Saturday, June 23, 2012

WHAT DOES THE ODD FELLOWS OFFER THAT IS SOMETHING UNIQUE AND CURRENT?

By Louie Blake S. Sarmiento, PG

1. A LARGE WORLDWIDE FAMILY WHO DO A LOT OF GOOD THINGS
- Currently, there are approximately 10,000 Lodges (Chapters) and nearly 600,000 living members located in approximately 30 countries.

- We all see each other as brothers and sisters free from any pretentiousness, all members are of one global family – an assurance of a warm welcome in distant countries.

- Even if members just met each other for the first time, there is already this sense of familial-bond, connectedness and trust.

- The Odd Fellows provide a WORLDWIDE social network of people, whom will treat you like real brothers and sisters, that extends all over the world, not just locally or nationally.

- If traveling is an interest, membership can provide a valuable and trustworthy network of international friends that will very much welcome an international visitor, and assist in their enterprises, and certainly their travels wherever possible.

- Internationally, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs undertake various charitable projects:
 a. The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs spend over US$775 million in international relief projects annually.
b. The Educational Foundation provides scholarships and substantial loans and grants to students
c. Odd Fellow and Rebekah Homes provide a caring environment for the elderly
d. Odd Fellow and Rebekah camps and parks provide recreation for the youth and for families
e. I.O.O.F Living Legacy Program focuses on planting trees and enhancing the environment
f. Annual donations to The Arthritis Foundation and many more.
g. I.O.O.F Visual Research Foundation supports vision care and research through the Wilmer Eye Institute
h. United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth sponsors a group of students for an educational trip to the United Nations.
i. Annual sponsorship of a float in the Rose Parade (Pasadena, California).
j. Annual pilgrimages to the "Tomb of the Unknowns" (Arlington National Cemetery, USA), and other Tombs of the Unknown Soldier (Cuba, Canada, etc.)
k. Sponsors SOS Children’s Village provides a caring home for orphaned children in 132 countries around the world.
i. Grand Lodges and Local Lodges all over the world organize various community projects and donate to numerous charities and foundations every year.

2. A LONG HISTORICAL LEGACY

- Undoubtedly, the Odd Fellows is ONE of the oldest and largest fraternal organizations in the world tracing its history way back over 250 years ago. Our branch, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is 193 years old as of 2012.

- The Independent Order of Odd Fellows is also the first fraternal organization to accept women when it adopted the Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851.

- In many cities, Odd Fellows were the first organizations of any type and a large number of their lodges have completed their first 100 years of service.

- Although, we do not aim to attract “named” members, the organization has had notable names in its members register which includes U.S. Presidents, Senators, Statesmen, Prime Ministers, etc.

3. A NON-POLITICAL AND NON-SECTARIAN ORGANIZATION
- We all know that the differences in people's political and religious beliefs are two of the reasons that has created conflicts and wars for thousands of years.

- For over 250 years, the Odd Fellows served a “venue for neutrality” which is a rare commodity in the community and many organizations of today.

- Within our meetings and gatherings, we have all promised to be neutral in things which divides the world.

4. UNIQUE BUILDING AND FANTASTIC FACILITIES



- Many Odd Fellow Buildings located in various towns and cities around the world not only serve as meeting place of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs but also as venue for various community events and activities and also as commercial spaces upon which the income is used in providing scholarships and sponsorship's.


- Many of these buildings are also registered as historical landmarks in several towns and cities in U.S.A, etc.



5. A FRIENDLY AND DOWN-TO-EARTH ATMOSPHERE

- Most Odd Fellow and Rebekah members are modest, friendly, warm and approachable and do not focus on 'status quo'.

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