At the Masonic Villages, we're celebrating numerous achievements and anticipating exciting opportunities.

We congratulate our Masonic Children's Home residents who will graduate from Elizabethtown Area High School on Thursday, June 10: Alarice (Ali) Joyce, Jake Pilkerton, Tara Skidmore and Brian Smith. Ali will attend Harrisburg Area Community College this fall and major in journalism; she hopes to then transfer to a four-year college. Jake will graduate from the full-day welding program at the Mount Joy Career and Technology Center. In the fall, he will attend York Technical Institute and major in motorcycle technology. Tara's future plans include attending Lackawanna Junior College for an associate's degree in special education and continuing for her bachelor's degree. Brian will attend Thaddeus Stephens College of Technology, where he major in office administration and participate on the football team. We are proud of their accomplishments and wish them the best of luck as they pursue their dreams.

While our graduates prepare to leave, others prepare to come and join our family with their own dreams to fulfill. Our ability to provide a supportive home environment and to give the children a chance to receive friendship, care and guidance is made possible through generous contributions to the Masonic Village. Graduates from the program are afforded opportunities for higher education through support of the Masonic Fraternities and the Masonic Homes/Patton School Alumni Association. Through the benevolence of our Brethren, youth are given the tools they need to become productive citizens of whom we can be proud.

As Pennsylvania Freemasons and members of Eastern Star have joined in unanimity to serve our members and their families across the Commonwealth, our need for support continues. We ask those who have supported the former Eastern Star homes, the former Masonic Home of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Homes in Elizabethtown in the past to hold up our shared mission through your gifts of time, talent and financial support. Our core mission to support our Brothers, Sisters and children regardless of their ability to pay for needed services has continued to grow, as evidenced in the expansion of our services. In 2003, the Masonic Villages provided more than $20 million in charitable services. While this cost it great, it is impossible to measure the value of the care provided to residents. I receive numerous thank you letters from members and families praising the quality of our facilities, our staff and our services. Our ability to Share the Light has been made possible over the past century by the vision and generosity of our Family of Freemasonry.

We invite you to visit your nearest Masonic Village ­ in Elizabethtown, Lafayette Hill, Sewickley or Warminster -- and Share the Light through acts of friendship. Bring your family or gather Brethren in your lodge and plan a trip to tour one of our villages, and while you're there, check into the volunteer opportunities available to make a difference in the lives of residents. Attend one of the Grand Master's Charity Golf Tournaments, or sponsor a car for the Masonic Village Charity Grand Prix to show your support for our mission. Bring prospective members to Autumn Day at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, our annual open house for our Family of Freemasonry, to learn more about our many valuable services.

It's a fun-filled family day with activities, entertainment, information, food and fellowship for all ages, and an excellent opportunity to introduce folks to our Masonic family, since many Masonic groups are present. Our Villages are YOUR homes... built, maintained and strengthened through your charity. Thank you.

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