30 May 15

Introduction from Randy:

There are so many great organizatons who make choices to have a positive difference. As blindness arrived unexpectedly to my life so too did the realization of how many  positive connections it would help create. Such people and groups rarely receive enough attention for their kindness and choices. I hope to help a little this week and I think you too may be moved and maybe even help them along the path…

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On a cold winter night in 1873, Anna Boyd Ellington, Mary Comfort Leonard, and Eva Webb Dodd created their “club of mutual helpfulness”. This club has grown to an organization of more than 200,000 members, including this one, dedicated to fulfilling Anna, Mary, and Eva’s original motto to “Do Good”.

Around 60 years later, the idea of doing good took on a new form when Ruth Billow, a Delta Gamma who was blind, asked our membership to adopt sight conservation and aide to the blind as our international philanthropy. Many things about Delta Gamma have changed over the years, but our dedication to Service for Sight has not.

I began to take our philanthropy to heart while I was a collegian at DePauw, and even more so now in my career as Development Specialist for the Delta Gamma Foundation, where I am fortunate enough to work with several amazing groups every day.

The Delta Gamma Foundation is extremely proud of the partnerships we have been able to create with both the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) and the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI). This year, Delta Gamma sponsored two marathon experiences for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through these organizations.

These partnerships have allowed me to meet some outstanding people, both Delta Gammas and non-Delta Gammas. One such non-Delta Gamma is Randy Pierce, who I first met in Sacramento for the National Marathon Championships and saw again in Boston this spring.

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon

Vaungaylyn and Dave after completing their half of the California International Marathon.

Our partnership with USABA also provided the opportunity for a Delta Gamma alumna, Vaungaylyn, to run in the marathon as a sighted guide for a U.S. Navy Veteran. Vaungaylyn registered her run through the Delta Gamma Foundation’s Anchor Run for the Blind program, which allows Delta Gammas to raise funds for veterans with visual impairments through fundraising runs all across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to sponsorship support, Delta Gammas provided more than 100 hours of service for the USABA’s National Marathon Championships in December, and more than 200 for MABVI’s Team With A Vision in Boston.

Not only do our members strive to “Do Good” by providing service, but they also raise awareness and funds through the Delta Gamma Foundation. Last year, we provided more than $200,000 dollars to 32 organizations all over the U.S. and Canada that aid the blind or visually impaired.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist and Laura
O’Brien, Director: Advisers at the Race Expo in Boston.

Through these marathons, Delta Gammas have been able to establish meaningful, continuous service opportunities to aid the blind or visually impaired communities in their areas. I’ve also learned a lot along these journeys, too. I’ve learned about being brave, and trusting others. I’ve learned that something as small as serving a family dinner or walking new friends back from a pizza party can make a big difference for them, and for you.

We receive a lot of thanks for participating as sponsors and volunteers throughout the weekend, but really we should be thanking the athletes and organizations with which we work. Thank you for the opportunity to meet and serve such inspiring athletes. Thank you for showing us that disability does not mean inability. Thank you for showing us that you can have vision without sight. Thank you for inspiring and motivating us to “Do Good”.

Lee Deadwyler, Development Specialist
Delta Gamma Foundation

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