Skip to main content

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 of the Elks. I heard about everything from how their kids were doing in school to how difficult it is sometimes to be a teacher. What may seem like small conversation actually meant so much more to me. These people that I had just encountered for the first time or met very briefly at the National Convention treated me like an old friend that they were catching up with. I thanked God that I am so lucky to have this family behind me.

After chatting for a while, I was given a tour of the Lodge, which ended up being so much larger than I had initially gathered. I learned some amazing tidbits like how the Lodge was the set of quite a few scenes from various movies and music videos and how it was supposedly haunted (which the Exalted Ruler, Mike Gaglio, swears upon). I was even lucky enough to be able to meet some of the Junior Elks, or “Antlers,” that were helping serve us that night.

Following a brief (but extremely delicious) meal, Michele Werbeck, the Scholarship Chair and Past Exalted Ruler, got up and spoke briefly about the origins of the Elks Lodge and the purpose of the Elks National Foundation. She then invited me up to share a little about my experience and explain to some of the high schoolers in attendance the process and stages of applying for the Most Valuable Student Scholarship. When I was finished, Michele presented me with a small gift that honestly meant the world to me. She said it was to express their gratitude for me coming out to their Lodge, but what she didn’t know is how extremely grateful I was to be invited and welcomed in such a hospitable manner.




My experience at the Van Nuys-Reseda Lodge was one that reinforces everything I have been saying about my Elks family since the Leadership Weekend this past April. This supportive community that I was blessed to become a part of is something I cherish every single day. I am so immensely appreciative and proud to be an Elks scholar and a member of the Elks family.


Sarah Jiudice
2015 Top Most Valuable Student Scholarship winner


In 2015-16, the Elks National Foundation appropriated $4.16 million to fund the ENF scholarship program, which provides college scholarships, ensuring a bright future for our nation’s youth. As important parts of the Elks family, Elks scholars have many social and service opportunities to connect with the Elks and each other. For more information about our scholarship programs, and for ways Lodges can get involved with Elks scholars, visit www.elks.org/enf/scholars.

Comments

  1. Sarah is a great person and it is such a pleasure to have the chance to meet and visit with her! We wish her the all of the success she deserves and will achieve!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, Sarah. I'm glad you've been able to connect with your #ElksFamily out there in California. What I'd really like to know, though, is whether you've been able to get through the first few months of your freshman year without breaking any bones. :-)

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Labels

Show more

Popular posts from this blog

What is Zoom?

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation

(This is the first in a series of articles about the need for Lodges to be relevant during the pandemic. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)

Every crisis seems to have its breakout star. This one has two, so far—Dr. Fauci and Zoom.
If you’re not familiar, Zoom is a remote video-conferencing tool with a free basic package. In these days of social distancing and sheltering in place, Zoom is also a godsend. At the O’Kelley household today, we had three concurrent Zoom meetings going on at one point—Meghan, me, and Jane with her Panda Room preschool pals.
In our new teleworking reality, the ENF staff has been using Zoom through Microsoft Teams for check-ins, standing meetings and impromptu discussions. These conferences have helped us stay connected and feel like we’re part of a team despite our isolation.
A couple of weeks ago, I saw on Facebook that Boonton, N.J., Lodge No. 1405 had installed its new c…

Hope in the Time of Coronavirus

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation What a difference a few weeks make. As I’m sure is the case with you, COVID-19 has upended things around here.

I’d like to take a few minutes to update you on how the pandemic has affected our staff and programs. I’ll start with the staff.

On Monday, there were 18 of us in the office. Yesterday, only five. Everyone else is working remotely from home. We’re all communicating with one another using wonderful technology. And the people at home have access to the network via work-issued laptops, as well as their work phones and email. Contacting us should be seamless for you. 

The skeleton crew in the office should shrink to four at some point this week. We are here to deal with the aspects of our work that do not lend themselves to working remotely.

You can help us further reduce our numbers. If you are a Lodge officer or ENF Fundraising Chair who has been sitting on a stack of donations, please send those in today. The faster we c…

See you at the Julebukking

by Jim O'Kelley
Director, Elks National Foundation
(Earlier this week, I started a series of posts on the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation. This is the second post in the series—technically, the series became a series when I posted this. Anyway, read the first post here. To find all posts in the series, click here: #StaySafeBeRelevant.)
Humans have a fundamental need to connect. Scientists, psychologists, therapists, they’ll all tell you the same thing. Our culture may celebrate individualism, but we are wired to be around other people.
How else can you explain the existence of organizations like the Elks? It’s certainly not the dated titles or the jewels of office that go along with them. It’s not the many meetings that demand so much of our time if we want to rise through the ranks. It’s not even the desire to serve our communities.
The Elks have been around for 152 years because people need other people in our lives. Local Lodges satisfy that need.