Members of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Sisterhood from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia (P.E.O.) have spent 10 years getting ready for its 64th convention, which is being held at the Baltimore Convention Center next Wednesday through Sept. 11.
The convention's organizers say they expect almost 4,000 women to attend. Members of the 125 P.E.O. chapters in the area have been preparing to show them a great time.
The sisterhood began in 1869 as a pact among seven friends attending Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Their mission was to promote continuing education for women. As they invited others to join, the group expanded in size and geographic reach.
P.E.O.'s officers, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, selected Baltimore as the convention site in 1989 and asked Brenda Hurst of Arlington, Va., and Elizabeth Edwards of Glen Burnie to oversee the planning. They have directed an army of volunteers who have baked, decorated and thought up special touches to make the convention memorable.
Members from the Severna Park and Annapolis P.E.O. chapters will be at Baltimore-Washington International Airport to greet visiting members. Volunteers also will serve as hostesses at the five convention hotels and the convention center. Barb Novak of Severna Park is in charge of making sure that there are enough volunteers at each hotel during breakfast. Other volunteers will coordinate tours to sights in the area.
Central County civic organizations donate more than time and energy to their community; they donate money. Fund-raising events such as the Kiwanis Club of Severna Park's fall apple sale and the Severn River Lions Club's winter citrus sales generate thousands of dollars that are returned to the community.
The Kiwanis Club recently received a thank-you letter from Barbara Birkinhauer, director of the Community Center at Woods, for the club's gift of $8,000 to the center's youth program. Kiwanians also donated $750 to Partners In Care to honor its efforts with the elderly and disabled, and to commemorate the opening of its new office in the Benfield Village Shopping Center.
In addition to the citrus sale fund-raiser, the Lions Club recently gave three area high school graduates $1,000 scholarships that are renewable if each student maintains good academic standing.
The Severna Park Optimist Club has collected $2,265 to fund its 3-year-old scholarship foundation. "We intend to award the first college scholarship in the spring of 2000," said John Donohue, the club's president.
For Kiwanis information: 410-647-8361. For Optimist Club information, write Severna Park Optimist Club, P.O. Box 342, Severna Park, 21146. For information about the Lions Club, call Joe Early, 410-647-4761.