Local Sororities Work To Give

By Joyce Long

Psi Iota Xi Christmas party at Dye's Walk.
Psi Iota Xi Christmas party at Dye’s Walk.

Working to make money isn’t unusual. However, giving it all away is. That’s what makes Psi Iota Xi’s Zeta Epsilon and Tri Kappa’s Zeta Lambda Chapters both unique and busy. Each of these philanthropic sororities has a rich Hoosier heritage of helping local communities.

Psi Iota Xi Logo_resize
Mary Graham
Vice President
Jo Jones
Norma LeMasters
Recording Secretary
Judy Cox
Corresponding Secretary
Tammy Miller
Karen Wilkerson  kwilkerson48@gmail.com

Psi Iota Xi
Founded in 1897 in Muncie by a group of five high school girls and three teachers, Psi Iota Xi was Indiana’s first Greek philanthropic sorority. Its membership’s purpose fostered self-direction and personal growth along with enriching others through philanthropic projects. With 135 chapters in five Midwestern states, its current focus supports the fields of speech and hearing, art, music and literature. The Bargersville/Center Grove chapter began 55 years ago and currently meets the first Tuesday evening of each month excluding July and August.

Treasurer Norma LeMasters has been an active member for 47 of those years, holding all the local offices and serving as the Indiana State President in 2007. “I’ve made lots of good friends and enjoyed working to make money to give away.” Norma estimates this chapter contributes $5,000-$6,000 annually to local needs, including an annual $2,000 scholarship for a Center Grove High School (CGHS) senior who plans further study in the arts, music, literature or speech and hearing.

Karen Wilkerson, a member since June 1977, explains fundraising has transitioned through the years focusing more on volunteer efforts. In 2013, they crocheted plastic bags into mats for the homeless. Each year at the beginning of the school year, members assist Center Grove’s speech and hearing teachers in testing all of the high school’s sophomores.

They also helped Johnson County’s Adult Services sell lemon shake-ups at the county fair. “We enlist the help of our families when we’re doing our volunteer work. It’s a way to model our sorority’s mission to help others less fortunate,” said Karen.

An online search for Psi Iota Xi quickly links to its most popular fundraiser — a recipe for its tasty cheese ball, sold by the hundreds before the holidays. For three days the week before Thanksgiving 2013, Judy Cox and Chris Frampton facilitated the chapter in making 1,200 cheese balls that members sold throughout the community.

From a variety of fundraising efforts, Psi Iota Xi gives to local speech and hearing teachers, purchases books for CGHS from Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Awards and donates to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Paula Downy organizes the flats from Heidenreich Greenhouse for those who ordered
Paula Downy organizes the flats from Heidenreich Greenhouse for those who ordered
 Tri Kappa Logo_resize
Kim Combs
Vice President
Marilyn Combs
Pam Long
Recording Secretary
Cindy Scott
Corresponding Secretary
Judy Irish
Pam Long

Tri Kappa
Founded in 1901, Tri Kappa began with seven girls at Indianapolis’ Girls Classical School. Charter members soon created chapters in their hometowns. Distinctive in that it’s only in Indiana, Tri Kappa now has 140 chapters with approximately 10,000 members. Its mission of promoting “Charity, Culture and Education in Indiana” continues.

Center Grove’s Zeta Lambda Chapter of Tri Kappa began in 1965 gathering in charter members’ homes. Currently the 14 active members meet at Risen Lord Lutheran Church the third Monday of each month excluding July and December.
Carolee Fischer, a member since 1978, enjoys the friendships Tri Kappa offers: “I’ve met some really great women. I’ve never had sisters, so Tri Kappa has provided me lots of sisters through the years.”

With their commitment to philanthropy, Tri Kappa works to raise funds for Riley Hospital for Children including their campership program and Turning Point Domestic Violence Services in Columbus. Other recipients include Hoosier Arts Salon, mental health agencies as well as gifted and talented programs. They also contribute to an Indiana college student fund for those who need to return home quickly for emergencies. Tri Kappa awards a $1,000 scholarship based upon academics and financial need to two CGHS students.

Tri Kappa’s major fundraiser is a spring flower sale with orders taken in March. Heidenreich Greenhouse supplies the spring flats, $12-$14 apiece, and the hanging baskets, $18. Early in the fall, they sell mums for $6. Later in November, the group sells nuts and candy. New this April is their first Coach Purse Bingo at The Gathering Place.

Tri Kappa member Jaclyn Knipe prepares to deliver the flowers
Tri Kappa member Jaclyn Knipe prepares to deliver the flowers

While raising money is vital to philanthropy, Carolee explains, “It’s more rewarding to do something rather than sell.” Treasurer Pam Long agrees and notes the sorority will help with events involving Special Olympics, such as their annual Christmas dinner. In February, they make fleece blankets for Riley Hospital for Children.
The people who come into Tri Kappa are all givers,” said Pam. She estimates that they donate about $8,000 annually. They also use general fund monies to help their members with uninsurable health-related costs, such as trips to out-of-state hospitals.

While the bond of sisterhood within these sororities is strong, their commitment to helping people is even stronger.

Joyce Long, Greenwood Middle School language arts teacher from 1992-2000, has called Center Grove home for the past 25 years. Currently Joyce works as the communications coordinator for Center for Global Impact and is passionate about engaging people to empower the poor.

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