Ruston’s Chapter AO of Philanthropic Educational Organization, PEO, an international philanthropic organization supporting women’s education, had fun reminiscing about its founding and achievements over the past 50 years at its monthly meeting recently.
Formed on February 28, 1972, the local chapter still boasts having two founding members, MaryBelle Tuten and Barbara Kirkland, participating in the celebrations and presenting the program.
PEO is committed to helping women pursue higher education. Locally, Chapter AO annually nominates a young women who is a senior in high school for the STAR scholarship. This is a highly competitive $2,500 scholarship awarded by PEO International. Recent local winners are Hana Le, a 2021 graduate of Ruston High, and Olivia Cuthbert, 2019 graduate of Cedar Creek School.
In addition to raising funds to support its six educational philanthropies, Chapter AO contributes to a local charity each December to celebrate the Christmas season. In recent years the organization has also supported United Way, DART and Life Choices of North Louisiana.
P.E.O. is one of the oldest women’s organizations in North America. What started as a bond of friendship among seven young women in 1869 has grown to almost 6,000 local chapters with more than 210,000 members in the United States and Canada. P.E.O.’s influence reaches all corners of the globe.
Cumulatively, P.E.O. has given over $383 million in financial assistance to more than 116,000 women continuing their education. P.E.O.s take great pride in providing educational opportunities for women all over the world.
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