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No end to Magnolia Society's good work

Posted: Wednesday, Jan 14th, 2009

MONTE VISTA — The Magnolia Society members aren’t just parts of a club, they are cogs in a system that constantly works to help others.

As members of a ladies civic organization founded more than 117 years ago, they remember their past and plan for tomorrow.

The Magnolia Society was founded in October 2002 and joined the nationwide General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) the following January.

Since its inception, the local club has raised $108,867.05 to give back to the community.

President Christy Brady points out that, as members of the nationwide General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), she and the other club women not only work to help their own community, but the San Luis Valley as a whole.

Christy notes that the Magnolia Society is one of a few GFWC groups that holds an annual fundraiser.

This year’s fundraiser is planned April 4 at the Inn of the Rio Grande and proceeds will be given to San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (SLVRMC). Persons who have suffered heart attacks currently must travel outside the Valley for treatment, travel that isn’t reimbursed and represents costly, lengthy time away from home.

Tickets are on sale from any Magnolia Society member and donation of items for the live and silent auctions would be appreciated.

The focus on keeping Valley residents close to home for essential medical care is a goal for the Magnolia Society.

One of their biggest donations came in the form of a Neoprobe Gamma Detection System for the Stephanie L. Miner Imaging Center at San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center (SLVRMC) in Alamosa, helping to minimize the side effects of cancer treatment and allowing patients to receive services in the Valley that they formerly had to travel to bigger cities to obtain.

Christy said the Stephanie L. Miner project was a $5,000 national award winner and the money went into making calendars to sell and increase the Hope Fund, which will provide financial resources for women who can’t afford mammograms, offering the opportunity for every woman to be tested, no matter what their finances are.

The beautifully designed calendars are available around the Valley and tell the stories of cancer survivors treated at SLVRMC.

Look for them at the SLVRMC gift shop, Narrow Gauge Bookstore, Alamosa State Bank and San Luis Valley Federal Bank in Alamosa, The Petal’er and Curves in Monte Vista and Elk Ridge Framing and Del Norte Federal in Del Norte, or from any Magnolia Society member.

Club members have also raised funds for the Challenge Colorado Therapeutic Riding Program for disabled children, covering insurance that would allow independent operation and give the program the ability to treat a wider range of needs and ages.

Magnolia Society members also have donated Evacu-Splint systems and thermal blankets to local ambulance crews. The air-filled backboard systems are invaluable during patient transport, since they are not only comfortable, but can help prevent further injuries from a bumpy ambulance ride.

Funds have gone to several community parks, Girl Scouts, Valley Humane League, several families in need, Red Cross, Fast Friends, the Monte Vista Police Department, La Puente, Tu Casa, After Prom, the food banks, the American Cancer Society and more.

A sizable donation has also been made to the 2-1-1 Colorado campaign to help establish a 2-1-1 system in the San Luis Valley, offering free access to health and human services information referral, making a critical connection between persons and families in need and appropriate organizations and services in their communities.

In addition, the Magnolia Society funds two $1,000 scholarships each year for outstanding students at area high schools

All this, in addition to running households, holding jobs, volunteering and working as professional women.

Members include Brady, Arnell McClellan, vice president; Brandy Myers, secretary; Debbie Garcia, treasurer; Tracey Upton, historian; and members Candice Hennigh, Laurie Ckark, Nikki Gunther, Cary Mitchell, Roxann Sittler, Loretta Lowder, Dixie Ballard, Michelle Burkhart, Jan Harrison, Sandie Varner, Nancy Nash and Sara Gilbert.

For information, to donate items, purchase tickets or buy calendars, call Christy at 852-5731 or 580-6667.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is a unifying force, bringing together local women’s clubs from around the country and throughout the world. Although there is considerable diversity in the ages, interests, and experiences of GFWC clubwomen, all are united by a dedication to community improvement through volunteer service.

Accomplishments during GFWC’s first century include establishing 75 percent of the country’s public libraries, developing kindergartens in the public schools, and working for food and drug regulation.

GFWC clubwomen are true volunteers in action—in 2006, members raised nearly $32 million on behalf of more than 230,000 projects, and volunteered more than 8.4 million hours in the communities where they live and work.

More than 100,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state and more than a dozen countries work in their own communities to support the arts, preserve natural resources, advance education, promote healthy lifestyles, encourage civic involvement and work toward world peace and understanding.

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