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The Yankee Express

The P.E.O. Sisterhood and Chapter R

Jan 05, 2022 01:12PM ● By Chuck Tashjian

Photo shows Chapter R members at a recent social. Photo Credit Barbara Smith

CHARLTON - Sarah Garcia of Charlton was presented with a $2,000 grant on October 23rd by members of an organization that’s helping women reach for the stars. 
Garcia was one of three women (and the most recent) from Bay Path Practical Nursing Academy who received a grant from the Philanthropic Education Organization. P.E.O. has 6,000 chapters across the United States and Canada. 
Gretheline Bolandrina, DHA, MSN Ed, RN, CRRN Academy Director said she didn’t know much about P.E.O., other than her students and alumni receiving grants. “It is amazing what P.E.O. does,” she said, thanking the members of Chapter R, who presented Garcia with the award. 
Chapter R nominated Garcia for the Program for Continuing Education (PCE) and helped her with the process. 
The P.E.O. began as a bond of friendship among seven young women in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and is now one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America. According to the P.E.O. website, “since its inception in 1869, the nonprofit has helped more than 105,000 women pursue educational goals by providing more than $321 million in grants, scholarships, awards, and loans.” 
“I came across information on P.E.O. back in 2018 when I was researching scholarships for my nursing students,” said Bolandrina. The P.E.O. sisterhood has brought together women in the United States and Canada who are passionate changemakers helping women’s advancement through education, support, and motivation. 
“There are meetings and socials,” said Bolandrina, who has now been newly inducted to Chapter R. “I am very excited to participate, and there are special interest groups!” she exclaimed. 
Chapters hold fundraisers throughout the year to support the organization’s scholarship programs, as well as the stewardship of Cottey College, a nationally ranked, fully accredited, independent, liberal arts and sciences college in Nevada, Missouri. The women’s college has been owned and supported by the P.E.O. since 1927. The fundraisers are as varied as the chapters that hold them. 
“I saw the beautiful dishcloths of Chapter R,” said Bolandrina. Chapter R also holds a Chocolate Sunday fundraiser. The fundraisers help support the national organization and help local women like Garcia.  
Membership is by invitation only. Philanthropy is the goal of P.E.O. however, friendship is its cornerstone. The P.E.O. has a long legacy of sisterhood. “The friendship and sisterhood brought me in” concludes Bolandrina.