Helping the Inland Northwest's Most Vulnerable Since 1896

Teachers' sorority's contributions give an education in giving

Alpha Delta Kappa ready to help anywhere, anytime

The local “Alpha Nu” chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa teacher’s sorority has a special relationship with Volunteers of America, and it all started with furnishing an empty apartment.

ADK’s 50 members—both working and retired teachers—had always made donations as a group to local charities. But years ago, when they received a request to help prepare an apartment for a woman moving out of the Hope House emergency shelter into her very own apartment upstairs, something changed. They weren’t just writing a check—they were creating a home.

“We all realized how fulfilling it was to give of ourselves—which even included husbands helping with the remodel and use of their trucks to haul items we’d collected,” recalls member Tana Carosella. “We ended up doing two apartments! We have found it so much fun to be together to clean, organize and then have lunch together and celebrate. Even the members who are currently teaching and raising small children always find time and energy to contribute in some way.”

Since then ADK has been a force for good in all our programs. The group holds an annual Christmas Auction and then uses the funds, along with items gathered by their members, to support nonprofits in need throughout the year. Their mighty Altruism Committee, led by Arlene Helsing, designates a different agency to help each month of the year. One month they might give 30 handmade aprons to the Cheney Food Bank, the next collect diapers for Alexandria’s House, the following month they might knit slippers for women at Hope House women’s shelter.

“The cool thing about ADK,” says Hope House director Rusty Barnett, “is that they don’t just drop off the donation. They always ask how the women are doing. They are genuinely concerned with the well-being of the people they are helping. In fact, whenever I run into one of the ADK women someplace, they ask me, ‘Rusty, what do the women need right now?’ They’re like a benevolent sleeper cell—anything we need we can call ADK and it’s here in an instant—quilts and blankets, gloves and hats, hygiene items and more.”

At Volunteers of America, the support of ADK can be seen around every corner: the group funds the annual Crosswalk graduation party; they can be counted on to fill at least two tables with smiling faces at the annual Hope House Fashion Show fundraiser; ADK members serve on the planning committee for our annual I Remember Mama event; and they can be called upon to clean any mess—with husbands in tow. They’ll even bring their own vacuum cleaners.

One of their biggest contributions is managing and staffing the books Volunteers of America distributes to families in need at the annual Spokesman Review Christmas Bureau. ADK member Tana Carosella has spearheaded the effort for many years. Beginning in March, Tana recruits other ADK members to help order, count and sort books (as many as 20,000 each year). Under the leadership of ADK president Susan Mattoon, the group often chips in some of their funds to help purchase books when needed. 

Then, during the 12 days that the Bureau is in operation at the Fairgrounds, Tana arranges volunteers to staff the book giveaway. These dedicated teachers spend weeks selecting the books and sorting them by topic and grade level, prepared to help parents in need choose the perfect book to give each child for Christmas. They even stick around to help pack up any extra books that remain when the bureau closes.

“Things like the Christmas Bureau book project would be nearly impossible without the women of Alpha Delta Kappa,” says Volunteers of America president and CEO Marilee Roloff. “In that way, groups of dedicated, compassionate people like theirs are like a safety net for us. When we need something they show up—almost before we know we need it! These are amazing, no-fuss, can-do women. They have blessed so many lives.”