In honor of National Philanthropy Day and our alliance with Make-A-Wish America, Chi Omega honors five Sisters who truly embody our Vision Statement: Sisters inspired by our values who serve the world while keeping Chi Omega ever at heart. We are so inspired by each of these alumnae and the way they serve their communities and the world every day, through Make-A-Wish and other incredible organizations.
SMU Chi Omega alumna Connie O’Neill serves on the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors, ensuring that through the best scientific research and community awareness, the organization can save lives and end breast cancer forever.
“Get involved! Find something you are passionate about and volunteer,” Connie said. “My two passions are health and education. There are countless nonprofits to choose from in any community. Carve out a few hours and do something for someone else.”
Connie has been involved with Susan G. Komen for almost 25 years. She has also been involved with many other charitable organizations in the Dallas area, including the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Children’s Health Services of Texas, and as past President of the SMU Alumni Association and the Junior League of Dallas. She has served on the boards of the Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, St. Paul Medical Center Foundation, and St. Mark’s School of Texas Parents Association Board.
CU Boulder Chi Omega alumna Jan George has spent more than half a century volunteering for the American Red Cross, following disasters from West, Texas to Ground Zero and serving as a steady source of support for hurricane victims near her home in Florida.
Jan taught children’s swimming lessons for the Red Cross for years, but after retirement, she knew she still wanted to help.
“I thought, well, I’m not going to teach swimming anymore – but I can certainly do something,” Jan said.
Since then, she has been deployed to more than 20 Red Cross missions across the country, managing dozens of volunteers. Jan was named the Governor’s Hurricane Conference award winner in 2014.
Photo Credit: Andrew West, Coastal Life
Three years ago, Erika Wright, an alumna of Tau Beta Chapter at Oklahoma State University founded Somebody’s Mama, a volunteer organization focused on raising awareness and funding global projects focused on women’s healthcare, education, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women.
Along with co-founder Leia Johnson and the support of a Board of Directors that includes two Chi Omegas, Erika has worked to build a community proving that small and simple acts of love can create great things – resulting in the construction of a maternity ward and schools in West Africa, the support of business startups in South Sudan, healthcare training for women in Uganda, and many other successes.
“This not-so-crazy idea we had—doing good things with our friends in a simple and fun way—has become a global sisterhood movement that is bringing women around the world together for good,” Erika said. “I am humbled every day by our giving community and am simply astounded by what we have accomplished together in such a short time.”
As an award-winning high school counselor, supporting victims of violence and devastating loss through the Pima County (Tucson, Arizona) Attorney’s Office of Victim Services was a natural volunteer role for Jill Ronsman, an alumna of University of Arizona Chi Omega.
A military mother, Jill often spends between 20-40 hours each month voluteering through victim services in addition to her full-time job as a high school assistant principal.
“The most rewarding part of this opportunity is the hugs I get when I leave the unbearable situation, knowing that my team has helped soften the blow that life can give,” Jill said. “We are just a small part of this big world, and we need to realize that life and happiness is not just about us, it is about what [we] can do to make life better for others. What [we] can do to help our neighbor or sister.”
At 14, Katlyn Gould was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Two years later, her Wish was granted – meeting Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jacob Ellsbury. When she began college a few years later, Katlyn found a home in the Psi Kappa Chapter at Clemson University, where she was able to volunteer through her chapter’s Make-A-Wish events.
Today, Katlyn is nine years cancer-free and working as a Wish Manager for Make-A-Wish South Carolina, planning and coordinating Wishes for children all over the state.
“There is a reason that both Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish hold special places in my heart and they work hand-in-hand together,” Katlyn said. “They both provide hope, strength, and joy to the individuals that they serve. They have both provided me with incredible memories full of joy and strength, a positive outlook, and helped grow my heart into a more passionate giving heart which has shaped me into the woman I am today.”
We could not be more proud of all Katlyn has accomplished! Chi Omega is honored to partner with Make-A-Wish as our national philanthropy.