The Woodsfield Eagles won the F.O.E. International Child Advocacy Day Contest held Aug. 16, in Woodsfield. For 114 years, The Fraternal Order of Eagles has worked tirelessly to help solve the problems facing citizens of the world. As our elderly suffered from a lack of assistance or our troops fought to keep spirits high overseas, the F.O.E. has always been there to address the problems at the forefront of society.
With the bullying epidemic continuing to grow across the United States and Canada, Woodsfield Fraternal Order of Eagles #2302 set out to preach tolerance and respect. For their efforts, the Woodsfield Eagles have been named the winners of the 2012 Child Advocacy Day Contest.
"They put forth a terrific program that promoted the ideals of the Fraternal Order of Eagles," International Child Advocacy Day Chairman and Grand Worthy Conductor Pat Gray said. "They showed major community involvement and great support for the health and safety of our children. You couldn't ask for more from an event like this."
Held annually, the contest encourages Aeries and Auxiliaries to promote the ideals and beliefs of the Order while educating community youth. While most groups plan a day of safety awareness instruction and interactive events for children, Woodsfield took the contest to a new level in 2012, putting in two weeks of work that culminated in a Bullying Prevention Program held May 2 for students in grades 5-8.
With the help of GMN (Guernsey, Monroe, Noble counties) Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc., students from Woodsfield Elementary School spent two weeks volunteering after school to create a video with skits showing the harmful effects of bullying. The video premiered during a two-hour program held at the school where several students came forward to share their own real life experiences as the victim of bullying. The heartfelt speeches even prompted some students to express their regret for, at times, being the bully. "Bullying has become a large problem in our small community," Woodsfield Madam President Sue
Coffey said. "I am proud of our Auxiliary and GMN Tri-County CAC for coming together to collaborate and send a strong message to our youth. Mostly, I am proud of the courageous children for their part in making the anti?bullying video and sharing their stories to bring light to such a dark issue."
In an effort to fully engage the entire school in the anti-bullying program, Woodsfield's Eagles Auxiliary invited students in kindergarten-4th grade to participate in an Anti-Bullying Poster Contest. The Auxiliary awarded the Top 3 in grades K-1 and 2-4 with gift cards for their efforts.
Due to the success of the program, the Woodsfield Auxiliary plans to make it an annual affair, encouraging future generations of youth to continue to speak out against intolerance.
On July 21, Woodsfield was surprised with a plaque commemorating their work and a $3,000 grant from the F.O.E.'s Jimmy Durante Children's Fund by the organization's Grand Worthy President Ron Stine and Ohio State President Rick Powell.
"We had no idea we would be receiving the award," Coffey said. "We thought we were simply asked to host a dinner for the Grand Worthy President and the Ohio State President, which is an honor itself, then they announced we had won the Child Advocacy Day contest. We were all in shock. We're humbled to receive the award."
Child Advocacy Day was created as a way to honor Past Grand Worthy President Edward F. Poss's vision to have May 1 be recognized as Child Health Day in all Aeries and Auxiliaries. To help carry out the spirit of his plan, Aeries and Auxiliaries were encouraged to host Child Advocacy events on May 1 in an effort to educate youth on safety matters and instill a sense of community. In its current form, the Child Advocacy Day contest accepts entries for any event held between Aug. 1 and May 31 of the following year. The F.O.E. also offers an annual Children's Art Contest and the God, Flag & Country International Oratory Competition to help instill pride in youth across the United States and Canada.
The Woodsfield Fraternal Order of Eagles has maintained a presence in the community since 1938 and currently hosts more than 500 combined Aerie and Auxiliary members. Auxiliary donations have helped the Monroe County Humane Society, Monroe County Youth Soccer League, Warm the Children and many more. The group has also contributed to local fire and police departments.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international non-profit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice, and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. Founded in 1898, the Eagles fund research in areas such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer, and raise money for neglected and abused children and the aged, as well as work for social and civic change.