LaPorte Service League has community activities mapped out for 86th season

Officers for LaPorte Service League’s 86th year gathered at the organization’s recent kickoff meeting. From left they are: Co-treasurer Kathy Sommer; Historian Donna Wagner; Past President / Historian Beth Mann; Vice President Sandy Young, Recording Secretary Marsha Barr, Corresponding Secretary Astrid Nunn, Hours Chairman Emily Rees, and President Deb Ault. (Not pictured, co-treasurer Whitney Mann and Advisor Julie Pitman.)

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LaPorte Service League is in full swing of providing numerous volunteer services and cultural activities to benefit the community as it enters its 86th season.

The League is an independent women’s organization that seeks to enrich the LaPorte area with community assistance programs, youth outreach and the arts. Members donate at least 50 hours of volunteer time each year in the organization’s many projects, where they wear trademark pink shirts. Last year the membership contributed more than 4,700 hours, which averaged above 100 hours per member.

Currently, the League supports the schools with tutoring sessions at Handley Elementary School, eye screenings for LaPorte and South Central elementary students, and provides handmade fleece blankets for children who need comfort in stressful circumstances.

In February, the organization will again visit LaPorte Community School Corporation preschool classrooms. Preschoolers will receive dental health kits and instruction on preventive care from the “Tooth Fairy,” tied in to the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” program.

LaPorte Service League also is well known for its long history of bringing live theater to county students. Pending determination of a performance location, the annual school play for area schoolchildren, “The Bully and Ben,” will focus on bullying. It was written by League member Kathy Sommer, and will feature members as actors, set builders, costumers, and tech crew. Annually, 3,000-5,000 students are reached with this cultural enrichment activity that embraces a strong social message.

President Deb Ault said, “The play is just one of many wonderful projects that LaPorte Service League is pleased to bring to our community, in support of the arts and education.”

Other recent League artistic endeavors have included working summer concessions for Arts in the Park and offering free face painting and pumpkin decoration at the Sunflower Fair. The organization also presented a fun skit for children and their families during the Oct. 19 Lights Out at the Library event, and ushered for the LaPorte Symphony Orchestra’s Oct. 10 children’s concert.

Additional ongoing projects include Meals on Wheels deliveries, bell ringing and cooking meals for the Salvation Army, sponsoring a Christmas family, and purchasing diapers for the Women’s Care Center.

The League also holds occasional fundraisers to help provide scholarships and recognition to local students, including:

— The LaPorte Service League Scholarship, which is awarded to a high school senior who plans to major in theater, music, radio or TV direction or production, communications or a related fine arts field.

— The Kitty Wolf Scholarship, which honors dedication to the arts with a plan to continue pursuing this goal in college.

— The Diane Bamberth Scholarship, given to an individual who emulates a spirit of volunteering in our community and who plans to major in a fine arts field.

— The John “Jack” Whitted Memorial Scholarship, which supports a LaPorte High School senior who has experience in and is planning a college major in engineering, architecture, construction management, building trades or theater arts.

— The Frances M. Rumely Memorial Award of Excellence, awarded to a senior woman who ranks top among the members of her class in all-around qualities, including intellectual ability; steadfastness of character; capacity for leadership; and distinguished service to school and community.

For more information about the LaPorte Service League and its activities, visit laporteserviceleague.com and the organization’s Facebook page.

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