Avon Tri Kappa Members Forge Friendships and Help the Community
Writer / Jamie Hergott
Avon Tri Kappa embodies the idea of women supporting and empowering each other in order to bring light, community, and a helping hand to others in Hendricks County. There are 55 active members, and together they take Tri Kappa’s mission very seriously.
Tri Kappa’s mission statement runs as follows: “The object of this organization shall be to bring women into close, unselfish relationship for the promotion of charity, culture, and education.”
Avon Tri Kappa President Stacy Archer makes sure the group adheres to this mission every year.
“We focus on targeting each one of those every year with different organizations in the community,” Archer says. “It’s a sisterhood. It’s the forming of friendships that become like family, and it’s amazing to be able to work together to give that back to the community.”
Avon Tri Kappa is one of 246 Indiana Tri Kappa chapters – the largest Greek organization in the entire United States. Tri Kappa was founded in 1901 at the Indianapolis Classical School for Girls, and since then the statewide organization has grown to 7,725 members.
The Avon chapter was founded in 2006 to bring more assistance to the growing needs of Avon, Washington Township, and Hendricks County as a whole. The chapter was sponsored by Brownsburg Tri Kappa and Plainfield Tri Kappa, so even its inception was the result of unity among women in Hendricks County.
The Avon chapter started with 23 members and now has 55 active members. Susan Webb, a member and past president, has been involved since the chapter’s inception and is passionate about its causes.
She views the chapter as an incubator, where its members develop strong leadership skills through serving as officers, organizing various member functions, and helping with fundraising projects. Webb is proud of each and every member.
The chapter has been involved with many of the county’s nonprofit organizations. They have adopted multiple families through Family Promise, adopting 10 of them this past December. Archer says these simple acts speak volumes to younger generations.
“My daughter is 10, and she dropped off some things too,” Archer says. “It’s so good for her to see the presents lined up, to see a need, to see it so organized, and be able to teach her it’s good to give back to the community.”
The chapter also organizes drives for the Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry, volunteers with the Avon-Washington Township Public Library, sponsors the ‘Trunk or Treat’ event at Washington Township Park, and has even organized a drive for Embracing Abilities, an organization that offers family-directed services for individuals with special health care needs through a family partnership model. Avon Tri Kappa was able to provide them with needed materials and supplies for their summer camps. Local animal shelters have directly benefited from the chapter’s efforts to support local nonprofits.
The group has also supported Sheltering Wings, Light and Life Food Pantry, Kingsway Community Care Center (now known as Hope Healthcare Services), Indianapolis Institute for Families, Stepping Stones, and Mental Health America of Hendricks County.
The group supports local civic organizations, focusing on preserving art and culture. They’ve been involved with the Hendricks Civic Theater, the Hendricks County Art Council, The Biz Academy of Musical Theatre, and the Avon-Washington Township Library.
The chapter also supports education through the Avon Community School Corporation, Avon Education Foundation, Business Professionals of America, and Hendricks College Network. They support gifted and talented programs, as well as special education programs. They offer scholarships each year totaling between $3,000 and $4,000.
One particular scholarship, the Rachel Sigler Memorial Scholarship, was named for a Tri Kappa member who passed away suddenly, leaving behind four children. Sigler had been very involved with theater, music and the community in general, and chapter members wanted to leave a legacy in her name.
That legacy is something the chapter members are passionate about, as they also have an endowment fund set up. This endowment allows the gifts of Avon Tri Kappa to live on years after current members have gone.
Lisa Dulcich-Suyeyasu, an active member of the Avon chapter and a Chapters & Charters Committee member for Province XI, says the chapter endeavors to distribute their efforts evenly between charity, culture and education. In fact, her own involvement stemmed from a community service project.
In 2007, Avon Tri Kappa organized a gift-wrapping station at Metropolis in Plainfield, staffing a table to wrap gifts from Black Friday until the week before Christmas. Dulcich-Suyeyasu worked at Metropolis at the time, and was approached by Webb to pass out flyers about the gift-wrapping station.
“Four months later, I got an invitation in the mail for Avon Tri Kappa,” Dulcich-Suyeyasu says. “The bond I have with these ladies now is amazing. They’re truly lifelong friends.”
One of Avon Tri Kappa’s largest events is their Bingo function, which usually takes place twice each year at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds. The chapter has given away more than $75,000 of their fundraising dollars through Bingo. Before the COVID pandemic, the largest attendance number they had was 502. Last year during COVID they had 165, with social distancing and masks. They play 10 games per event, and it’s for men and women aged 18 and over. There are giveaways for gift baskets, 50/50 raffles, and purse prizes for the winners.
“People were just so happy to be doing something,” Dulcich-Suyeyasu says.
Archer, Webb and Dulcich-Suyeyasu all have friendships, as well as a sense of purpose and belonging, and they attribute this to their involvement with Avon Tri kappa. Archer says it has instilled confidence in her.
“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be president,” Archer says. “It’s gotten me up in front of people speaking, which is tough for me, and given me such a sense of confidence and well-being.”
Much of 2021 is still being determined, as the chapter waits to see how COVID will affect their plans. Their fifteenth anniversary is this year, and members hope to be able to celebrate in person with the community and also hold their annual Bingo event.
“We’re just going to keep giving back,” Archer says. “That’s our main purpose. We are going to do what we’re doing now plus more. Every year we want to keep growing, and getting that footprint even larger to really spread out what we can do for the community. It’s been amazing to get to know so many amazing women, form friendships, and do all these great things together with the community. We have so much fun with even the simplest things. We help the community and really brighten people’s day.”