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Scholars Serve in Seattle

  By Lauren Chen, Most Valuable Student Scholar A few weeks ago, I attended my second Elks Scholar Service Trip, this time in Seattle! I had an awesome experience at the 2021 Summer Service Trip in Boston, so I was super excited to explore Seattle and serve with my fellow Elks scholars. Our first service site was Immanuel Community Services. ICS runs multiple programs, including a Food Bank, a Hygiene Center where people can wash their clothes or take a shower, a Recovery Program that provides shelter to men overcoming addiction, and a monthly Community Lunch that offers a hot meal to anyone who is hungry. With these programs, they reach over 1,700 people every month! That morning, we helped reorganize the freezer, hand out food, clean the van and facilities, and melt more than 300 pounds of expired ice cream down the drain. I was in awe of how diverse ICS’s programs were and how many people they help in the Seattle community. Our second service site was Jubilee Women’s Center, which
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Finding a Place in the #ElksFamily

by Aleah Hahn, Most Valuable Student Scholar Aleah Hahn received a second place Most Valuable Student scholarship in 2018. She graduated from Michigan State University in 2021 with degrees in Biosystem Engineering and German. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Marine Resource Management at Oregon State. In her free time, she likes to cycle, forage and hike. Over my spring break I was able to partake in the 2022 Spring Elks Scholar Service Trip in Chicago! In 2018, I attended the 150 for 150 Service Trip in San Antonio, where we celebrated the Elks 150th anniversary through service. Both were amazing experiences to serve in the name of the Elks. They were alike but also different in many ways.  In San Antonio, I connected with Elks state leadership from my home state of Michigan since the trip was at the Elks National Convention!  I served with 149 other scholars and met many of them. It was a great opportunity to connect with other scholars. The majority of our service was at Haven

Where has the SAB Bean? Chicago!

by Colleen Conrad, Scholarships Manager The Elks Scholar Advisory Board (SAB) is a group of Elks scholars—current and alumni—who advise the ENF on its scholar relation efforts. When I presented the idea of getting together in Chicago for our first in-person Scholar Advisory Board meeting in two years, I was prepared for some trepidation. It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench in traveling and gathering for everyone, and finding time during the busy fall semester for our scholars is always difficult. However, the response I received from our SAB was an overwhelming, enthusiastic “yes!”  That enthusiasm never dissipated throughout our whirlwind SAB weekend together at the start of November. Eight of the 10 2021-22 SAB members visited the Elks National Memorial and Headquarters, participated in some fun bonding activities, explored Chicago, and of course, put in some real work during the day-long board meeting. “While I’ve never been to an in-person SAB me

Aiming to Impact

by Shiv Patel Shiv Patel is a 2018 Most Valuable Student Scholar and 2021 Weigel Medical School Scholarship recipient. He recently graduated from Northwestern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in data science. He now attends medical school at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. I recently returned from the Elks Scholar Service Trip in Chicago, where I had the opportunity to engage in community service alongside nine other Elks scholars. While I had taken part in several other service experiences in the past, including a past Elks Scholar Service Trip, my time on this trip was unparalleled. Since being awarded the Most Valuable Student Scholarship during my senior year of high school, I have recognized the Elks as an organization dedicated to service. Shortly after receiving the scholarship, I had the opportunity to take part in the Elks 150 for 150 weekend in San Antonio, Texas. There, I was constantly engaged in dialogue abou

Making a Difference from a Distance

by Lydia Smeltz, 2017 Legacy Scholar Last year, I had the opportunity to work with Raleigh, N.C., Lodge No. 735 on their USO Holiday Snack Bag Project as part of the 2019 Cornerstone Grant . The Raleigh Elks have worked with the USO to provide snack bags for troops traveling through the Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport during the holidays for the past five years.  By organizing this event, the Raleigh Elks support the service men and women during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I formed relationships with the Raleigh Elks, who have become a second family to me over the past four years. When I reached out to them to express my interest in applying for the 2020 Cornerstone Grant and assisting with this event for a second year, they were overjoyed. They explained that funding was down due to COVID and that the grant would alleviate a financial burden while allowing us to serve our community. Thanks to the Cornerstone Grant, we were able to continue this tradition for both holida

Staying Connected During COVID-19

 by Maryann Dernlan, 2011 Legacy Scholar and former ENF staff member As a member of Metuchen, N.J., Lodge No. 1914, a 2011 Legacy Scholar, and a former Elks National Foundation staff member, I thought all of my new Elkdom experiences were in the books. From volunteering with my parents at their Elks Lodges while growing up, to running Elks Scholar Service Trips and attending National Conventions, I have a plethora of Elks experiences. But COVID-19 brought a new opportunity to reconnect with Elkdom. My mom, who has been the Scholarship Coordinator at the Metuchen Lodge for many years, asked me if I’d like to join the Scholarship Committee this year. In a “normal,” non-COVID time, this probably wouldn’t have seemed like an option—typically, she would try to get those who attend meetings in person and volunteer in person to join the committee. She has struggled to get new volunteers in recent years and has done the judging on her own.  However, with the new-and-improved online jud

Scary Spooky Scholars

 by Grace Roebuck, Elks Scholar Fellow  Grace at the 2016 MVS Leadership Weekend You know, when I first heard about the Elks Lodge, I just thought it was a restaurant in my town with a really bopping bingo night. Little did I know, bingo nights like those would soon be the reason I attended the college of my dreams debt-free and recently accepted a dream job, even after graduating into a pandemic-ravaged world. While I’ve enjoyed every experience I’ve had with my Elks Family, I have to say my love for the Elks really boils down to the scholars I’ve met and connected with throughout the years. In my new role as the Elks Scholar Fellow, I’m tasked with figuring out how to adapt to our new virtual world, which is sadly devoid of scholar service trips. In their place, thanks to the help of our scholars and the ENF, I’ve started to organize events for our Elks scholars to convene and have fun together. In my favorite event so far, our Spooky Scholar Halloween Party, we had scholars j

What Steph Curry Said

by Makenna Cannon Youth Programs Coordinator, Elks National Foundation Over the past three months, I’ve attended happy hours, birthday parties, game nights, and house warmings, all from the comfort of my couch. Virtual get-togethers have become the new normal. We’re searching for ways to spend time together while not actually being together. To stay connected, we’ve gotten creative. A few weeks back, I attended my first virtual conference hosted by the Jr. NBA. I livestreamed discussions and speakers by Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry and Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. Surgeon General. Topics ranged from team building to coaching strategy, but the central theme that carried through was engagement: How do we stay engaged and connected with teammates, friends and family? And, why is it important to do so? For All-Star Steph Curry, engagement looks like virtual all-team workouts twice a week, plus checking in with teammates on FaceTime. Returning to the gam

An Instinct for Caring

by Claire Schnucker Donor Services Coordinator, Elks National Foundation Back in November, I wrote these two sentences:             “I know for certain that the Elks will continue to care about communities.”                         “Hope is a perfect impetus for success.” They were written for a blog post about my review of our mid-year numbers. The ENF closed the 2019-20 fiscal year on March 31 st . Next week, I will present our final numbers for last year. I work in the Donor Services department. We process every donation to the ENF. By mid-March, all of us were working from home. Just like organizations across the nation, the ENF had to completely rethink processes that had been used for decades. In times of great upheaval, everyone has to do their part to listen, reinvent and collaborate. In March, the ENF was able to do just that. Claire presents her analysis of the ENF's mid-year numbers to fellow staff members . Normally when I sit down to look

Are We Having Fun Yet?

by Jim O'Kelley Director, Elks National Foundation (This is the fifth in a series of posts about the need for Lodges to stay relevant during this time of isolation.  To find all posts in the series, click here:  #StaySafeBeRelevant .) Many of us have been mostly staying at home for two months now, which begs the question, “Are we having fun yet?” In answering that question, I can’t speak for everyone, but after crashing one of their virtual happy hours, I can speak confidently for the folks at Ferndale, Michigan, Lodge No. 1588. That crew is having a ball. Ferndale is a suburb of about 20,000 people, just across the Eight Mile from Detroit. A bedroom community in the 1920s and ’30s, Ferndale boomed along with the auto industry in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In fact, today, it still derives its nickname from a catchy 1960s advertising campaign that caught: Fashionable Ferndale. Sarah Ignash leads the T-Rex Walking Club to fame, if not fortune. As the economy wen

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