Altrusa International of Ocala

Each month, Ocala Magazine features a local charity that uplifts our community. This month’s charity is Altrusa International of Ocala.

Organization Name:  Altrusa International of Ocala, Inc.

Leadership: Governed by a local Board of Directors:

President: Maclyn C. Walker

President-elect: Helen McDavid

Vice President: Colleen Duris

Treasurer: Connie Larsen

Secretary: Mary Cay Landt

Director: Joan Coke

Director: Elaine Goodelle

Director: Maria Kusmierz

Immediate Past President: Miranda Barrineau

Location: Ocala, Florida. Business meeting held the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Braised Onion, 754 NE 25th Avenue, Ocala, FL. 

Mission Statement: Altrusa International of Ocala strives to improve our community by providing service, developing leadership, fostering international understanding and encouraging fellowship through an international network of dedicated volunteers. 

What we do: The Altrusa International Ocala Chapter, a service club for men and women, has focused on building a better community, developing leaders and offering fellowship since 1977. Improving literacy in Marion County was the initial focus of the club but that has expanded to support for a broader range of community needs.

Over the years, the club has gained recognition within Altrusa for numerous service projects and activities. 

Expanding reading resources to as many as possible is an important goal for the club. 

Altrusa has established “Little Free Libraries” throughout Marion County. These free lending libraries can be found at the Ocala Ritz Veterans Village housing, Pace School for Girls, Liberty Community Park, Brick City Park, Boys & Girls Club, Early Learning Coalition, and the Domestic Violence Shelter. Age-appropriate books have been distributed at community events and are made available for teachers at the Public Education Foundation of Marion County (PEFMC) Tools-for-Teachers free supply store.  Also, in partnership with PEFMC, Altrusa awards funding to support teacher initiatives that enhance classroom learning for elementary and middle school students. 

ASTRA service clubs at Lake Weir and West Port high schools are sponsored by the Ocala Altrusa Club. ASTRA stands for Ability, Service, Training, Responsibility, and Achievement. Each club develops their own community service projects. 

Born Learning Trails are a pathway with 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. Altrusa h as partnered with the Early Learning Coalition of Marion County (ELC) to build Born Learning Trails in local parks. Altrusa will once again team up with ELC to build a new trail in the Spring 2023. 

In conjunction with Volunteers of America of Florida, Altrusa has donated computers, reading materials for use by Veterans at the Ocala Ritz Veterans Village, along with clothing, sundries, sheets, towels, and pantry food supplies.

When elementary school age children are unable to see, not all can afford the cost of eyeglasses. Altrusa created the Nancy Jones Eyes to See program to buy glasses for these children, ensuring they will have an opportunity to learn to read.  In addition to these projects, the club has given numerous pairs of shoes to the Community Partnership School at College Park Elementary for students in need and adopts a family each year to provide food and gifts during the holidays. 

Funds raised by club activities are also used to award scholarships on an annual basis to both graduating high school seniors and persons reentering or entering the work force. A $1,000 scholarship in honor of Charter Member Thelma Parker and a second $1,000 scholarship in honor of Charter Member Juanita Cunningham were established for students pursuing a career in education. Graduating Senior ASTRA members are eligible to apply for scholarships which are awarded based on financial need, academic achievement and community service. The club has endowed two scholarships at College of Central Florida. 

Altrusa funds projects through a single major fundraising event, Trivia Night. Anyone who enjoys a friendly trivia competition is welcome to attend. Help at the Country Club of Ocala, the next event is scheduled for March 4th. For more information, email altrusaocala@gmail.com. 

How you can give of your time and treasure: Altrusa welcomes energetic, service-minded people to join our club. Contact the membership chair at altrusaocala@gmail.com to arrange a no-obligation visit. Website: https://districtthree.altrusa.org/Ocala/ 

Altrusa International of Ocala
Altrusa International of Ocala
Altrusa International of Ocala
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