as an Elks scholar is a constant reminder of the numerous ways I can benefit others.”

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.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Harrison Williams

2014 Lester and Marion Bacon Most Valuable Student Scholar 

Georgia Institute of Technology—Engineering Major

Sponsored by Springfield, Ill., Lodge No. 158


To excel in athletics, academics and community service, one must be dedicated. At a young age, Harrison Williams learned dedication and discipline through wrestling and translated these values into helping others.

Following in his family’s footsteps, Harrison started wrestling in third grade. Through the encouragement of his coaches, Harrison became a dedicated athlete and eventually became team captain, lettered all four years, and won numerous honors at the state level.

Yet his accomplishments go far beyond the wrestling mat. The discipline, ambition and dedication he learned turned into a commitment to academic excellence and serving his community.

“The impact wrestling had is motivation toward community service,” says Harrison. “Once I realized how many people had helped me, I decided to pass my blessings to the community.”

His service included cleaning up natural disasters, building homes for low-income neighbors, and mentoring children at his church and at-risk youth.

His dedication to excellence and community ensures Harrison is in good company with his Elks family.

“It is an honor to be an Elks scholar,” says Harrison. “It means that I represent the ideals the Elks want to support. I represent what it means to give to the community.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Carly Grimes
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Pomona College—Environmental Analysis Major

Sponsored by Venice-Nokomis, Fla., Lodge No. 1854


Elks scholars have a knack for using their passion to help others. This is certainly true for Carly Grimes, who plans to combine her passion for law and the environment to promote changes in environmental policy.

In high school, Carly volunteered for Teen Court as an attorney, representing teens that had run into trouble with local law enforcement. In addition to improving her public speaking skills and developing a passion for law, Carly served as a positive role model for her peers, encouraging them to make better decisions in the future.

Since middle school she has also volunteered with the Wyland Foundation, engaging communities nationwide in environmental initiatives and educating them on the importance of oceanic preservation. Because of her dedication, Carly was chosen as the first Youth Ambassador for the Planet, speaking to communities about sustainability and organizing hundreds of volunteers and participants at national events.

With her Elks scholarship and her drive to make a difference, Carly will continue to positively impact the world.

“I was very excited to become an Elks scholar,” says Carly. “I know how strong the Elks scholar network is and I am looking forward to engaging with other motivated and talented students devoted to making a difference in their communities.”

After college, Carly will attend law school, pursuing a career in environmental law. With her passion and experience behind her, she is ready to create lasting change.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Jasmine Ford  
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient
 
Gonzaga University—Nursing Major

Sponsored by Tillamook, Ore., Lodge No. 1437

Jasmine Ford has a passion for building community by helping others.

In between varsity track meets and organizing events for National Honor Society in high school, Jasmine found time to give back in countless ways. Every week, she volunteered for her church’s Sunday school, teaching and spending time with community children. She also worked as a soccer referee and as a youth staff member at the local YMCA. In addition, she suffered through bone chilling temperatures in Hope on the Slopes, a day-long ski marathon to benefit cancer research.

“I love giving back to the community through committed volunteer work,” says Jasmine.

As a college student, Jasmine eagerly jumped into volunteering by living in a service-oriented residence hall. In her first week, Jasmine volunteered to help build a hiking trail to benefit the community.

She will continue helping others in her career, with plans to become a nurse practitioner and join an international organization to bring medicine to those in need.

“Being an Elks scholar has highlighted the fact that volunteer work builds community by connecting people and by helping those in need,” says Jasmine. “I am proud to be an Elks scholar.”

We know Jasmine will continue build community wherever she goes!

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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Marisa Pia Kwiatkowski   
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar
Stanford University

Sponsored by Santa Clara, Calif., Lodge No. 2347


After years on the track and field team, Marisa Pia Kwiatkowski can go the distance. Besides her athletic pursuits, Marisa has spent many hours as a swim instructor and lifeguard, teaching children water safety and swimming techniques.

She has also spent time as a tutor and babysitter, all of which has given her a love of working with children. In college, Marisa plans to study education or business management, and plans to work her way from teacher to principal, becoming a force in education policy and improving students’ experiences.

“I hope to make a difference by uniting my community,” says Marisa. “I believe that a united group of people can work toward helping the less fortunate.”

With her passion for helping others and her Elks scholarship, Marisa will be able to help many children through her future endeavors.

“Being an Elks scholar is a true honor,” says Marisa. “I am so very glad that being an Elks scholar will give me access to a greater community.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

On Fireworks and Being a Freshmen

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.

    During this past summer, while the rest of the soon-to-be college freshman were busy hanging out with their friends and enjoying the presence of their families, I was in a small study lounge on my floor, busily typing away Biology notes, speeches, and English essays on my laptop. I attended Penn State’s summer session, a necessary component of my six year premedical-medical program through Jefferson Medical School. This summer introduced me to brand-new experiences. The most memorable of these was the 4th of July weekend.

    On the 4th of July, thousands of people arrived at Beaver Stadium to watch the light display to come. The entire community was abuzz with excitement about this annual celebration. Barbecues and music galore were vital components of the day-long festival. The fireworks themselves were grander than anything I had ever seen before. Coming from the small city of Nashua, NH, all of the fireworks I had seen previously were small and bought at a local store. Sitting in flimsy fold-out chairs with my friends, staring at the beauty lighting up the sky above us, is a memory and feeling I will never forget. Sometimes, it’s important to just let go of the problems we have and stresses we feel, and enjoy the world around us.

    Although I had a blast at Penn State over the summer, there are so many more things to look forward to. Football games, the Color Run, concerts, etc.., but beyond that, deep, meaningful friendships to build. Things are going to be quite different from summer to fall. My small campus of a few thousand students will grow to accommodate 40,000. My 3 classes will become 5. There will be clubs, activities, and events to attend. Over the 6 weeks I was at Penn State for the summer, I learned how to study for college courses and how to manage my time efficiently. The real test begins now, when there are numerous other factors that are thrown into the mix.  Join me in my next post as I fumble through the do’s and don’ts of being a college freshman! I hope all of the other Elks Scholars in our family out there are having a wonderful college experience as well!

Anjithaa Radakrishnan
Elks Scholar Advisory Board Freshman Representative
Pennsylvania State University



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Tanner Snider
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient 

Indiana University - Bloomington—Finance Major

Sponsored by Vincennes, Ind., Lodge No. 291


After working for years on the family farm, Tanner Snider knows the meaning of hard work. Coupled with his business acumen, he will take his work ethic from the barn to the board room, as he prepares to study business and finance this fall.

After college, Tanner hopes to obtain a master’s degree and work in finance before climbing the corporate ladder to become a CEO. 

While his sights are on the future, Tanner knows the importance of serving others and creating a positive impact in his community today. In high school, he founded and led the Down with Depression program to advocate for depression awareness. Through many hours of fundraising and planning, Tanner spoke to thousands of students in his community about the warning signs and effects of depression and the importance of suicide prevention.

Through continued advocacy in college and beyond, Tanner hopes to bring awareness and break down the stigma surrounding depression. You can read more about his advocacy efforts in his own words here.

Thanks to his Legacy Award, Tanner is looking forward to a bright future as a businessman with a mission to help others.

“Becoming a member of the Elks family is important to me,” says Tanner. “Being recognized for my service, commitment, and patriotism is a true blessing, and I cannot thank the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks enough.”

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars


 Tara Chattoraj
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar 
 
University of Chicago—Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry Major

Sponsored by Wheaton, Ill., Lodge No. 2258


“Since my synapses first began to form, I have wanted not only to amass knowledge, but to create it,” says Tara Chattoraj.

Her involvements throughout high school allowed her to learn, create, and share her knowledge with others.

Tara, who is interested in a career in medical physics, advanced her knowledge as an intern at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. She built modules to help regulate the accelerator, worked in physics labs, and programmed solar panels. In addition, she has also published numerous articles in textbooks and literary magazines.

She is passionate about sharing her knowledge with others. In her free time, she tutors children at a local shelter, assists students with test preparation, teaches the violin, and works as a karate instructor at a martial arts studio, where she is a second degree black belt.

“Being an Elks scholar, excellent in academics and service, is just a stepping stone to a greater future,” says Tara. “We are the ones who can cure cancer, who can land on Mars, who can write the great American novel. We will be the ones to change the world.”

Thanks to her passion for learning and sharing her knowledge, Tara is an Elks scholar who will change the world.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Laura Chelgren
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient
George Washington University—Political Science Major

Sponsored by Punxsutawney, Pa., Lodge No. 301

Elks scholars have a myriad of interests, which they pursue with passion on their journey from high school to college and beyond. For Laura Chelgren, her journey is taking her from the local theater stage onto the world stage, as she pursues a career in politics and an interest in travel.

In high school Laura was involved with her high school’s drama club and volunteered regularly with local theater companies. Besides serving as an officer for drama club, Laura created rehearsal schedules, helped with props and costumes, and helped cast members learn their lines. She also held the lead roles in several plays with community theaters.

After years on the theater stage, Laura is looking forward to expanding her horizons by traveling through Greece and Italy this summer, after traveling through Australia and New Zealand the previous year. Her international travels have sparked an interest in studying cultures and political science, which will allow her to serve others through a career in government.

“I am always striving to make positive differences in the lives of others and I am extremely grateful that being an Elks scholar will allow me to do that,” says Laura.

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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Meet the ENF Staff

Bill Donnelly
Development Coordinator 

Bill is collecting Elks pins from every state!
Help him fill in his map by sending him your state's pin.
How long have you worked at the ENF?
One month.

What projects are you/your department working on right now?

I am currently being trained, working on a variety of different projects and learning everything I can about the ENF.

What’s your favorite part of working at the ENF?

Coming in everyday and being able to work with my friends.

Describe your average day at the ENF.
I spend a good amount of time answering phones and emails, and the rest of it in trainings and meetings. I learn something new here every single day.

What are you looking forward to this summer?

This summer is going to be filled with BBQ’s, concerts, festivals and beach trips.

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?

I love to play lacrosse.

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Benjamin Franklin. He was one of the smartest men, and one of the most important men in United States history. I would be fascinated to pick his brain.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Alison Masson
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Washington and Lee University—Political Science Major

Sponsored by Sussex, N.J., Lodge No. 2288


Being leaders in both academics and service is natural for Elks scholars. For Alison Masson, her leadership is bound together with her commitment to humanitarian initiatives and community service.

Besides being active in 4-H and mock trial, Alison found time to be the president of her school’s chapter of Pass It Along, a community organization that serves those in need in northern New Jersey. As president, she organized events to bring Christmas gifts and cheer to local children.

Alison’s experience with service and leadership led her to participate in Camp Rising Sun, an international program for students to learn about themselves and other cultures, and hone their skills as leaders dedicated to service. The following summer, she became a mentor, organizing programs, providing feedback, and encouraging girls as they learned leadership skills rooted in service to others.

After obtaining her degree, Alison plans to attend law school, and hopes to become involved in public service.

“Being an Elks scholar means becoming a part of an organization that is committed to my success,” says Alison. “I am so incredibly grateful that the Elks believe in me, my work and my potential.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elks Community Builder of the Week

Jerome, Ariz., Lodge No. 1361


Jeans? $13. T-shirt? $7. Gym shoes? $14. Providing clothes for youth in need? Priceless.

Using an Elks National Foundation Promise Grant, Jerome, Ariz., Lodge No. 1361 took 26 local students back-to-school shopping. The Lodge partnered with teachers in the community to determine which students would most benefit from new school clothes, and then they were off to the store! Elks shopped with the students to buy what they needed—from socks to dresses.

“The students ranged from 4-years-old to 14-years-old,” says Community Investments Program Project Manager Janet Leuer. “They were all very excited to have new clothes to start school.”

Interested in serving local youth in need? Don’t wait to apply for a Promise Grant! These $2,000 grants are going quickly—fewer than half are still available! Click here for full Promise Grant details, including access to the online application.

Elks are committed to America’s future. To build the character and competence of local youth, the Elks National Foundation awards $2,000 Promise Grants to the first 500 Lodges that pledge to host an eligible youth event. To find out more about Promise Grants and the Community Investments Program, visit www.elks.org/enf/community.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meet the ENF Staff

Christine Robinson
Donor Services Assistant

How long have you worked at the ENF?
I’ve worked at the ENF for four months.

What projects are you/your department working on right now?
Donor Services is busy processing donations. I’m running the individual cumulative recognition process this week. Every donor who has met a new level of giving will be receiving their recognition—either a pin or a pin and certificate—in the mail within the next two weeks. 

What’s your favorite part of working at the ENF?
I love the chances I get to interact with Elks—helping donors who may need a replacement pin, assisting ENF Fundraising Chairs who have questions about how to submit names with remittances, and seeing just how generous the Elks are. I started in March, and was blown away by the generosity of the Elks. I thoroughly enjoy sending out the monthly recognition.

Describe your average day at the ENF.
My day always starts with a cup of coffee. Then it depends on the day. If it is a Monday, I print out of the acknowledgment letters. I work on processing donations, either through a CLMS remittance import or manually. 

What are you looking forward to this summer?
This is my first summer living in Chicago and I’ve already had the chance to experience so much. I went to a Blake Shelton concert at Wrigley Field, enjoyed the beaches of Lake Michigan, and have gone to all of the street fests this city has to offer. 

What’s one thing about you that might surprise people?
People might be surprised to know that I am fascinated with weather! One of my favorite classes in college was Severe and Hazardous Weather.
    
Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Lisa Kudrow

Monday, July 28, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Xavier Shiu   
2014 Legacy Awards Recipient
Case Western Reserve University—Biomedical Engineering Major
Sponsored by Sioux City, Iowa, Lodge No. 112


Empowering others to believe in themselves is a goal of Xavier Shiu. He achieved this by incorporating his love of science into community service.

An integral part of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Youth Advisory Board, Xavier helps plan science lectures and summer activities for hundreds of under-served students, promoting an interest in health and science careers.

Xavier also developed and coordinated an outdoor exercise program for neighborhood children, to keep them active by making exercise fun and helping them build friendships.

“They never wanted to go in for the evening,” he remembers.

Xavier is looking forward to his studies and plans to use his education to help advance the field of mechanical medical devices, such as surgical robots to help improve the impact of medicine.

“Being an Elks scholar makes me feel like there are others who see me as more than a test score,” says Xavier. “They feel that investing in me will make this world a better place. I am proud to say I am an Elks scholar.”

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.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Victoria Crynes
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Arizona State University—Global Politics with Pre-Law Major

Sponsored by Sapulpa, Okla., Lodge No. 1118


Elks scholars know the importance of helping their local communities. They also know it’s important to be responsible global citizens. For Victoria Crynes, both come naturally.

In high school, Victoria sent care packages to soldiers stationed overseas, spent many hours tutoring students, and developed educational curriculum on college readiness for at-risk youth. These college-prep workshops aimed to minimize the student dropout rate and earned Victoria a Girl Scout Gold Award.

In addition to her community service, Victoria cultivated an interest in politics and other cultures by hosting foreign exchange students, spending time on political campaigns, and shadowing judges and corporate attorneys to learn more about the legal profession. She plans to combine these interests in a future career as an international lawyer and then an ambassador for the United States.

“The most important part about being an Elks scholar is the opportunity to continue my service to my community and my nation,” says Victoria. “Being an Elks scholar enables me to make a difference in many communities.” 

Watch Victoria's thank you video to the Elks National Foundation here.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Double your Gift. Strengthen your Community.

If you could double your gift to the ENF without personally giving twice as much, would you do it?  With more than 19,000 companies offering a matching gift program, there’s a good chance you could double the impact of your donation by requesting a matching gift through your employer. To learn more about matching gifts, we asked Donor Services Associate Jon Flaherty to answer some frequently asked questions about company-sponsored matching gift programs.  Here’s what he had to say.

Q. What is a matching gift?
    A.  It’s when an employer will match a donation dollar-for-dollar to an organization.

Q. What is a volunteer grant?
    A. It’s when a company will match volunteer hours with a check to the ENF. When employees volunteer at the Lodge, they record their hours volunteered and turn them into their employer. Then, their company matches the time volunteered by writing a check to the ENF.

Q. How do I know if my employer does matching gifts?
    A. There are several ways to find out.  The easiest way to check is by using our online database to see if your company sponsors a matching gift program. Search now! Your Lodge’s ENF Fundraising Chair also has a printed copy of companies who participate in workplace giving. Ask him or her if your company is on the list. Or you can always check with your HR department.

Q. How do I start the matching gift or volunteer grant process?
    A. Simply donate to the ENF, and let your employer know. After your company confirms that we received the monetary donation or volunteer hours, it will write a check to the ENF to match the donation. Some companies even allow spouses or retirees to participate in the matching gift program! 

Q. How do I send in my donation?  
    A. You can donate to the ENF as you normally would, either through your Lodge or by sending the donation directly to our office. Read through your company’s matching gift guidelines beforehand, and follow the instructions for requesting a matching gift.  Some employers will ask you to send the matching gift form to us with your donation, while other companies will ask you to submit the matching gift request online.

Q. Will my Lodge get credit for my company’s contribution?

    A. Yes.  Any matching gift or volunteer grant sent from your company will count towards your Lodge’s per member-giving total, and it will count toward your personal recognition total too.

Q. Who do I contact at the ENF with questions about matching gifts?

    A. I’d love to hear from you! Contact me, Jon Flaherty, at JonF@elks.org or 773/755-4862.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars


Rohit Gupta
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar

Rice University—Biochemistry and Cell Biology Major

Sponsored by Englewood, Colo., Lodge No. 2122


Mentor. Advocate. Leader. These words only begin to describe Rohit Gupta’s high school involvement. As a freshman, he started a nonprofit tutoring program to provide free educational services to underserved youth in his community. In the last four years, he has taught hundreds of students from pre-school to college, helping them build a foundation in math, reading and writing.

In addition to providing face-to-face educational support, he also developed educational apps. Downloaded by over 20,000 people worldwide, the free apps provide personal assistance and additional guidance to students.

“I am focused on making students positive and independent self-learners,” says Rohit.

Besides advancing educational resources for countless learners, Rohit has found time to pursue his interest in medicine, assisting hospital staff and advocating for better treatment of mental health at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

“Being an Elks scholar has truly helped me in reaching my goal of attending a top university,” says Rohit. “It has also given me further motivation to continue my efforts in bettering my community and reaching my dreams.”

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meet the Class of 2014 Elks Scholars

Kayleigh Arcos
2014 Most Valuable Student Scholar


Georgetown University—International Business and Relations Major

Sponsored by San Antonio, Texas, Lodge No. 216

Kayleigh Arcos is a young woman with vision. As a leader in the Hispanic community, Kayleigh was selected as a 2012 High School Latino Leader for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where she promoted Latino involvement in politics and leadership with other Latino youth.

Inspired by her experience, she interned at Communities In Schools of San Antonio, where she helped low-income children improve socially and academically in school through fun and educational projects.

These experiences, coupled with a desire to combat stereotypes and promote education, have motivated Kayleigh to help others through charitable acts and community projects.

“Being an Elks scholar means being a role model for change and opportunity,” says Kayleigh. “We are symbols of hope and passion who have excelled not only in the classroom, but throughout our community.”

With her passion and vision, Kayleigh will ensure real change in her communities at home, in college and beyond.

For 2014-15, the Elks National Foundation 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.