By Brenda L. Holmes
Tri Kappas here are celebrating a long heritage of service to the community and across the State of Indiana.
“We are a philanthropic sorority that is only in Indiana,” said long-time member Sabrina Kapp. “Our mission is to further charity, culture, and education in our communities.”
Tri Kappa was founded in 1901 and has 146 active chapters and 114 associate chapters totally nearly 9,000 participating members. This year, Tri Kappa week was Feb. 19-25.
“In general, we like to be involved to try to make things better,” Kapp said.
The largest fundraiser for the Plainfield chapter each year is the Gingerbread Christmas event, which is a craft and art fair that takes place the first Saturday in December at Plainfield High School.
“It’s been going on in some form or another for 40 years,” Kapp said. “I remember as a young girl watching mom prepare for it.”
Every member of the chapter is on a committee for the Gingerbread Christmas event and is expected to help either set up or work the day of the event.
The Plainfield ladies also sell pecans, other nuts, and candies.
“The vast majority stays within our community but we do have some projects we support at the state level,” Kapp said. “Tri Kappa is a significant donor to Riley Hospital.”
She said all of the funds raised in Plainfield touch children in some fashion or another.
“The total amount of money given back to students directly in scholarships or school programs is significant,” Kapp said. “Our running total for the 2011-12 school year is just under $17,000.”
Funds are used to support special education, Parent Teacher Organizations, and for the first time this year, an anti-bullying program.
“We also have student funds that are used at the discretion of school principals and guidance counselors,” Kapp said.
She said the funds can be used to help families in need who may need help with school supplies, clothing, or shoes.
“We also try to do things for the cultural programs via the band and choral departments,” she said. “And we have several thousand dollars for emergency dental and vision care.”
The sorority works with local dentists and optometrists who help children who need dental care or glasses.
“These are kids that the school nurse may see on a repeated bases,” she said. “Helping a child get a pair of glasses can really change their ability in the classroom.”
Tri Kappa also supports the Lunch Bunch program in the summer and Strides for Success, a non-profit in Plainfield that uses horses to help with therapy.
The Plainfield chapter meets 10 times a year and has about 65 active members. They also have an associate chapter made up of members who have been active for many years, want to remain involved, but not at the high level expected of Tri Kappas.
To become a member of Tri Kappa a woman must be invited by a current member.
“If you know a member, that’s a good place to start,” Kapp said. “And we do ask a lot of our members. There are the dues and the biggest thing we ask is of their time. In order to do what we do we need members willing to give of their time.”
Kapp has been involved with the sorority her entire life. Her mother, grandmother, several aunts, and even her mother-in-law have all been members.
“I was initiated in 1979 when I graduated from high school,” she said. “When I found out my future mother-in-law was involved, I was so happy. She was in Evansville and we used to compare stories and ideas.”
And Plainfield is just one of several chapters in Hendricks County. There are local chapters in Avon, Brownsburg, Danville, and the Mill Creek area.