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Florida Elks News Online

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District Reporter: Courtney Weil, PER

St. Petersburg Lodge Presents $1,500 Scholarships to Two Students

1224 May scholarships

On May 14, St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 awarded two $1,500 scholarships to Tyre Hill who will be attending UCF and Julia Finster who will be attending Notre Dame. Each student made remarks during the lodge presentation evening. Pictured with Tyre and Julia is PER Cathy Shriver.


Elementary Schools Receive Supplies from St. Petersburg Lodge

           1224 Azalea 1224 Westgate

In the hustle and bustle of nabbing deals and buying new clothes for the new school year, an often overlooked reality is that many kids are without the basic back-to-school necessities such as pens and pencils, notebooks, crayons, handwriting paper, watercolors, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, highlighters, plastic supply boxes, dividers, tissues, hand sanitizer and gallon-sized zip-top bags. To help give children the tools they need to succeed, St. Petersburg Lodge and its members donated supplies that were distributed to two neighboring schools, Azalea Elementary and Westgate Elementary. Each school received over $300 worth of school supplies which will go to teachers and students. Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber, said, “We know there are several families in these schools that have unfortunate financial needs and we just want to give the kids a good start. Something as simple as having school supplies really helps to make sure our kids are happy as they start the new school year.”

Yaritza Ramos, Family/Community Liaison, accepts school supply donations for Azalea Elementary from St. Petersburg Lodge from member Debby Schmid and Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber.

Fifth-grade teacher Tara McClintick is pictured with St. Petersburg Lodge members Debby Schmid and Dawn Elaine Lieber as they deliver school supplies from the lodge to Westgate Elementary.


St. Petersburg Lodge Donates Pool Use to Dive Care

1224 Dive Care

St. Petersburg Lodge has been donating the use of their pool on a monthly basis to Dive Care, a nonprofit Florida corporation. Dive Care is comprised of a group of certified scuba diving instructors and dive buddies who teach prospective divers and dive instructors. Their programs are available to any child, adult or veteran with a disability with the intention of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to each person.


St. Petersburg Lodge Donates Pool Use to Dive Care

1224 Dive Care

St. Petersburg Lodge has been donating the use of their pool on a monthly basis to Dive Care, a nonprofit Florida corporation. Dive Care is comprised of a group of certified scuba diving instructors and dive buddies who teach prospective divers and dive instructors. Their programs are available to any child, adult or veteran with a disability with the intention of providing both physical and psychological therapeutic value to each person.


St. Petersburg Donates Uniforms to MycroSchool Pinellas

1224 mycro

On Aug. 4, St. Petersburg Lodge raised $500 for MYcroSchool Pinellas to help with uniform shirt expenses for their students. MYcroSchools are charter high schools in Florida that are tuition-free. MYcroSchool offers flexible schedules so students can work at their own pace and finish high school under any situation. Their small class sizes allow teachers to focus on students who need help the most. This individual attention ensures students are not left behind and finish high school on time. Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber, said, “It feels great to lend a helping hand so that students can concentrate on school when it starts next week and not be worrying about uniform shirt expenses.”

1224 Mycro: Pictured at the donation presentation from St. Petersburg Lodge to MycroSchool Pinellas Aug. 4 are Dawn Elaine Lieber, Exalted Ruler, and lodge members Traci Cain Steen and PER George Povelitis.


Sallie House Residents Receive Christmas-in-July Gifts from St. Petersburg Lodge

        1224 Sallie elves 1224 Sallie gifts

On July 30, St. Petersburg Elks were busy delivering their Christmas-in-July gifts to 19 children at Sallie House. Head elf and Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber, received a Christmas wish list from the kids that she was thrilled to fulfill. At a value of $400, the children were each given an outfit, undergarments, scented hand sanitizer, body lotion and body spray. Sallie House is a safe haven for children ages infant to 17 who have been removed from their home because of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

Exalted Ruler, Dawn Elaine Lieber; Lecturing Knight, Sharon Literski; PDD Toni Goodrich; Inner Guard, Jeannie Sninchack; and Jan Durbin Giallourakis delivered Christmas-in-July gifts to children staying at Sallie House July 30.


Jukebox Bingo Fundraiser held at St. Petersburg Lodge for Music Sweet Music Inc.

1224 MSM Augjpg

St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 donated the use of its hall (a $500 value) to Music Sweet Music Inc. (MSM), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps children and adults with disabilities reach none-musical goals such as speech, hand-eye coordination, and increase of range of motion as well as assisting with many other disabilities and disorders by contract board-certified music therapists. The chair for the event was St. Petersburg Lodge member May Graci who also volunteers with MSM. The fundraiser was a jukebox bingo that lasted two hours with attendees winning donated prizes each time their musical bingo card won. Lodge member Kat Chaplin donated a handmade quilt. Over 110 people attended the event and over $2,000 was raised.

Pictured at the Music Sweet Music fundraiser held at St. Petersburg Lodge are Nuala Cunard, 2nd Vice President of Music Sweet Music Inc.; Theodore Wagner, President and founder; and May Graci, chairman and volunteer for the event.


Easter Baskets Donated to The Sanderlin Center by St. Petersburg Elks

St. Petersburg Lodge donated 25 Easter baskets to The Sanderlin Center, a nonprofit agency located in south St. Petersburg, Fla. The center’s focus areas are family, education, arts, economics, employment, positive values, and health and wellness. The Easter baskets were put together with a wide variety of holiday candies, stuffed animals and other items to be inclusive of the different age groups serviced at the agency, including teens.


Gala of Hope Guest Speakers Sponsored by St. Petersburg Lodge

1224 Delaney and Geneva at Gala

The PER Association of St. Petersburg Elks Lodge #1224 sponsored and purchased the tickets for the attendance of Geneva Hall and Delaney Hall to the Harry-Anna Trust Unmasking Autism Gala of Hope April 13. The event was held at the Carillon Hilton in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Spectrum Bay News 9 morning anchor Erica Riggins was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Geneva Hall has been a member of St. Petersburg Lodge and a very active volunteer since 2005. She is Delaney’s mother and Delaney has Asperger syndrome. Asperger syndrome is a condition considered to be a high-functioning form of autism. Delaney was 17.5 years old when she was officially diagnosed with this syndrome, a journey that started for Geneva when Delaney was 14 months old.

Geneva was honored to speak about autism, her journey and Florida Elk Charities at the gala. When Delaney was a sixth-grader, Geneva no longer had the financial security or the insurance to cover Delaney’s therapies for her developmental delay. In 2007, Geneva remembered the video she saw during her initiation two years before – the Elks have a physical therapy program! Geneva inquired at her lodge if she could receive these services for her daughter. After a few phone calls, Delaney was enrolled, and the Florida Elks Children’s Therapy Services therapist Larry Lester came to their house according to Geneva’s time and schedule as a single working mom. Delaney completed the program and by the end was much more confident in her physical self. This service allowed Delaney to continue to have her much-needed speech therapy and eased the financial burden that Geneva had to carry. 

Delaney also spoke at the gala: “The experience enabled me to have the confidence to decide to compete in bocce, bowling and basketball skills for Special Olympics. Today I am proud to be an Athlete Leader for Special Olympics. I have two jobs – as an administrative assistant and I have autism. More and more children are diagnosed with autism and educating you about inclusion is important. My mom always gives me positive thoughts, and this is one of my favorites. It’s not what you go through in life. It’s how you react to it.”


Tampa Lodge uses Impact Grant to Purchase Laptops for Students

708 laptops

For the fourth year, Tampa Lodge received a $5,000 Elks National Foundation Impact Grant. This year, they used this grant to provide 20 new laptops to be utilized in Ms. Chowning’s classroom by the members of Club Chivalry for Success who don’t have technology available at home. These computers will be used for the mandatory online class requirement and to research and apply for scholarships as well as for everyday schoolwork.

Tampa Lodge members Tony Marino, Patty Jankiewicz, Rita Smith (program director), Christopher Ragusa, Bonnie Atwood, Nikki Murphy, Bob Suhrheinrich, and Jacqui LoCicero (front left) present laptops to Club Chivalry school sponsor, Kristina Chowning.


Tampa Lodge Treats Teens to Fun-filled Day Out

 708 fun day 1 708 fun day 2

Using part of the Elks National Foundation Promise Grant, Tampa Elks Lodge #708 treated 16 teens to a day of fun that included a boat trip around Tampa Bay, lunch at a restaurant and playing video games. Inner Guard Taylor Taylor planned the day and the teens were invited to help found Tampa's Antler Club. The event was open to all the kids the lodge had a connection with and the lodge was able to take all who were interested. The teens were from local Tampa Bay middle and high schools including homeschooled students. They included campers that the lodge had sponsored and kids who had attended lodge events such as the back-to-school party and Christmas party.

                                                          708 fun day 3


Seminole Elks Holds Instrument Drive for SOHF

2519 SOHF

Seminole Elks Lodge #2519 held their first West Central Florida Spirit of Harmony Foundation instrument drive at the lodge. Their mission is to provide opportunities for personal development and self-expression through the support of music and music education. The event brought in approximately 60 attendees and a multitude of instruments were donated.


Louisiana State Legislature Increases New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax

The Legislature of the State of Louisiana has acted to increase the New Orleans Hotel Occupancy Tax from 13% to 14.75% effective April 1, 2014. This will affect our convention room rates and they will go from $128.56 to $130.52 per night.

Convention Attendees With ADA Transportation Needs Urged To Contact Grand Lodge

In order for the Grand Lodge to support the transportation needs of attendees with disabilities you are urged to contact the Grand Lodge if you require special assistance. Special coaches capable of kneeling to accommodate wheel chairs will be placed along the routes for those in need. If you require assistance please contact Tina or Jessica at the Grand Lodge as follows:


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