S.E.L.F. is an acronym for Service, Education, Leadership, and Fellowship. Since it was founded in 2004, S.E.L.F. has gained the respect of the community as having a workforce of eager ladies who are committed to giving back to the community through volunteer service. This organization provides women on the Eastern Shore with opportunities to make meaningful contributions of their time and talent. To promote camaraderie among its membership, S.E.L.F. also plans five social events annually. Membership in this organization carries a commitment of at least 50 hours of community service annually. In 2015, the members combined service totaled 10,527 hours.
The mission of S.E.L.F. shall be to provide women with opportunities for service, education, leadership and fellowship in order to benefit their community.
Through their commitment to volunteerism, members will enhance their community while experiencing the joy and fulfillment of service to and caring for others.
Recognizing that communities grow and thrive through the efforts of local citizens, an idea was conceived to form an organization whose purpose would be to give something back to the community. This idea came about in 2004 under the leadership of Gretchen Schapker and the other eleven founding Board Members who rallied to the cause. They were Beverly Bradford, Sive Carden, Susan Dube, Cheri Forte, Joan Hancock, Barbara Harris, Marlene Oteri, Lee Smith, Providence Upchurch, Karen Williams, and Linda Zwickey.
We are blessed to live in Baldwin County, rich in nature, sports, animals, education, history, and the arts. Our members, through their volunteerism, have contributed to make this an even better place to live.
In 2008, SELF created a scholastic scholarship. A student from Faulkner State Community College was the first recipient of a $2000 scholarship from funds raised during the club’s first Yard/Bake Sale. In 2009, a Holiday Sale and Silent Auction raised an additional $2031. In 2011, a Garage Sale/Bake Sale fundraiser raised $2,640. Fundraisers like these enable us to continue providing an annual $1500 college scholarship to a local high school senior, rotating each year between Spanish Fort, Daphne, and Fairhope High Schools.
SELF is also committed to providing opportunities for fellowship giving members a chance to foster camaraderie with one another. Through luncheons, coffees, cocktail parties, and other social events, members have been given the opportunity to make lasting friendships.
Our members deserve a “job well done” pat on the back for making SELF the outstanding organization it is today!
Service, Education, Leadership and Fellowship, our founding principles. Each important individually but together combine to create an extraordinary organization known as S.E.L.F. From a small group of passionate women in 2004 to over 100 strong in 2015, we continue to embrace these founding principles. Our members hail from all walks of life and career paths. Together we have amassed tremendous knowledge, experience, compassion, and drive. We live in, and support, various communities and organizations throughout Baldwin and Mobile Counties. Our commitment to community service is the common thread.
Together we support the Arts, Education, Health, and Environment impacting people of all ages and animals as well. Additionally, we have created and continue to fund several noteworthy programs. We are in our seventh year of providing an annual scholarship to a deserving young woman, and our fourth year of Project SELF Serve, a program designed to organize and reward behavior in a local elementary school. Fundraising is essential to maintaining these programs. From garage sales to a holiday auction event, our members have developed creative ways to sustain these programs, and we remain committed to these initiatives.
In addition to all of the above, we have a wonderful camaraderie and meet throughout the year to enjoy various social events and service opportunities. In short, we work hard, but we know how to have fun.
As we look back on the first half of 2016, we’re proud of our accomplishments.
- We have 89 members and continue to grow. We’ve held a luncheon at the Fairhope Yacht Club and Sunset on the Bay, an evening event with guests.
- Our Making A Difference Day in conjunction with Prodisee Pantry was a huge success; collectively we provided 124 service hours.
- We awarded our 2016 Scholarship to Sydnie Glass, from Fairhope High School.
- We completed our 4th year of Project SELF Serve at Magnolia Elementary in Magnolia Springs and will return for the 2017 school year.
We’ve raised over $1300 and are proud to have funds reserved to support both our Scholarship Program and Project SELF Serve through 2017.
And, we’re optimistic and excited for the remainder of the year.
- Plans are in place for a Chick Flick event in August, our Social Event Day in October, and a Coffee in November.
Along with all of these activities, volunteer needs in our communities continue to rise and our members are there to heed the call. Whether through Outreach or member focused initiatives, we are there to assist as needed.
It is an honor to serve the community, and I encourage anyone who would like to learn more about organization to please contact us. We welcome your interest.
Susan M. Frazier