Savannah is our youngest granddaughter. She is five-years old and started Pre-K last August. During her second week in school, she and a new classmate thought it would be fun to stand in their chairs, wave their arms, dance and sing. To make matters worse, it occurred during their lunch period in the school the cafeteria. Their teacher was not amused.
In November, Savannah’s mother received a call from the school informing her Savannah had been chosen “Student of the Month”. Her mother told them they must have the wrong number and hung up. Savannah received her award during a school-wide ceremony. We were, of course, all very proud.
In December, Savannah was displaying some acting-out behavior at home. In an attempt to straighten her up, her mother said, “Savannah, I don’t believe that is how a Student of the Month would act”. To which Savannah replied, “Mama, I was Student of the Month in November…this is December!”.
Like Savannah, Elks Aidmore has had its ups and downs. We have had our Student of the Month moments…and those times when we would rather stand in our chair during lunch. At Elks Aidmore, we have done an outstanding job of building and expanding programs to the meet the needs of Georgia’s most at-risk children, youth and families.
Our most recent annual report had the following highlights:
34 new foster homes recruited
Foster parent retention rate of 95%
21 children and youth adopted
44 children and youth reunited with parents and/or relatives
Staff turnover rate of 5%
Services received by 319 children, youth and families
55,123 days (1,322,952 hours) of services provided
Elks Aidmore named Outstanding Agency by the Georgia Conference on Children and Families
a young man in the Elks Aidmore Therapeutic Foster Care program received the Outstanding Youth Award from the same organization
However, we have not done an equal job of creating a financial infrastructure to support those services. As a result, we have taken several cost-saving measures such as freezing staff salaries, reducing travel, teleconferencing and cancelling convention trips. We are re-evaluating every revenue and expense. We are in the process of finalizing the creation of the Aidmore Charitable Trust, a separate 501c3. The purpose of the Aidmore Charitable Trust will be to raise awareness and increase funding for Elks Aidmore in the communities served the agency. It will be comprised of a combination of Elks and community individuals. The initial Elk members serving on the Board will be Bruce Hayden (Valdosta), President and Secretary; Gina Sweenie (Dalton), Vice-President; and Steve Petrie (Lake Oconee), Treasurer. Rick Eaton (Dalton) will co-serve on the Board with Gina Sweenie.
Teresia and I purchased a garbage can from Wal-Mart in December. It did not fit in the space, and did not have a lid, so we put it in the back of the car to return. We pulled up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and headed into the store. I forgot the garbage can and went back to the car to retrieve it. Teresia headed into the store. As I was standing in line at Customer Service, I received the following text from Teresia. She was concerned the store might refuse to take the item back because it did not have a lid. Please note how changing one letter in a word can change the entire meaning of the message.
“meet you in ladies underwear. If they try telling you it should have a kid…just tell them that’s why we are returning it. We NEVER got a kid in the first place cause we didn’t need one”
I was laughing so hard I could hardly speak. Before I could respond, I received a second notice which read: “on my way to kiss clothing”, followed by a third text stating “they did not have what I needed here anyway”. “Still kissing the clothing?”, I replied. In all fairness, she was not wearing her glasses. The exchange started me thinking about anagrams…rearranging the letters in a word so it has a different meaning. Rearranging the letters in Aidmore, I came up with “I’m a Do’er”. I know that you are “do’er”…in your family, your Lodge or Auxiliary, your community, in your church. Hopefully, all of us believe in the power of Aidmore to transform lives, believe in the power of the Elks to achieve anything they set their minds to achieve, believe in the power of prayer and answers to prayers, and believe in the divine and never-ending power of God to guide and direct us. So, we are asking you to do only one thing for us as we approach this crossroad in the future of Aidmore…be a “doer” and PRAY BIG!