Friday, June 5, 2009

Do You Know P.E.O.?

Last weekend I attended the 116th annual convention of the Missouri State Chapter of P.E.O. as the delegate for my beloved Chapter FA. (FA is for FABULOUS!) The little red wagon was a table centerpiece, which I happily purchased for my girls - although they aren't allowed to play with it until after I give my report on the convention to the chapter at our next meeting. The weekend was informative and energizing, and it reminded me of exactly why I love my chapter and my P.E.O. so very much.

You may be wondering what P.E.O. is. Chances are, you know many P.E.O.'s, but don't really know what our organization is about, or what it does. That's not entirely by accident. Until fairly recently, P.E.O. was considered a 'secret' society. However, over the last several years P.E.O. International has really been encouraging us to share the good news about our sisterhood. There are, after all, only three things that must be kept secret...and NO, I'm not about to spill the beans on them!

So what exactly is P.E.O.?

Simply put, P.E.O. is a philanthropic organization which supports higher education for women. Our sisterhood was founded in 1869 by seven women at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa who were annoyed because two of them had been turned down by the sorority. (What's the phrase about well-behaved women and the history books?) They wanted to build an organization that welcomed all....and they certainly succeeded in that goal. Over the years P.E.O. has grown from a small friendship society to an International organization with approximately a quarter of a million members in the United States and Canada which supports five main projects.

Our projects are:
  1. P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) - need-based scholarships to women who's college education has been interupted.
  2. P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund (ELF) - very low interest rate loans available to women seeking their post-graduate education.
  3. P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Fund (IPS) - scholarships to assist international women in seeking their education in the US, with the caviat that they are to return home to use that education.
  4. P.E.O. Scholar Awards - merit-based scholarships for post-graduate work. (Trust me, these women are brilliant.)
  5. Cottey College - a private tw0-year women's college, located here in Missouri. Would you believe that a trip to Europe is included in their second year at no additional cost? 10-1 student-teacher ratios, an executive chef and full transference to other schools are all among the perks.

You can find more information about our projects and about our sisterhood at P.E.O. Internationale's website. Also, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions...or just find a P.E.O. to ask! Chances are, she'd love to talk about it!

And thank you for letting me get on my soapbox today!

5 comments:

Shelda said...

Thanks for explaining that! I had wondered about it. Now I know, and it sounds like a great group.

margene said...

Several of my friends are involved in P.E.O chapters. They are very involved around the SLC area. One friends husband said PEO stood for "Phone Each Other". ;-)

A Day That is Dessert said...

I've been wondering about the details of P.E.O. - thank you for the information! Sounds like a great cause.

Paula said...

You have described P.E.O. very well! I am getting ready for tomorrow's meeting. Our convention delegate is giving her report. I didn't get to go to convention this year because it coincided with our vacation which had to take place before summer classes start at the University.

Nann said...

What a great post! You explained our Sisterhood so well.

I remember when P.E.O.'s existence was semi-secret. I am so glad that the Big Daisies are promoting extensive outreach with the "It's Okay" campaign.