From the President’s Desk By Nancy Secrest

General Topics: 

On behalf of the TOS and its board of directors, I extend heartfelt thanks to all of you who responded to our annual fund appeal with your donations and your good wishes. We raised $12,214 in general donations for the work of the TOS. In addition, we received $2,250 designated for specific TOS programs.

This year we again met our $20,000 goal in donations earmarked for the Golden Link College. The funds for the school will be matched by a very generous $20,000 matching grant provided by the Kern Foundation.

Great thanks to the estate of Leonard and Rhauna Cole for their generous bequest.  Bequests are treated by the TOS as an endowment to the organization thus ensuring an on-going source of income for the future work of the TOS.

The TOS board of directors works with TOS groups and individual members around the country providing advice and assistance with service projects when asked for it. We encourage each branch and study center to appoint a member as the TOS liaison for the group.  Recently, an e-mail was sent to the presidents or secretaries of each TSA branch or study center asking for the name and contact information of their group’s TOS liaison.

The TSA has approximately 90 groups. We received about 12 replies. If your group has a TOS liaison whose contact information has not yet been set to us, please contact me. If your group doesn’t yet have a TOS liaison we urge you to appoint someone to this position.

Those liaisons we have heard from always ask for the same thing – IDEAS for service projects. Ironically, ideas for TOS programs and projects often come from you. They may be initiated by a group or by a single member. Our battery recycling program, Native American assistance program and Trees for Vets project are examples.

Marcia Doty and the Ojai, CA TOS group initiated the battery recycling program. They have collected multiple tons of batteries for recycling in their area of the country as have other groups and individuals around the country.

There are countless opportunities for similar “green” projects that individuals or groups can initiate or participate in that promote environmental, economic or social/personal sustainability. Karen McCormick has worked tirelessly for years supplying school supplies, warm coats and blankets and Holiday gifts to children and elders from the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota. Every community has homeless or low income people who need help. Volunteering at your local homeless shelter, serving meals, or holding a clothing drive are great ways to help others.

Our newest TOS project, Trees for Vets, was conceived by TOS member David Ely.  Read the TOS-USA article about it, or visit the Trees for Vets website.  Check it out!

“Seed” money to help you get started with your projects is also available from the TOS. Request an application by calling our toll free no., 1-630-668-1571, ext. 332, or via the contact form.   Or you can contact me directly.

One more word about TOS liaisons – there will be a special meeting just for TOS liaisons (the specific date and time have not yet been set) at this year’s TSA Summer National Gathering (SNG) which will be held at Olcott from July 20-24, 2012. Check the TSA website www.theosophical.org for information on and registration for the SNG.

All of our branches and study centers will be receiving a copy of the TOS publication Helping the Dying. This little booklet is “a guide for families and friends assisting those in transition”. The booklet was written by Nelda Samarel and published by the international TOS. Nelda Samarel, EdD,RN is a retired professor of nursing as well as a former Western District Director for the Theosophical Society in America and the former Director of the Krotona School of Theosophy in Ojai, CA.

Reading this booklet took me back to the time leading up to my own father’s death. He was under home care through hospice meaning that a hospice nurse visited his home regularly to take care of his medical needs. My mother , ill herself and undergoing chemotherapy at the time, could not cope alone, so we children worked in shifts to supply the rest of his physical, emotional and spiritual care.

Having been through it, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to you all. Nelda’s book offers insights into the world of the dying that are truly invaluable to family members trying to cope and trying to help. Additional copies are available for study or personal use by calling our toll free no., 1-630-668-1571, ext. 332, or emailing us.

Heads Up! Mark your calendars for the upcoming International Conference of the Theosophical Order of Service in July of 2013. The 2013 international TOS conference will take place at The Theosophical Society in America’s national headquarters in Wheaton, IL from July 24 through July 26, 2013. The International TOS conference directly follows the TSA Summer National Gathering (SNG) so plan to come for both events. The official notification of this event can be found on our website at www.theoservice.org. Edit: A link to this announcement will soon be published here.  This is a chance to meet, work with and plan for the future with TOS members from around the world.