From Altrusa Beverly Mueller, Treasurer; Sharon Knapp, President; Angel Golesorkhi, Member and Susan Leonard, Secretary (past President).
Altrusa International of San Buenaventura, Inc. has been a service organization here in Ventura since 1948. It was founded in 1917 and just celebrated 100 years. The focus of their founder, Mamie L. Bass, was literacy; however, Altrusa has also supported and donated many volunteer hours to other endeavors to better our community.
Altrusa is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization where all their services, scholarships and fund-raising projects go to the local community. Altrusa is an acronym. Amity – Loyalty – Talent – Reciprocity – Unity – Service – Achievement.
On Oct. 17, four amazing Altrusa ladies delivered a car load of school supplies to the East side’s Westpark and to Anita Diaz. Even though they purchased most of the supplies at a discounted rate, Altrusa still had to pay for them.
Members have been involved in projects for women and men in transitional houses, supported Family to Family in supplying meals to folks who need them, participated in Make a Difference Day, volunteering at the Veterans Home to keep their library in order, make books available to the teens of Santa Paula through the Teen Scene Program at Blanchard Community Library, have read to students on “Cat in the Hat” Day and other projects over the years.
Altrusa International has clubs in eight countries. Altrusa’s mission statement is ”Our country is as great as we, it’s citizens make it. Therefore, we pledge our loyalty to its ideas and its endeavors for the welfare of mankind. We strive to fulfill our civic obligations.”
Altrusa offers to the business and professional people of the community an opportunity to touch each other’s lives and be broadened by an interchange of interests and by a sympathetic consideration of the viewpoints of others. They are always seeking volunteers (and contributions).
Regarding their relationship with Westpark, Susan Leonard stated, “Our partnership with Westpark has existed for nearly twenty years. We started our relationship at the request of one of our members, Margot Martin. Margot was a strong volunteer force in the City of Ventura and was famous for recruiting our club to join her on her journey. The club started our support of the children of Westpark by donating school supplies. Children need “tools” to learn, so this project was a good fit of our club. A few years ago our members gained the renowned title of “the pencil ladies”. Since then we have made other contributions as needed to help the center grow under the direction of Anita Diaz. We have seen the wonderful development and transformations that have taken place over the years. It has been our pleasure to be a small part of this positive place for children.”
About 70 PEAK kids formed a single line as they entered the gym to accept the supplies. As they passed by the row of adults welcoming them, they shook the hands of each (with a few hugs thrown it). PEAK is an after-school partnership that includes the City of Ventura Department of Parks & Recreation, Ventura Unified School District and Ventura Police Activities League (PAL). PEAK was formed in 2002 to develop and implement an inclusive after school program for elementary and middle school children to provide a safe and supervised after-school education, enrichment and recreation programs for students.
Coordinator Anita Diaz told the Breeze, “Altrusa has become very special to Westpark’s after school program. Their support of providing after school homework and art supplies has allowed our children to have materials needed for them to do homework and creative projects. In addition to school supplies, Altrusa has also donated money to our scholarship fund which helps us provide for youths who may not be able to afford some of our sports and camp programs. Altrusa has been a part of Westpark for nearly 20 years and their unselfish support of providing for our children cannot be measured.”