Volume LVIMAY/JUNE 2009Number 2

Rainbow Girls Cap Their Service
With a Smile

Participating in the Capping Ceremony for Rainbow volunteers at the Masonic Village at Sewickley were (front row, l-r) Mrs. Helen Snedden, Supreme Deputy; Mrs. Mary Ann Naugle, Worthy Grand Matron; Bro. Clarence J. Echternacht, Worthy Grand Patron; and Katie Burkett, Grand Worthy Advisor for Rainbow in Pennsylvania.

It may be a gloomy day outside, but on the Saturdays when the Rainbow Girls visit the Masonic Village at Sewickley, it is always cheerful. "It is very nice that the Rainbow Girls give their time and visit with us," village resident Virginia Fouse said.

At least six times a year, the girls plan and carry out a themed social event for an average of 50 residents. The girls arrive around 10:30 a.m. to decorate the assembly room, make name tags, plan music or skits, make signs and help decide on the activities for the day.

The socials have varied themes, such as A Rainbow Colored World, Spring Tea and Spring Bonnets, Halloween and the yearly favorite, the annual New Year's Eve Day party. On Dec. 31, the girls provide decorations, noise makers, hats and balloons to support the entertainment provided by the village staff. The program includes dancing, fancy appetizers, sparkling juice and at "midnight" (somewhere in the world) they have a countdown and "drop the crystal ball" to the delight of every participant.

Mary Finney, resident, said, "I think it is very kind and generous of the Rainbow Girls to give up their Saturday afternoon to entertain us."

Clara Stumpf agrees. "The Rainbow Girls always have some interesting presentations for us. It's fun having them here. They are always friendly and helpful," she said.

Often the girls start working in the program to earn recognition for their service hours, but after spending time with the residents and developing close friendships, they realize the reward that simply comes with service for its own sake.

Sewickley resident Anna Mary Young said, "I enjoy having the Rainbow Girls come here. It reminds me of when my three daughters were Rainbow Girls and all the time I spent with them."

After lunch, the girls escort residents to the assembly room. At the end of the activities, they all share a snack and then escort the residents back to their rooms. Clean-up follows, and the Rainbow contingent leaves by 4 p.m. The girls usually earn five hours of service credit for each visit. They are recognized once a year for their accumulated service hours in a formal Capping Ceremony held at the Masonic Village. The girls earn certificates for 15 hours of service; a cap for 25 hours; and red, orange, yellow, blue and indigo stripes for their caps for every additional 25 hours of service. At the Feb. 7 Capping Ceremony, 18 Rainbow Girls were recognized for a total of over 615 career service hours, with an indigo stripe being presented to Martha Kryskowiak of Ohio Valley Assembly No. 157 for her 175 hours of service at the village as a Rainbow Girl.

The program, started in 1985 by Helen Snedden, who is now serving as the Supreme Deputy for Rainbow in Pennsylvania, is a cornerstone of service for the Rainbow Assemblies in the greater Pittsburgh area. Betty Marshall is the western Rainbow volunteers director, assisted by Nancy Blackwood and Thelma Antis.

Ann Beck, Masonic Village's Activities Director, describes the residents as "excited when they see a Rainbow Day approaching and talk about the fun they had for days afterwards. It is commendable for these girls to give up a free Saturday in their busy schedules to bring joy to the residents in the nursing and assisted living facility."

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