Remember reading in June about the Oamaru Altrusa club winning a national award for its literacy programmes? It has now earned an international award.
Club president Helen Newlands and Altrusa District 15 Board governor-elect for 2017-19 Maria MacKay were at the recent Altrusa International convention in Nashville, Tennessee, where Oamaru was vying for the Letha H. Brown award, named after the former Altrusa International president who introduced literacy as a major emphasis for the women’s service organisation.
Before the placegetters were announced, information about them was read out to the 654 delegates. Mrs Newlands said her mouth dropped open when she recognised the text.
“I thought it sounds awfully familiar, but it can’t be.”
It was. Oamaru was second-equal.
“It was a bit of a thrill,” Mrs Newlands said. “We’re pretty pleased.”
Oamaru Altrusa presented its literacy endeavours in a document called “Words Work”, outlining how it ran a series of initiatives in September and October last year catering for five age groups.
All babies born at Oamaru Hospital in September were given a book. Preschoolers benefited from Altrusa’s centennial campaign to have each club donate 100 books to their community; more than 100 were given to North Otago kindergartens and playcentres.
At the primary school level, Altrusa members covered 700 library books at Oamaru North School. The secondary school contribution entailed revamping application forms for the annual scholarships Altrusa offers to Waitaki Girls’ High School and St Kevin’s College.
The club said the projects involved 95% of club members and about 800 people benefited.