Just one example are the cheery red bags gifted through Altrusa’s literacy program gifted to children at The Ronald McDonald House Harvest Party last week. The goody bags contained a bunch of fun things including a book on Thanksgiving, pencils, stamp items, games and sticker books. But, as they say, ‘it takes a village.’ And Nansea Wolff, who is in charge of the literacy program, helps make these resources available for children suffering from a variety of ailments at The Ronald McDonald House. Thanks to Wolff’s work, these encouraging bags were delivered to kids who greatly deserve a reason to smile. “Nansea Wolff is very dedicated to the literacy program. She and her committee go to the San Diego Book Project regularly to get books for the Ronald McDonald House... Nansea is indeed a big asset to our club,” Perry shared. Wolff exudes great pride about the literacy program. Truthfully, her cell phone is full of photos of children at various events along with the dedicated volunteers whose help made this year’s harvest party bountiful. “Our literacy committee started the Ronald McDonald house “Keep Library.” We started out with children's books and have added adult books as well. We give the Ronald McDonald House two parties, The Harvest Party and Dr. Seuss Party. We (also) support the San Diego Book Project as they so generously have given books to us for Ronald McDonald House and our international projects. We also just sent three boxes of books to Africa,” Wolff explained.
Notable is the outreach to international programs Altrusa also suports. “Altrusa is an international non-profit organization, making our local communities better through leadership, partnership and service. We are civic-minded people who strive to create better communities worldwide. Altrusa gives more than one million volunteer hours annually throughout 11 countries,” Perry explained. In fact, the San Diego Altrusa chapter is celebrating 86 years of continuous service, and next year Altrusa international will celebrate 100 years.
Perry, a retired elementary school librarian, knows all about the importance of literacy and the joys of reading. In fact, she still reads to children at La Jolla’s Riford Library every month. “I like to get my ‘kid fix,” she smiled. Perry found her path to becoming the president of Altrusa through the efforts of another foundation that, not surprisingly, Perry also co-chairs called Light One Little Candle (LOLC). “I was asked to speak at Altrusa about a foundation I co-chair called Light One Little Candle. We are located in the patient resource center at UC Moores Cancer Center. We gift children's books to patients who are undergoing treatment to read with children in their lives. Altrusa embraced LOLC and donated outstanding books. They also got the students at USD called ASTRA to have book drives for LOLC. I was so impressed at the generosity of these women that I decided to join.”
Truth be told, Perry joins a line of illustrious women who have made Altrusa the achieved group it celebrates today. Other applauded members include the first Altrusa charter member of the San Diego club, Belle Benchley, who was also the first woman director of the San Diego Zoo and Jane Minshall who was the first female landscape architect in San Diego and member of Altrusa for 58 years. And of course there’s Dr. Willa Ramsay who Perry said, “was the driving force behind getting the first ASTRA club started in California. She served as international ASTRA chair from 2009 through 2011.”
Altrusa also contributes to Project Linus which gives out beautifully hand-made child security blankets and quilts, Military Outreach where they sponsor a military family every Christmas, San Diego Second Chance, San Diego Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and many more. For more information on how you can get involved, visit altrusasandiego.org.