"Fundraising for children in need is our passion, but our raison d'etre is to build relationships among women," says Beta Sigma Phi Sorority - Alpha Upsilon Chapter member Meghan Haehn. The sorority is over 75 years of age and reaches across the world. The Fort Frances chapter has several groups, Haehn's is the 20-30 something age range. "Many of us have children or are teachers, so working to improve their lives and fill a gap in our community was a logical step for us," says Haehn.
When the Beta Sigma Phi heard about the Living Planet Community, they knew it would be popular with their members. "Everyone is trying to be environmentally aware and some of us run environmental clubs in our schools," says Haehn. "Joining the Living Planet Community is a great motivator for us."
"The Living Planet Community also lets us see what other groups are doing, which is a good jumping off point," says Haehn. The Sorority has plans to incorporate the environment in their monthly programs next year. They're considering holding meetings by candlelight, inviting a speaker from their farmer's market and all walking to a meeting. Meghan continues, "when we read the monthly statistics at our meetings, everyone is a little more aware of how their daily decisions can have a positive impact on our environment."
These women are all goal-oriented achievers. Over the last few years they have helped to raise $15,000 dollars to build a Sway Fun swing for children with disabilities. Located in the Lions Club Park, the swing can seat up to 12 people, two in wheelchairs. They have also fundraised for a unique stroller for a local child with special needs, "It's a terrific benefit to all the children because it lets everyone join in and play together," says Haehn.
They run a popular photo contest fundraiser at the Bass Tournament every summer, at Halloween and Valentine's Day. Right now, they're organizing a huge garage sale which will raise money and awareness of re-using.
One of their members, a teacher, helped her elementary school children promote and distribute rain barrels to their school families. "Whenever we can, we try to link our projects to environmental messaging - it reflects our own increasing awareness," says Haehn.
"Joining the Living Planet Community is a really positive step," says Haehn. "We're all taking steps to promote sustainability such as using our local farmer's market, hanging our laundry on the line, not using air conditioning. Being able to quantify our efforts by measuring the GHG savings in the site, will really encourage all of us to keep moving forward."