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Style Magazine

Epsilon Chi Chapter

Jun 29, 2012 05:00AM ● By Style

Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

Someone once said, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.”

These words ring true for doctors, lawyers, chefs, bus drivers and yes, even writers. We have all been influenced and motivated by teachers. True to their calling, many teachers continue to inspire long after they have left the classroom.

The members of the Epsilon Chi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International (DKG) are such a group. Comprised of female educators from throughout El Dorado County, the organization works to provide scholarships and grants for continuing education. Although many of its 43 members are retired, a good number of current teachers are also among the ranks.

Epsilon Chi proudly observed its golden anniversary in 2011 – celebrating 50 years of supporting literacy and education needs in El Dorado County. Now, full attention is on 2012 and future efforts. “This year, Epsilon Chi is providing scholarships for continuing education to two deserving women,” says Jeanine Henderson-Hodges, a 28-year member currently serving as co-president of the Chapter (she has held every office except treasurer). These $500 grants are given to non-members pursuing a career in education or continuing advancement in education, such as teachers, instructional aides, librarians or educational administrators. “We are also granting $500 to the Sugarloaf Foundation, as we do each year,” Hodges says. “Clara Neilsen, the founder of Sugarloaf is an honorary member of Epsilon Chi.” Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp is located in Pollock Pines at the Sly Park Environmental Education Center.

Another local grant is carried out by the LIFE (Learning Is For Everyone) Foundation, an arm of DKG that grants money for literacy projects in California. As Hodges explains, LIFE will award 25 grants throughout the state this year. “A grant of $1,000 will go to the Birthday Buddies Project (Cool Charities 501c) to purchase books for Birthday Buddies Bags,” she says. “Families in the Georgetown Divide area who are unable to afford a birthday party for their preschoolers may receive a “Birthday Bag” with cake mix, frosting, candles, favors and a book.”

The Epsilon Chi Chapter of El Dorado County is active in the state organization, Chi State, which in turn is part of the International Society. DKG has more than 95,000 members in 17-member countries around the world. Several of Epsilon Chi’s members serve at the state level, such as Robin Kelley, who currently serves as Chi State area VI director. In June 2012, Donna Fleischer stepped down as co-president (but continues as corresponding secretary), and Peggy Cecchettini joined Hodges at the president’s podium.

Earlier this year, Hodges, Kelley and Fleischer attended a Chi State leadership retreat in southern California; next year’s event will be held in Sacramento. “The purpose of the retreat is to help every woman in Chi State see the potential in herself to lead,” Hodges says. “Not just to lead a Chapter, but to inspire others in many aspects of life itself.”

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