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Showing posts from November, 2015

Overdoing Grit?

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation
Early last summer, my mother-in-law, who watches the kids two days a week, took Patrick, the 3-year-old, to a reading at our local library. While there, Pack (that's what we call him) did something to earn her praise. Admittedly, that's not hard. She is a grandmother. Nevertheless, she was impressed and showed it by saying, "Good job!" That simple, seemingly innocuous phrase earned the instructor's condemnation. The woman swooped in, her finger wagging. "You shouldn't tell a child 'good job,'" she chastised. "It sets them up for a lifetime of seeking affirmation and praise." "Well, then what am I supposed to say?" asked my incredulous mother-in-law. "You should say, 'You worked hard, and you did it,'" the woman answered. We all had a good laugh later that day when my mother-in-law recounted the story. A funny thing happened when I started pra…

Gratitude on the Mind

by Development Assistant
Valerie Moore
Thanksgiving is later this week, and like many of you I have gratitude on the mind. I am starting week number seven as the new Development Assistant for the Elks National Foundation. I feel grateful to have chosen to work in the nonprofit sector as this is one small way to improve my corner of the world. The ENF believes in building stronger communities which matches with my personal values so well. The desire to work for a nonprofit took me to Chicago in 2005 to enroll in a master’s degree program geared towards making the performing arts end of the sector better. As luck would have it, my courses taught me how to make all ends better. It taught me how to create functional organizations that also happen to be values-driven. I started working in development in 2007 with the intention to stay. The recession had other plans, and I spent some time in the special events end of fundraising, planning six galas, and creating other platforms for stewar…

Green Light Don't Mean Stop

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation
Wondering where you can buy a green light to show your support for veterans? My guess is you can find one at WalMart...which is the primary sponsor of the Green Light a Vet project. Cue Soul Asylum. "How on Earth did I get so jaded?" I don't mean to sound cynical, especially at this time of year. There's always a lot of extra attention for vets around Veterans Day and the holidays. That's not a bad thing. And the folks at WalMart, well, they need to make a buck, too, right? (Okay, that was snarky.) But seriously, as a member and employee of an organization for which every day is Veterans Day, I welcome the extra attention. Frankly, we can use the help. And if a green light makes a vet feel appreciated or helps to ease the often difficult transition to civilian life, then those are good things. Plus, a lot of younger vets are uncomfortable with ostentatious displays of appreciation. By turning on a green…

Stand Down, For What?

Jocelyn Moya
ENF Programs Assistant
Stand down for veterans, that’s what! For those of you who are unfamiliar, a stand down is an event where community organizations come together for one or several days to provide supplies and services to homeless veterans. Stand downs vary from place to place but often include items such as clothing, food, basic necessities, and services or referrals to services such as medical treatment, housing, or job training. You can find a list of some of the stand downs happening across the country here, www.va.gov/homeless/events.asp. On Tuesday, I—alongside my Elks Family—was lucky enough to take part in one of these great events.
I had never participated in a stand down before so I had no idea what to expect. I was honestly imagining a much smaller event with about a 1/3 of the number of people. When we walked in at 11:00 a.m. the Humboldt Park Armory was packed full of veterans waiting to receive supplies and services. I spoke to several veterans who to…

A Family from Coast to Coast

by Sarah Jiudice
2015 Top Most Valuable Student Scholarship winner
One thing about being an Elks scholar that I always emphasize is the tremendous family that I have obtained. I felt it when the New York State Scholarship Chair contacted me and matched my excitement in advancing to another round. I felt it when I met 19 other scholars who shared my values during the MVS Leadership Weekend last April in Chicago. I felt it when I looked at the audience at the Elks National Convention last July in Indianapolis. I felt it when I checked my inbox and saw that I still get messages from fellow scholars and representatives. Most recently, I felt it when I stepped into the Van Nuys-Reseda, Calif., Lodge No. 2790 in October, after moving across the country to attend UCLA.

My aunt and I walked into the Lodge and were immediately greeted with smiles. I was able to meet even more members of this giant family that I recently became a part of, each with their own stories and motives to be a part o…

The Elks Scholar Fellow October Countdown

by Maryann Slater
Elks Scholar Fellow
- 59 Scholars, 5 Meet-Ups, 4 States and 1 board of Inspirational Quotes I had the opportunity to connect with 59 Elks scholars, attend 5 Meet-Ups, and travel to 4 different states in October as the Elks Scholar Fellow. From a site visit to Oakland, California in preparation for the Winter 2016 Elks Scholar Service Trip to the National Scholarship Providers Association Conference (NSPA) in Charleston, South Carolina, my travels provided me with wonderful opportunities to learn so much that I will be able to implement on the Elks Scholar Service Trips. I have an inspiration board at my desk (it’s actually a sheet of paper that I add post-its to), but I like to write down quotes that help me to remember the person I’m trying to become and why I’m doing what I’m doing each day. Many of them come from Simon Sinek’s daily “Notes to Inspire” emails that you can sign up for here. Sinek is a speaker and author famous for his TedTalk and book both titl…

The Nitty-Gritty on 
My Sister's Footsteps

by Jim O'Kelley, Director
Elks National Foundation
And with the final episode of the six-part #TrueGritTuesdays series, we come full circle. Sort of. We started with the younger sibling of a former champion, and we end the same way, although with a different pair of siblings.
Alex Robertson is walking in his sister's footsteps, and her shoes are huge. Taylor won it all not once but twice--in 2012 and 2013. In those two years, her final two years of eligibility, she hit 49 out of 50 regulation shots and all 10 of her shoot-off attempts. She was perfect in 2012 and won the Getty Powell Award that year as the best-shooting girl overall. (The other featured sibling champion, Kiera Holcer, edged her out for Getty Powell honors in 2013 with an infamous perfect score of her own.)

It takes a family to raise a free throw shooter. Here, Alex gets pointers from his mother, Terri, during a practice session at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club. The entire series has been about grit an…