Republican group wins awards at event

The Republican Women of Baton Rouge received several awards at the Louisiana Federation of Republican Women’s 30th Biennial Convention March 15-17 in New Iberia.

In Division B (51-100 members), the club won the Pink Elephant Award, an award for increasing membership 23 percent and first-place awards for the 2011-12 scrapbook compiled by Faith Kennedy, American Heritage, Financing-Fundraising and Literacy. Second-place awards were for Newsletter, Technology and Campaign-Volunteer Hours. Third-place awards were for Community Service and Programs.

Wanda Aizpurua received the first Exemplary Service and Visions of LFRW Outstanding Women Award. Pat Cabral and Barbara Thomas received the chapter’s Betty Heitman Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership. Cabral was elected Region 6 vice president, and Aizpurua was elected LFRW recording secretary.

Altrusa Club of BR elects 2013-14 officers

The Altrusa Club of Baton Rouge elected 2013-14 officers on March 18 at Drusilla Seafood Restaurant: Jackie Robbins, president; Marti Didier, vice president; Laura Rhorer, secretary; Carol Davis, treasurer; and Jo Ann Morgan and Lynn Nettles, directors.

Elected to the local Altrusa Foundation Board were Carmel Streater, Cherryl Alford, Mary Eleanor Cole, Cathy Craddock, Amy Drago, Diane Bezdek, Robbins, Didier and Morgan.

Janie Starks, regional director of Volunteers of America, spoke on services VOA offers. Mary Lynn Anderson was a guest at the meeting.

For information on Altrusa, call Didier, (225) 939-0460.

OLLI Feliciana group hears asst. warden

Cathy Fontenot, assistant warden of support and public relations at Louisiana State Penitentiary, spoke to the Feliciana Chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute on March 20 at First Baptist Church in St. Francisville.

Fontenot talked about her background and interest in corrections at an early age. She has worked in that field for 21 years and shared human interest stories of inmates and prison activities. On March 22, Fred Mendenhall and Josette Lester invited OLLI members and guests to their home, Hearts Content, for a nature walk on their 15 acres in West Feliciana Parish. During the walk many plants, trees and birds were identified. Lunch followed at the The Bluffs country club.

MP Toastmasters hears young author

Raheem Allen spoke to the Miracle Place Toastmasters on April 1. Allen, 15, has written and published his first novel, “I Am Rick — Zane’s Destruction,” and almost completed a second. He also creates video games, is an honor student at Baton Rouge High School and aspires to be a filmmaker. Toastmasters has agreed to help him perfect his speaking presentations.

Miracle Place Toastmasters meets at 6:30 p.m. Mondays at 2080 Main St. in Baker. The club is geared to help people become effective public speakers and is open to the public. For more information, visit or call Shamekia Holliday, (225) 773-8921.

Darden Restaurants donates to Food Bank

The Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, awarded a $4,000 grant from four local restaurants to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank on April 3 as part of Darden’s second annual Restaurant Community Grants program. Participating restaurants are Red Lobster, 6051 Bluebonnet Blvd.; Olive Garden, 6911 Siegen Lane; LongHorn Steakhouse, Ambassador Caffery Parkway, Lafayette; and LongHorn Steakhouse, 249 Range 12 Blvd., Denham Springs.

Through the grants program, employees at each of the 2,000 Darden restaurants in North America are empowered to identify the needs unique to their region and select a nonprofit to support and address those local issues. The restaurants worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a grant to make a greater impact in their community.

The local grant is part of more than $1.9 million given to more than 850 nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada as part of its Restaurant Community Grants program.

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