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Dimples and Grins Mother’s Club marks 37 years PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 2:16 PM

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FORT JENNINGS — Ohio Child Conservation League (OCCL) Dimples and Grins Mother’s Club held their first meeting in 1976 in the home of Pat Grothause. What started out as a Service League following an Achievement 10 Programming for mothers of younger children, has since evolved into a club geared toward home life and grandchildren.

The OCCL was organized in 1918 as a non-profit, non-sectarian, educational organization interested in child conservation by enabling parents to teach their children to be stable, thinking citizens of tomorrow through spiritual, mental, physical, and moral development while promoting family solidarity through participation in local civic or philanthropic work, attending meetings to encourage family interest in OCCL, to engage children and promote fellowship among members and friends.

In the past, the club members have sponsored a wealth of activities for their children focusing on the four developmental areas including; Breakfast with Santa, Mad River canoeing & camping trips, Ice Capades at the Holidome, Halloween hayride party and Splash parties at the Y.M.C.A.

Each year since the early 1980s, the Mother’s have sponsored the annual Teddy Bear Raffle, which is a charity event that raises proceeds for the national “Teddy Bears That Care” program. The club members set up a table during lunch recess at Ft. Jennings grade school and students purchase raffle tickets on a basket full of donated surprises. This year’s treasure trove included items such as a basketball, iPod, Fort Jennings School shirt and duffel bag, games and candy. The proceeds are donated to the Teddy Bear Fund in Lima and they in turn donate Teddy Bears to St. Rita’s and Lima Memorial Hospitals. This year, the club raised $333.00 for the fundraiser. Current President, Deb Burkemier, has been a member of the club since its inception and has seen first-hand, the positive effects of the yearly raffle.

“This program gives teddy bears to children who are in the hospital or visiting the emergency room,” Burkemier spoke with compassion.

“To a scared child, something as simple as a stuffed animal, can bring a little comfort.”

Fort Jennings grade school Principal, Kathy Verhoff is a strong proponent of the club and speaks highly of their unfaltering humanitarianism. “This community service project is a chance for the students to help others during the holidays,” Verhoff spoke with conviction. “It’s a win-win where kids help support a cause by buying the raffle tickets and they can also win a prize.

In addition, the club has collaborated with Fort Jennings High School’s administration with planning social events for the students, including Halloween and other dances at the school. More recently, the Dimples and Grins Mothers donated their time working the lunch stand at the Craft Show during the Bicentennial celebration at the Park Carnival, which raised $1026 for the Park and Memorial Hall. By selling St. Joseph Church Replicas, the club was able to make various donations to community projects including; aiding a number of families in need, the Putnam County Senior Citizen Prom, Ellis Dyes, the Fort Jennings Branch Library, and the Ronald McDonald House. Since evolving from child focused club, they have gained flexibility with their programming. At this time, the club organizes more activities geared toward the men involved in the club including; a scavenger hunt hayride and & ‘60s dance, CPR certification course, a relaxing river boat cruise and a spooky night at a haunted cornfield accompanied by a bonfire.Women’s entertainment includes visits to a spa, taking in a movie, crafts; such as quilting and jewelry making; hobbies like gardening and swim parties at the Delphos Swimming Pool.Today, OCCL strives to educate mothers on all aspects of parenthood. Members consider their OCCL league a “mother’s support group.” In some ways, it offers the support of an extended family that parents can depend on.

There are currently 15 members including; Rita Beining, Chris Trenkamp, Pat Grothause, Joyce Von Lehmden, Doris Wittler, Sharon Calvelage, & Pat Liebrecht, Deb Birkemeier, Pattie Huber, Jill Bullinger, Jane Dray, Marilyn Metzger, Jane Schimmoeller, Linda Burgei and Rhonda Kleman.

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