By Jasmine Franklin
They are women working together to make a better Canada and on their 80th birthday they honoured a 50-year member and handed out a $500 scholarship to a Ponoka-born woman.
The 14 members who make up IODE, took a break from serving the community and those in need to celebrate several occasions Oct. 3.
“We’re always busy,” said IODE member Liz McClintock. “These women are wonderful and it’s a bond that keeps us all together.”
The IODE is a charitable organizational in which no members get paid. They provide educational services such as scholarships and social services such as feeding underprivileged people and helping out in hospitals.
Lois Galbraith, 78, celebrated her 50-year membership. She smiled as she remembered the last 50 years when IODE meetings were held inside schools and educational scholarships were $25.
“I’d forgotten it had been 50 years,” Galbraith said. “I’ve enjoyed it always — all of the associates are so enthused and you get to help people.”
Also present at the celebration was Shelley Stagg Peterson, a professor from the University of Toronto who offered an education scholarship through IODE of much more than $25.
“I was an IODE scholarship recipient myself from the Camrose branch in 1979,” Stagg Peterson said. “I wanted to give back like they gave to me and so I’m giving this $500 scholarship to a student who fits the criteria.”
Back in July, IODE advertised they were seeking applicants for a $500 scholarship that was to go to a post-secondary student in their second year of education.
Stephanie Voysey, 18, was the winner.
“It’s awesome,” Voysey said. “All of it will be going towards my textbooks.”
Voysey is taking elementary education and minoring in psychology. She was described by Stagg Peterson as a student who will to continue to excel throughout her education.
The objective of the IODE, previously the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, is to provide an effective organization that enhances the quality of life for individuals through education support, community service’s and citizenship programs, according to the IODE website. The order was founded in 1900, at the time of the South African War by a Montreal woman and was designed to be a bond between the women and children of the various parts of the empire.
President Marnie Wilkins talked about IODE’s continuous support for the Ponoka Youth Centre and the effect the organization has had on the community.
“IODE became an important factor in this community and here we are 80 years later — who would have thought?” Wilkins said.
For additional information visit www.iode.ca.