Detailed Andona History

A DETAILED HISTORY OF THE ANDONA SOCIETY

On March 31, 1952, the Andona Society was founded as a manifestation of the desire of its charter members, Mesdames David Burns, Suzanne Hill, Guy B. Howe, Jr., Warren Lewis, L. Gleynn Yeaton, Jr. to create a charitable organization in the town of Andover.  The name Andona was chosen as a combination of the name Andover with the Latin verb “to give.”  Mrs. Guy B. Howe, Jr. was the first president.

One of the first recipients of Andona’s charitable endeavors was the Andover Home for Aged People.  The members visited patients, remembered them with cards and cakes on special occasions, and later purchased a washing machine, television set, and other equipment for the Home.

At this time, the fund raising events of the organization included square dances, fashion shows, bazaars, bakery sales and plays.

As the club grew in membership and the treasury increased, additional contributions were made by Andona to the Andover Visiting Nurse Association and Andover Red Cross.  In addition, the group sponsored deserving boys and girls at local Boy Scout and Girl Scout camps.

By 1956, four annual fund raising projects were established:  a Fall Dance, a Mid-Winter event such as a concert and afternoon Bridge in the Spring and the organization’s favorite – “ClownTown.”

In 1957, Andona’s Civic Committee learned that the Andover Youth Center was in need of additional outside financial support and offered their help.  This help included providing equipment and trained instructors for the Youth Center as well as volunteer services.

In March of 1962, the tenth anniversary of the founding of Andona was celebrated with a dinner-dance at the Rolling Green Motor Inn.  1962 also saw the inauguration of a $500 annual scholarship at Andover High School.

With the growth of the organization from five members in 1952 to over 60 members in 1962 and with the changing charitable needs of the town, a revised set of By-laws was accepted by the Society in June of 1963.

A group of members initiated an Andona volunteer program at the Bon Secours Hospital pediatric ward in 1964.  Also that year, the society indicated its interest in furthering the development of the town’s new Recreation Park with a generous gift of equipment.

In 1965, Andona added to its growing list of charitable endeavors with a $1,000 contribution to the Greater Lawrence YMCA-YWCA Building Fund.

In 1966, the civic Committee organized a Pilot Program of Pre-School Vision Screening to detect symptoms of amblyopia.  The Senior Active Membership category was added to the By-laws.  The Youth Center received a gift of a trampoline.

In March of 1967, Andona celebrated its 15th anniversary by enjoying a gala dinner-dance.  In 1967, town-wide vision screening was undertaken for the detection of symptoms of Amblyopia in pre-schoolers.  Two $500 scholarships were awarded to two high school seniors, and a special contribution was given to a talented junior girl, enabling her to tour Europe with the Concordia Youth Choral.

The success of Andona’s projects enabled the Society in 1968 to increase its annual scholarships to two $750 awards.  One of the 1968 recipients was the young lady who had received a donation from Andona in 1967 toward her tour with the Concordia Youth Choral.

In 1969, the Society established the Andona Society Scholarship Trust Fund, a perpetuating trust, which we hope will someday support a full scholarship in its own.  Financial support to the Andover branch of the Greater Lawrence YMCA enabled them to renovate the third floor of the Brooks Street building, and it was named the Andona Art Attics.

A new agency called Reality, Inc., recently organized to aid young people having drug or emotional problems, received a $400 donation in 1970.  In addition, a sizable sum was given to the Edward I. Erickson Scholarship Fund which was set up to honor the retiring Superintendent of Schools, and the two annual scholarship awards were increased to $1,000 each.

Andona, in 1971, made a contribution of $1,000 to the Greater Lawrence Joint Hospital Building Fund, this sum being matched by monies from the Stevens Fund.  Summer camperships awarded by the Society to deserving Andover youth totaled nearly $800 this year.

In 1972, Andona celebrated its 20th anniversary with an elegant dinner party at the Montvale Plaza.  One of Andona’s fondest goals was achieved when the Andover-North Andover Family Y launched its building fund drive in February.  Andona responded with a pledge of $15,000 to be given over three years.  An official Andona seal was also designed and the unthinkable happened; it rained on ClownTown day.  In spite of the rain, more than enough money was raised to cover our two $1,000 scholarships.

The success of our fund raising projects in 1973 enabled Andona to donate to the Recreation Park a piece of equipment to be used by special education children and to award scholarships of $200 to two Andover graduates of the Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical School.

In 1974, Andona had the great honor of being chosen for the first annual Lawrence Eagle Tribune Community Service Award.  In winning this award, Andona was recognized as “Number One” among all women’s clubs in the area and was applauded for all the contributions the club had made to the youth of Andover over the past 22 years.  The last payment of $5,000 on Andona’s $15,000 pledge to the Andover-North Andover YMCA building fund was made.  A new high of $1,000 was granted to the youth of Andover in summer camperships.

In 1975, Andona re-instituted a Goals Committee which researched areas to aid with our accumulated profits.  A total of $5,000 was given away as a special project: $3105 to purchase new playground equipment for a special area at the Recreation Park; $1,000 to the Andover-North Andover YMCA for equipment and scholarship aid for fully privileged memberships; $500 to the Andover Memorial Library for the Children’s Room; and $400 to the Nursery for the Handicapped at Christ Church for equipment and financial aid for a child to attend.  Once again, Andona was a winner in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune Community Service Competition, placing third with an award of $50.  A record number of children (30) were sent to summer camp through our efforts.

The tremendous success of our fund raising projects in 1976 enabled Andona to increase its annual scholarship to $500 for an Andover graduate of Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical School.  The amount of our camperships was raised to $1,500 with the hope of sending 35 children to summer camps.  A donation of $200 was made toward the purchase of braces for our Scholarship Child at the Christ Church Nursery for the Handicapped.  It has been 10 years since Andona first introduced a program of pre-school vision screening to detect symptoms of amblyopia.  This year, our Amblyopia screening program was incorporated into a town evaluation program for pre-schoolers.  Andona also held screenings at two day care centers in Lawrence and a St. Robert’s Nursery.  A total of 438 children were screened and 24 were referred.

In March of 1977, Andona celebrated its 25th anniversary by enjoying an elegant buffet and dancing at the Cooley House at Phillips Academy.  A letter of commendation from Andona’s first president, Mrs. Guy B. Howe, was read at this celebration.  Eight of Andona’s twelve past presidents were among the 128 people who attended.  St. Ann’s Home in Methuen, Christ Church Nursery School for the Handicapped, Andover’s ABC, and the Andover-North Andover YMCA were each recipients of $500 of Andona funds in 1977.  The amount of our camperships was raised to $1,700 and $190 was give to the Ballardvale Pre-School for scholarship aid.

Andona, in 1978, reactivated a Goals Committee which researched several areas needing our financial assistance.  A total of $6,000 of prior earned money was disbursed the following way: $2,500 to the Andover Recreation Community School for equipment; $2,000 to the Citizen League for Adult Special Services; $1,000 for a third Andona Scholarship at the High School to be given with priority to a child of an Andona member and $500 was added to our existing scholarship money at the Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational Technical School.  The highlight of our 25th Ball was the presentation of an anniversary booklet.  This project alone realized a profit of $1,276.  We were able to increase our camperships from $1,700 to $3,100, thus enabling many more children to attend summer camp because of our very successful fund raising projects this year.

In 1979, Andona contributed $14,164.90 to various organizations throughout the town.  We again were able to award three $1,000 scholarships to the High School with one going to a child of an Andona member.  We sent thirty children to various camps this summer.  Our services to the community included screening 283 children for amblyopia.

Andona had a very successful year financially in 1980.  Our fund-raising projects enabled us to contribute $7,500 to a variety of organizations.  We were able to award the three  $1,000 scholarships to the High School with one awarded to a child of an Andona member and $1,000 to the Lawrence Regional Vocation Technical School.  We were able to increase our camperships from $1,500 to $3,000 allowing us to send 53 children to camp.  We screened 326 children for amblyopia and referred 23 children.

In 1981, a Goals Committee was reactivated which disbursed $4,000 of prior earned money in the following way: $500 to Memorial Hall Library for a Museum of Science Pass; $1,500 to Andover 766/Parents’ Advisory Council; $1000 to the Samaritans and $1,000 was added to the campership money.  Andona’s total charitable contributions were $12,404 through various organizations in town.  For the first time, the Scholarship Trust Fund Board of Trustees voted to use the interest for one of the three $1,000 scholarships awarded at Andover High School.  We sent 42 children to camp and screened 276 children in our pre-school vision screening program.

As Andona marked its 30th year of service to the community in 1982, the benefits of our fund-raising were again directed across a wide spectrum of need to the children of Andover.  Four thousand dollars in scholarship monies were awarded to graduating seniors.  We were also able to send 40 children to camp and continued our successful Amblyopia Screening and Babysitting Course.  Andover ABC, Christ Church Nursery for the Handicapped, as well as a cross section of youth athletic groups, were helped by us in 1982.

The outstanding success of our fund-raising projects in 1983 enabled Andona to again meet the needs of the children of Andover.  Five thousand dollars was awarded in scholarships – a record for our organization.  In addition, a memorial scholarship for Betty Jo Coppola was enriched by a $500 contribution.

Three large bequests were also given to the S.A.D.D. program (Students Against Drunk Driving) initiated this year at Andover High School; to the Greater Lawrence Hospice Program; and to the Samaritans of Greater Lawrence.  This year, as in the past, Andona was able to assist youth groups by responding to requests with financial assistance.

During the 1983-1984 season, Andona marked the end of 32 years of service to the youth and community of Andover.  Dedicated members gave unselfishly of their time and talent to make this year one of the best fund raising years Andona has ever had.  As a result, Andona awarded camperships to fifty children, staffed and organized the pre-school vision screening program, awarded four $1,500 scholarships to Andover High graduates, awarded $1,300 in scholarships to the Greater Lawrence Vo-Tech School, responded favorably to requests from the various sports groups, supported the residents of Andover with a Museum of Science Pass, an Aquarium Pass, and helped support the Andover Peer Counseling training session, gave additional funds to the S.A.D.D. program, and presented the Doherty Junior High School Chess Club with partial funding for travel to National Competition.  Other recipients included Shawsheen Girl Scout Council, 766/Parents’ Advisory Council, Computer Processing Institute, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Blindness, FOCUS, American Cancer Society, Andover ABC, Ballardvale Pre-School and Camp Aldersgate.

A special Goals Committee researched and recommended that the following projects be funded.  All recommendations were received favorably: Department of Community Services, pre-school equipment and swing set; Christ Church Professional Nursery for the Handicapped; additional money for Andona scholarship (previously mentioned); The Easter Seal Program for Swimming for Handicapped Children; Memorial Hall Library, programs and other needs in the Children’s Room, with some money expressly for the purchase of materials for the fifth and sixth grade levels; Hospice of Greater Lawrence; Samaritans of Greater Lawrence.     Considerable monies were given to the Committee on Substance Use and Abuse for the printing of the ASK booklets and to the Choral and Band Associates of Andover.

The 1985 June dinner meeting marked the end of thirty-three years of service by members of The Andona Society.  With the commitment of members to work toward a common goal, the Society was able to provide the following charitable contributions: $7,000 in scholarships, $4,685 in camperships; $10,250 on other areas including the Carpentry Department of the Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical School for helping to keep our property to good repair, A Better Chance, Memorial Hall Library, Andover Peer Counseling, Committee on Substance Use and Abuse, Andover Band Association, All Town Orchestra, Special Library Fund for an Apple Computer, Massachusetts Easter Seal Society, Windrush Farm, Model United Nations, Students Against Drunk Driving, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Andover Little League, Andover Hockey, Andover Girls’ Softball League, Andover Hat Trick Club and Andover Ski Club.  The Board of Directors developed a method to aid in a more equitable distribution of funds to charitable organizations.

The membership voted for a by-law change reducing points (from fifteen to ten) and meetings (from three to two) for Senior Actives, thereby encouraging more stability in this membership category.

Associate Members are extremely important members of our organization.  To make Associates Night a more festive occasion, Associate Members are now honored at our September dinner meeting.

Under the guidance of the Points Chairman, members had the opportunity to plan their points for the year and also schedule their minor and major chairmanships in an orderly manner.

During 1985-1986, the members of the Andona Society gave of their time and talent to raise money for the “youth” of Andover.  Monetary disbursements included three $1,500 scholarships to Andover High School graduates, three scholarships, totaling $1,000, to Greater Lawrence Area Vocational Technical High School graduates and 35 camperships.  Other contributions were made to the ABC Program, Memorial Hall Library, Andover Football Parents’ Association, Young Widows and Widowers, Boy Scouts of America, The Hat Trick Club, Windrush Farm, Massachusetts Easter Seal Society, Professional Center for Handicapped Children, Andover Girl Softball League, Andover Council on Aging, the Samaritans, National Dance Institute of North East, Doherty Junior High Chess Team, and Andover High Field and Track Boosters.

The Amblyopia screening program screened 315 children with the aid of 84 volunteers.

Andona celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary this 1986-1987 season.  Our financial successes have continued to increase, making our contributions to the youth of Andover very strong.

We were able to give two $1,500 scholarships to Andover High School graduates and two additional scholarships totaling $500 to the Greater Lawrence Regional Technical School.

Many camperships were provided to local youth and once again our membership staffed and organized the town pre-school vision screening program.  In addition, we were able to donate to numerous sports groups and provide passes to the Museum of Science and the Aquarium, available through the Library.

Other recipients of our monies were:  ABC Program, S.A.D.D., The Samaritans, National Dance Institute, Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative, Andover High School Band, Massachusetts Easter Seal Society, Young Widows and Widowers, Ltd., A Child’s Wish Come True, Inc and the Jean Prugh Scholarship.

All of these accomplishments were made possible by the cooperation of our entire membership.  After thirty-five years, Andona continues to be a strong organization, carrying on the wishes of its founders “to give” to our community.

Andona has completed another successful season during 1987-1988!  Due to the continued success of our fund-raising activities, we were able to contribute in excess of $18,000 to nineteen different organizations.  In these days with women’s roles constantly changing, our membership can be justly proud of this accomplishment.

In many ways this year has been one of transition for Andona.  Many members left our organization due to family and business pressures or by moving away from the area.  They will be missed but we feel most fortunate to have added new members to our rolls to help fill their shoes.  The membership “brainstormed” as to our purpose and function which the Board followed with a survey to assist in updating our By-laws to conform more with today’s lifestyles.

From our super successful Ball in the Fall, through the winter’s activities, ClownTown, and finally our annual pre-school vision screening program, membership has come forth with time and effort without which we could not have achieved as much success.

As we look forward to our thirty-seventh season, we can do so with pride and a wonderfully warm feeling of friendship and accomplishment.

As Andona completes its 37th successful year, we have not only achieved many accomplishments and goals, but we have gone through quite a few major changes this year as well.

After thirty-six years, the members were ready for several changes in the organization which proved quite effective, such as a sit-down dinner at the Ball.  Our Mid-Winter Bridge has evolved into a “Spring Gala” sit-down dinner and fashion show.  We had several by-law changes in order to accommodate those members who work outside the home as well as those members who do not have as much time for volunteer work as in the past.  Our scholarship application process was completely revamped so that Andona has more of a part in the decision making of the recipients of our scholarships.  Last but not least, Andona is now incorporated.  Hopefully all of these changes will enable Andona to continue to be as successful as it has been in the past while keeping up with today’s ever busy community.

We were able to continue the tradition of our social/fund raising events such as the Ball, the Spring Gala, ClownTown and the Sidewalk Bazaar in a manner which allowed Andona to raise a profit for the year of $24,584.16.  The raising of these funds enabled the organization to provide the local youth of Andover financial support through the following groups:  Andover Youth Baseball, Andover Memorial Hall Library; Andover Little League; Andover/North Andover YMCA; ABC Program; Professional Center for Handicapped Children; Department of Community Services; Greater Lawrence Educational Collaborative; Big Brother/Big Sister; North Essex Council Boy Scouts; Andover Council on Aging; Andover Elementary School PTO’s; Confetti Kids; Andover Varsity Baseball; Andover Ski Club; Andover High Ski Team Booster Club; Andover High Boys’ Tennis Team; Penguin Park; Samaritans; Massachusetts Easter Seals Society; Andover High Girls’ Tennis Team; Windrush Farm; Andover High Swim Team; Hat Trick Club; Andover Girls’ Volleyball Team; Youth Basketball League; Andover Hockey Association.

We were also able to continue with our annual $1,500 scholarships awarded to two Andover High Seniors as well as a $1,000 scholarship to a graduate at the Greater Lawrence Regional Technical School.  Many camperships were provided this year, as well as the annual pre-school vision screening program.

Andona continues to be very successful year after year due to one major factor and that is its members.  Without the support and cooperation which exists in this particular organization, we would never be able to continue as we have for so long.  Each and every member is to be commended for their part in the success of Andona.

Andona’s success story continues to grow with each passing year and this year, 1989-1990, is no exception.  Again, we were very fortunate to have a great start with the success of the annual Ball.  Our next event was the Andover Santa Parade, which this year proved to be quite a challenge for our Provisional group as they prepared for the parade one week and had it called off at the last minute the following week.  Our group proved triumphant, however, as they pulled double duty on the “balloon detail.”  Our Spring Gala also proved to be very successful with not only a delicious dinner at the Sheraton, but an up-beat fashion show as well.  And we lucked out again at ClownTown.  The weather cooperated and the event continues to grow into more of a community effort each year with the help and support of our youth groups and families.  The Sidewalk Bazaar brought in some additional income for our organization, despite the weather on “day two” of the Bazaar Days.  All our members worked very hard this year and the end result is one that we can all be proud of.  Not only were we able to raise much needed funds for the youth of our community, but we also continued our civic projects as in the past, such as the Amblyopia program and our babysitting course.  Each year, our community becomes more and more dependent on our organization for help and support, and we continue to be very fortunate in having such dedicated members.  The raising of this year’s funds had enabled us to help support the following youth groups of our community:  Andover Summer Softball League; Andover Youth Baseball; Andover Tennis Team; The Samaritans; Memorial Hall Library; Ironstone Farm; Andover High Baseball; the Mother Connection; Prevent Blindness; Penguin Park; D.C.S.; “Y” Basketball League; Andover High Softball; Massachusetts Easter Seals; Andover High Girls’ Gymnastics; Andover Girls’ Volleyball; Andover High Bank; Windrush Farm; Women’s Resource Center; Andover Hat Trick Club; and Andover Little League.

We were again able to fund three $1,500 scholarships as well as one $1,000 scholarship, the recipients of which were selected by our newly formed Scholarship Selection Committee.

This year Andona welcomes one of the largest Provisional groups ever to join our organization, which in this day and age is a very welcome change.  We sincerely hope this trend continues in the future, for without our dedicated, hardworking members, Andona would not survive.  Good luck 1990-1991 Provisionals, and many thanks to Active, Senior Active and Associate Members for a job well done this year!

Because of the exceptional efforts of our membership and the financial successes of our fund-raising projects, Andona was again able to meet the needs of the children of Andover during the 1990-91 season.

We were able to provide three $1,500 scholarships to graduating seniors; two to Andover High School students and one to an Andover student attending private school.  One $1,000 scholarship was awarded to a graduate of the Greater Lawrence Regional Technical School.

We were able to provide 34 camperships, and we screened 375 children in our 25 year old Amblyopia vision screening program.  We had 59 graduates from our babysitting course.

We donated the Museum of Science and Aquarium passes to Memorial Hall Library.  Other monetary disbursements were made to over 25 organizations in our area, including a building fund contribution of $5,000 to the Andover-North Andover YMCA.

We had a record-breaking ClownTown, which brought in over $20,000.  The combination of a very successful Ball at the Andover Marriott and a wonderful fashion show at the Sheraton added almost another $9000.  A very successful and profitable year!

During 1991-1992, Andona celebrated its 40th anniversary with record breaking numbers in event attendance, contributions, and profits!

Andona’s Amblyopia screening serviced over 400 Andover children this year; up 25.  The Provisional Team provided an expanded schedule for the Babysitting course training enabling them to train over 100 teens, which was an increase of 30% from last year!

Camperships also increased by five this year with commitments amounting to over $7,000, allowing 39 children to experience summer camp.

Three $1,500 scholarships were awarded, one of which was the Andona Trust award and the other two being provided by Andona Society funds.  In addition, a $1,000 scholarship was awarded to a Greater Lawrence Technical School student.

Contributions of over $22,000 were extended to over 45 groups in our community as Andona experienced increased fund requests due to tightening budgets.

The Success of Andona’s 40th year came from record attendance at all sponsored events enabling a record Ways and Means profit of over $32,000!  Our “Evening of Enchantment” Ball at the Andover Marriott was a great success with profits of over $5,100; the Spring Gala, displaying a new format with nine of Andover’s stores voluntarily participating and sparked by child models, netted over $5,900; ClownTown was challenging with a wet and soggy start but was a resounding success with the gradually clearing weather, the addition of arcade games, Celtics raffle, and an outstanding ad campaign, netting a record profit of over $22,000; and the Sidewalk Bazaar also coping with weather conditions netted a profit of $500.  A great job done by all!

As we enter our 41st year, due to the promotion by the Membership Committee along with a special Membership Table at ClownTown, Andona’s membership consists of 23 Provisionals, 74 active Members, 29 Senior Actives and 132 Associates!

Andona now embarks on its 41st year of service to the youth of Andover.  Many thanks to our dedicated members for a job well done!

1992-93 was a year for change and new challenges.  The 40th Anniversary Reunion Celebration brought together membership from the 50’s through the present – including several of our charter members.  It was a wonderful opportunity for current members to express our appreciation to those who have given the organization the vitality to flourish over the past 40 years and to give the past membership an update on current activities.

Our Contribution Guidelines Committee developed a process by which all Andover Elementary Schools will benefit from a cultural event, offered system-wide and funded by the Andona Society.

The Andona Society and the Andover Historical Society have developed a new partnership.  The Andover Historical Society has agreed to preserve the Andona Society’s history in its facility – a service for which we are very grateful.

Another new challenge is establishing a new civic project for the membership which best meets the community need, for which we have chartered a New Civic Project Committee.  The need for the Amblyopia Project has diminished through mutual agreement of the membership and the schools – and was discontinued this year.  We expect the new civic project to be in place for the 1994-95 year.

We continue to be successful in the sponsorship of our fundraisers and our ability to provide financial support to the community.  Thirty-six community organizations received grants in the amount of approximately $16,000.  Additionally, three $1,500 scholarships were awarded to Andover resident graduating seniors and approximately $7,000 was expended in providing camperships for Andover youth.

The Ways and Means Committee reported profits of approximately $30,000, with the Sidewalk Bazaar, the Andona Ball, the Spring Gala and ClownTown all contributing profit to the organization.

The Andona Society continues to meet community need because of the contribution of our membership in time, talent and high energy.  We should all be proud of our continued legacy and our ability to change to meet new challenges.

The 1993-94 year brought new challenges and new directions to The Andona Society once again.  The Task Force for the new civic project captured the enthusiasm and imagination of the membership with their recommendation for Safety Saturday, a project in which young children participate will be implemented next fall.   An interim civic project – Spring Fling – was a huge success bringing together nearly 300 Andover Middle School students for an evening of fun and a commitment to a drug and alcohol free evening at the Andover/North Andover Y.  At the recommendation of the Scholarship Committee, the membership approved the establishment of a new scholarship to recognize and assist a PAC 766 student and a commitment was made by the membership to preserve the funds of the Andona Society Trust Fund for the next five years in an effort to establish a self-sustaining scholarship.  The Academic and Cultural Enrichment grant to the Andover Elementary Schools has been extremely successful and will be repeated next year.  Our fund raisers continue to provide the profits to fund our contributions program.  Ways and Means Committee reported profits of $27,562.  In support of youth services, the general membership approved funds in the amount of $30,400 in contributions, including camperships and scholarships.

These are all significant achievements and contributions to our community made possible by a membership who freely contributes its talent, energy, and sense of commitment to the Andona Society and the youth of Andover.

October 1994 saw the inauguration of a new civic project, Safety Saturday, a one-day fair designed to introduce various safety concepts to children from pre-school to middle school.  To fulfill their civic obligation, members had a second choice this year when it was decided to again sponsor Spring Fling.  An interim civic project for 1993-1994, this drug and alcohol free evening for middle school students hosted by the Andover/North Andover YMCA was so successful that another was planned for March 1996.  Andona’s long time participation in the Andover Firefighter’s holiday parade was recognized with the award of a trophy.

Each of our Ways and Means events – slush at Sidewalk Bazaar, the Ball, the Spring Gala fashion show, and ClownTown – was well planned and profitable.

The proceeds enabled us to continue our “giving ways” – $18,968 to 35 beneficiary organizations, as well as three $1,500 and two $500 scholarships and $8,186 in camperships.  We supported educational programs (the Greater Lawrence Education Collaborative academic bowl and the Andover Historical Society), cultural enrichment at the elementary and middle schools, activities for the disabled and disadvantaged, sports, and entertainment (DCS summer concerts in the park and museum passes at Memorial Hall Library).  We sponsored a pilot program of classroom meetings on conflict resolution at Andover High School and helped Andover’s first Odyssey of the Mind finalists attend the world competition in Tennessee.  We can be proud of our contribution to our community and its youth.

In 1995-1996, we experienced the excitement of another very successful ClownTown, the relaxing elegance of both the Ball and Spring Gala, and the most profitable Sidewalk Bazaar to date.  Our net income from these four events was a satisfying $33,423, allowing us to make cash contributions of $25,250 to the youth of Andover and to replenish our reserves.  Seventeen programs at Andover High School benefited from our efforts.  Other recipients included cultural enrichment programs at West Elementary School, the five elementary schools and Shawsheen Extended Day, the MSPCC, Yankee Clipper Council – BSA and the Andover 350th Committee.

We fine-tuned our two major civic projects, Safety Saturday and Spring Fling, with an eye toward their future expansion.  Over the years, demand for the babysitting courses has consistently exceeded capacity, so this year we offered a second, spring series through DCS and the “Y”.  Unfortunately, enrollment was too low to continue and just one offering will be made in autumn 1996.  In addition to our contingent in the annual Andover Firefighter’s Parade, Andona was represented at three other town events in this special year; the 350th Anniversary Pancake Breakfast, Main Street Madness and the Bicycle Classic.

The efforts of the Nominating Process Review Task Force resulted in a by-law change utilized by this year’s Nominating Committee.  A second by-law change marks an increase in annual dues to $25 for Provisional, Active and Senior Active members and $15 for Associate members.  The Private Business Task Force recommended the formation of the new Private Business Committee, an exciting innovation for Andona which will allow us to centralize our efforts in securing the essential support and goodwill of businesses in the community and, perhaps, venture into the realm of major corporate sponsorship.  A Scholarship Task Force reviewed and clarified our guidelines which then were applied in the selection of five highly qualified and deserving graduates.

All in all, it was a very good year, the results of which fully justify the hard work and dedication of our members.

1996-1997 marked a record breaking year for Andona.  Due to the exceptional efforts of our members, this was Andona’s best fundraising year ever.  We began our year with Sidewalk Bazaar and, although the weather wasn’t what we would have liked, it didn’t deter us from scooping.  In the fall, we were taken to the islands at this year’s annual ball “Caribbean Moonlight”.   What a successful evening with a grand profit of over $7,000.  As spring approached, we rolled the dice and shuffled the cards at Andona’s first Casino Night.  Our new theme for Spring Gala was so well received, we were able to raise over $3,500.  Our last fund raiser for the year, ClownTown, was once again very successful and including the PBC donations, we raised a total profit of over $25,000.  Not only did we meet our goals for the year, we surpassed them and a grand total of $36,204 was raised for the youth of Andover.  We were able to provide three $1,500 scholarships to graduating seniors of Andover, and two $500 scholarships: one to a Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical School graduate and one to a PAC 766 student.  Andona sponsored thirty-two camperships and over thirty organizations were provided financial support.  Once again, the Townwide Joint Cultural Enrichment Committee for the elementary schools received $2,500.  This year, we also funded “The History of Dance” cultural enrichment program at the West Middle School.  In addition, we were able to donate to ten athletic groups, provide the Museum of Science and Aquarium passes to Memorial Hall Library, support activities for the disabled and disadvantaged and with great enthusiasm we assisted Andover’s Odyssey of the Mind finalists attend the world competition.  In addition to increased revenue from our fundraising activities, members effectively reduced expenses.  As a result, our funding guideline for the Townwide Elementary Cultural & Academic Enrichment was increased to $2,700, our sports guideline was increased to $350 and our non-profit organization guideline was increased to between $50 -$600.  The budget for next year also reflects an increase of $5,000 to charitable donations and $1,000 to camperships.

Our two civic projects, Safety Saturday and Spring Fling were equally as successful.  Safety Saturday continued its expansion and was able to provide even more safety information to the younger children than they did in the past and Spring Fling, our middle school event, sold out before the event even began.  Students had a grand time dancing, swimming, exercising and looking through the drug education module set up by the Andover Police Department.

The formation of our PBC (Private Business Committee) was instituted this year and it was extremely successful in changing the direction of how Andona interacts with the local merchants and businesses.  We began to centralize our organization’s efforts in obtaining monetary donations, services and goodwill of businesses within the community.  This committee will continue its growth and development next year in securing the support from our local community and beyond.

Two By-Law changes were made this year.  The first change clarified the workings of the scholarship trust and the second one changed our fiscal year so that it begins August 1st and goes through July 31st

The power and effectiveness of the Andona members is truly evident as we continue to carry on the traditions of our founders, which is giving.  In doing so, our commitment to the youth and community grows stronger with each passing year.

The 1997-1998 year reflects a year of complete success.  Every activity, every project and every event surpassed our anticipated goals.  They were all so well planned and executed.  Including PBC donations, we brought in a record breaking total of $55,108.  This year, we were able to benefit from two Sidewalk Bazaars and scooped double the slush, bringing in double the profit.  Our success continued through the fall as we danced and dined at our “Twilight Masquerade” annual ball.  We were on a roll as we gambled the night away attending our second Casino Night complete with silent auction and diamond raffle.  We were dazzled with a profit double from the previous year’s.  This year, we received approval from the town to extend ClownTown to include Friday evening.  This gave us the opportunity to not only please the middle school students with a fun filled night but we also made a stupendous profit, making Friday night something we will continue with in the future.

Due to the tremendous success of our fundraising activities, it was decided we needed to establish a strategy or path for utilizing Andona’s “surplus” funds. After serious review and consideration by a team of members, it was concluded that we would establish a Capital Fund for us to eventually entertain fund requests in excess of $5,000.  Next year, the work will continue and a detailed strategy and process will be developed.  Our first major corporate donation of $10,000 from Enterprise Rent-A-Car was received this year and will become part of this project’s foundation.

Safety Saturday and Spring Fling, our two civic projects, were expanded and fine-tuned this year.  Safety Saturday was attended by 450 families which was a twenty percent increase over last year’s attendance.  The preschoolers were excited to participate at the newly added craft and activity tables hosted by SHED/KIDS Club and Rompers Preschool.  Spring Fling, our middle school event was sold out again this year with over 175 students attending.  They had a great time and wish the event was held more than once a year.

PBC (Private Business Committee) continued to flourish and develop this year in working with the local merchants and businesses to only solicit a donation or service, once a year.  They were able to secure all of the silent auction items for Casino Night, raffle items for ClownTown, as aw raising $6,330 in cash donations.  This committee has created a wonderful working relationship with our community and will continue in contributing to the evolution of Andona’s money raising methods.

Finally, in fiscal year 1997-1998, we made cash funding contributions of $21,340.  We were able to support our youth by the following funding contributions and donations: $5,500 in scholarships, $4,550 to athletic teams, 49 camperships and $5,600 to cultural enrichment programs.  In addition, we purchased a teen suicide hot line for the Samaritans, a puppet for the Kids on the Block Program, assisted Sanborn in the building of their playground and, once again, purchased the Aquarium and Museum passes for Memorial Hall Library.

Our continued support was recognized this year by the Girl Scouts and we were honored at their annual meeting by receiving their community award.  Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm also recognized our contributions by naming us as a silver contributor in their annual yearbook.

Two By-Law changes were passed this year.  One changed the properties position from a standing committee to a ClownTown position.  The other change was to incorporate the duties and description of the PBC (Private Business Committee) into Article VIII of the Blue Book.

Each year, Andona grows stronger and becomes more successful.  This is due to the dedication of the membership to the youth of our community.

The 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 have been wonderful years for the Andona Society.  We have had many successes which are evident in our fundraising efforts, our charitable contributions, our civic commitments and or ability to recruit new members.  All of these have aided to keep the Andona Society strong.

We have continued with our fundraising activities.  For the past 2 years, our first activity has been the Ball.  It was hosted at the Andover Country Club in November 1998.  The Wyndham Hotel was the location for November of 1999, the ball’s most successful year to date.  Both evenings were lovely and all attending had a wonderful time.  Following that was the Casino Night and Silent Auction in 1999 and in the spring of 2000 it became a St. Patrick’s Night and Silent Auction.  Again, 2000 was this event’s most successful year.  Our largest fundraiser continues to be ClownTown which was very successful both years.  We continued the addition of Friday night ClownTown.  Even though there was rain at the outset in May 2000, many middle schoolers attended and the rain stopped just as we opened for the evening.  Saturday, May 20th 2000 started out overcast but the sun did break though and many townspeople came to the event.

Andona has continued sponsoring Civic events.  Safety Saturday occurred in October of both years.  Child/infant car seat inspections were held and, in October 1999, police officers inspected over 40 cars.  New exhibitors included Andover Recycling and the Board of Health focusing on tobacco awareness.  The next Civic event conducted both years was Spring Fling.  Once again,

middle school students enjoyed the evening of dancing, swimming, bouncing, playing mat games and, of course, eating.  It was nice to have the event on a day with no threat of snow and over 160 Andover students enthusiastically participated in April 2000.

Provisional projects again included the popular Babysitting courses.  Two courses were offered in the fall.  The Santa Parade was fun in December – we also had pleasant weather for this event

Our general meetings changed from the Greek Orthodox Church to Marland Place during these 2 past years.  The dinner meetings have been held at the Andover Country Club with food stations which turned out to be fun moving from place to place, allowing time to socialize.  The membership likes this, versus the traditional sit down dinner with more limited menu choices.

Membership was very busy.  The committee attended the Know Your Town Fair meeting in September.  Several evening socials were held for new members during the past 2 years and our membership grew stronger through the addition of quite a few new members who are now called First Year Members, as opposed to Provisional members.  This name change happened in 1999.  The membership team introduced a new logo for our organization this year, updated the font and stationery for the organization and Andona pins were designed.  Each member received an Andona pin and this pin will become a new tradition being given to First Year members at the end of their first year.

PBC continues to be a strong part of our organization with a very committed group of Andona women serving on this team.

Public Relations continued to follow up on members and refine the Blue Book.  Computer addresses have been a part of the blue book for this past year and, as President, I have found this to be a great way to communicate with the Andona Board and with the entire membership.

Our charitable contributions ranged from: camperships and scholarships, to Museum of Science passes through the library, to funding for many school sports teams, to Special Olympic swim funding, to cultural events like “Shakespeare in the Park” and the school cultural enrichment program.  We also gave $10,000 to the Andona Scholarship Trust in 1998 which allowed the fund to become financially viable.  The Trust will be able to fund its first scholarship in June of 2000.

The organization pledged a large sum donation to assist with the building of a youth center in Andover.  At the June 2000 meeting, the organization pledged

$15,000 this fiscal year, $10,000 next year and $5,000 the year after ($30,000 in total).  This project truly fits in with the mission of this organization.

There is also a 50th year committee working towards the celebration of this organizations’ anniversary.  Andona will be 50 years old March 31, 2002.

Last, many by-law changes were made during this past year.  The By-laws were reviewed and updated in their entirety during this past year.  I will not list all the changes as there were so many but the By-laws reflect how the organization is currently operated.

This organization has remained strong due to the contributions of time and due to the many diversified talents of a remarkable group of dedicated women.

During the 2000-2001 season, Andona achieved great success.  Dedicated members committed themselves to the youth and community of Andover.  This was the best fundraising year to date that Andona has ever had.  As a result, Andona awarded camperships in excess of $8,000 and five scholarships for a total of $10,000.  Thirty thousand dollars has been pledged to the Andover Youth Center over the course of three years and the first installment of $15,000 was given this year.  Andona also gave financial support to Windrush Farm, Easter Seals swim program, the YMCA swim team, several Andover High School sports teams, the elementary schools all town cultural enrichment program and SHED kids.

The two civic events were a great success.  The Safety Saturday event in October was attended by many families interested in bicycle safety and car seat safety.  The second event was held in the Spring at the YMCA and 180 middle school children had a wonderful time swimming, eating and socializing for three hours.  A bungee run was added to the delight of the kids!

The Ball was held at the Stevens Estate in North Andover with over 300 people in attendance.  The Ball was successful both financially and as a fun filled evening with high school children playing musical instruments throughout the night.  The Spring Gala was a St. Patrick’s theme held at Indian Ridge Country Club.  The Private Business Committee did an outstanding job in obtaining auction items.  The DJ had everyone dancing!  ClownTown was the largest grossing one to date with the weather cooperating both Friday night and Saturday!  The middle schoolers were out in full force on Friday evening with more families attending on Saturday.  A team of four was formed and participated in the Adult Spelling Bee for the Andover Fund for Education.  This was a good cause and Andona should continue this tradition every year.

The year 2001-2002 was so exciting and historic for the Andona Society.  Andona participated in the Know Your Town Fair in September and the Spelling Bee in April.  The first year member class was the largest ever with 34 new members all enthusiastic and energetic.  The first year projects such as the Babysitting Course and the Santa Parade were still popular with the members.  The Ball was held at the Andover Country Club in November with the theme “Golden Glitz” in recognition of 50 years of Andona.  Over 330 people attended and enjoyed the food and dancing.  The Spring Gala was a truly memorable event commemorating 50 wonderful years of the Andona Society.   It was a Fashion Show and Luncheon complete with guest speakers Senator Susan Tucker, charter member Sue Wilson and past presidents.  We received a Senate Citation from Senator Tucker.  The Private Business Committee once again worked hard getting donations and items from the business community in Andover.  An exhibit at the Andover Historical Society featured the Andona Society complete with old clown suits!  This exhibit ran March-April.

Publicity was outstanding this year with the Townsman and Eagle Tribune running many pictures and stories covering Andona.  ClownTown was a disappointment due to the inclement weather on Saturday.  However, Friday night was so busy that we ended up making a profit.  Sidewalk Bazaar was also affected by rain and on Saturday of Sidewalk Bazaar, the slush cart never opened.  The organization still had a good year financially.  A wonderful sense of camaraderie was formed this year due in part to the 50th anniversary and the great accomplishments that Andona has achieved.

The pledge for the Andover Youth Center was increased from $30,000 to $50,000 over the course of four years and Andona will receive its name on a room in the new Youth Center.  By-Law changes were also made during this past year.  The proceeds from our fund raising events enabled us to donate $10,000 in camperships and $10,000 in scholarships to deserving children.  We supported the elementary schools all town cultural enrichment programs, after school programs at the middle schools, Destination Imagination Team, Windrush Farm, Special Olympics Swimming, Shakespeare in the Skate Park and Andover High School sports teams.  Our organization has grown tremendously in the past fifty years and we should all be proud to be part of this legacy.

The 2002-2003 year was a great one for the organization.  The Andona Society has been going strong for 51 years!  We continue to have many successes in our fundraising, our civic events, our charitable contributions and our recruitment of new members.  We raised nearly $50,000 that we have and will continue to give to children of the community in various ways.

Our fundraising efforts kicked off in November at the Andover Country Club with the 50th Andona Ball.  The theme was “After All These Years” and the night was magical! The evening event made a profit of $10, 855.   Our Spring Gala was a Mardi Gras Party with a wonderful silent auction and raffle.  Many Andona members, as well as friends, danced and had lots of fun at the amazingly decorated event.  The party raised $4,054. The hard work and dedication by the Chairs and Committee members paid off with the fundraising success of both evenings.

ClownTown continues to be Andona’s largest annual fundraiser of the year.  The event was held on both Friday night and Saturday.  We were blessed with better-than-expected weather and the event was well run, well attended and netted $29,043.  Thank you to all of Andona for your participation and for bringing this wonderful event to our community.

Our two Civic projects were Safety Saturday and Spring Fling.  This year at Safety Saturday, we had the car seat checks and an Internet Safety booth.  We also hosted a DNA testing service available for interested families.  Following the event, we formed a task force to look into a new civic project for next year to replace Safety Saturday.  The Safety Seat awareness, possibly due to Andona’s historical efforts, along with access to checks by local police at any time, have lessened the demand for Safety Saturday as originally designed.  The task force was pleased to introduce a new and improved Babysitting Program that will fall under the Civic wing of the organization.  The Babysittting Program will now consist of a Major and Minor Chair and will be available to all Andona members as one of their Civic participation requirements.  All class materials have been updated and restructured to include more contemporary topics and significant “hands on” exercises.  Teams of both First Year and Active Members will facilitate the program. This team approach will give individuals the chance to work together and to get to know one other.

Our Spring Fling event was once again held at the YMCA.  The evening of drug-free fun included a DJ, Dancing, Bungee Boxing, a Bungee Run, swimming, food, and much more.  The event reached 300 middle-school children and provided them a wonderful night to remember!  This event continues to be very popular with this age group.

PBC successfully raised over $5,000 in cash donations.  This group solicited local merchants and businesses to obtain items for the silent auction for the Mardi Gras party as well as for the ClownTown Raffle.  In an effort to forge an even stronger relationship with donors, the group streamlined the method for requesting items from the community.

This year, the organization adopted two major by-law changes.  First, we planned the restructuring of the Babysitting Program under the Civic umbrella.  Our second change was to more adequately recognize the commitment by the Ways and Means position to now fall under the Executive Board.  This position will be held for two years and will be appointed by the Nominating Committee.

In the fiscal year 2002-2003, our total contributions to Andover’s children exceeded $41,000.  We achieved our commitment to provide aid to the youth of Andover in the following ways: by providing five $2,000 in scholarships given to high school seniors for their post-secondary education; $11,952 in camperships were given to over 40 families to enable their children to attend various summer camps; $5,000 was given to the Andover Youth Foundation for the building of the Youth Center; and $14,875 was given to numerous schools and community programs.  Some of these programs included Museum passes that were donated to the Library, Easter Seals, Windrush Farms, All Town Cultural Enrichment, many sports teams, Senior Safari, Pike School Service Club, as well as Middle School after-school programs.

None of the above successes would be possible without the amazing group of women that selflessly give their time and energy to this organization.  Many thanks to all of you!

Our 52nd year, 2003-2004, was another huge success!  Fundraising efforts netted over $45,000.  The organization gave out over $20,000 in general fund requests to 21 recipients, including high school clubs, sports teams, challenged youth, and cultural enrichment and after school programs.  The Andona Society is also proud to have awarded five $2,000 scholarships to high school seniors who are continuing their education.  Camperships were given to over 40 children in Andover.  And we continue to support the Andover Youth Center by donating $10,000 as part of our pledged amount.

Our three major fundraising events are the Ball in November, Spring Gala in March and ClownTown in May.  The Ball this year was held at the beautiful Atkinson Country Club.  The crowd danced under the “Moonlight Magic” and helped raise over $5,000.  Our Spring event was a wonderful Champagne Brunch and Fashion Show.  Over 200 guests enjoyed the afternoon and a $10,000 profit was realized.  ClownTown, which is our largest fundraiser, netted $29,753.  Memorial Park was filled with families and volunteers enjoying the event even as the temperature approached 90 degrees!  The Private Business Committee was an integral part of these events working to secure goods and donations valued in excess of $15,250.  Many thanks go out to the Chairs and their committees for all their hard work and dedication.

Our two civic projects this year were the Babysitting Program and Spring Fling.  Ninety middle school children learned all about babysitting in the six-week course which includes role playing and guest speakers.  The popular course fills up within a week.  The all new structure and materials were a great success.  Spring Fling was held at the YMCA and 250 middle school children enjoyed use of the facilities, dancing, swimming, food, a bungee run and bungee boxing.  The goal of the evening is to teach children to have “substance-free” fun.

In keeping up with technology, Andona is proud to introduce our web site:  www.andonasociety.org.  It is full of valuable information about our organization, our mission, how to join, and how to request funds.  Thank you to the members who spent countless hours writing and editing the information.  To save time and money, we have been sending the Blurb by e- mail.

Once again, my sincerest thanks to all of the Andona members who have made our organization such a vital one to the Andover community.  Your desire “to give” makes such a difference.

Andona experienced many successes and challenges in 2004-2005, our 53rd year.  Due to our diligent fundraising efforts and the reserve funds we carry, Andona was proudly able to maintain a high level of charitable giving, similar to the prior year.  However, the financially strained condition of the Andover school system has caused numerous PTO’s and other interest groups to fundraise, dipping into the same pool of donors as Andona and spreading thin the availability of funds.  We recognize that we will have to achieve greater success with our existing fundraising events and explore other avenues of funding in order to maintain our giving pattern.

On the giving front, Andona made charitable donations of approximately $55,000!  This year, $12,500 went directly to the schools for a variety of programs with a $3,500 donation to the All Town Cultural Enrichment Fund (Opera Presto) and $1,000 donations to every elementary school except South, every middle school and Senior Safari for the High School.  We also gave out five $2,000 scholarships to graduating Andover High seniors (one of which was funded by the Andona Scholarship Trust).  We granted approximately $13,000 in camperships to needy Andover students of all ages.  We also proudly funded organizations supporting challenged youth (e.g. Challenge Unlimited, Easter Seals and Special Olympics), cultural groups (e.g. Memorial Hall museum passes, Andover Historical Society) and various sports teams.  Last but not least, we were able to donate $10,000 to the Andover Youth Center, fulfilling our pledge of $50,000 to that cause.

Through the diligent effort, creativity and energy of the members of Andona, we were able to raise approximately $43,000 this year.  The first major fundraising event was “An Evening on the Red Carpet”, held at the beautifully decorated Andover Country Club on Saturday, November 6th.   Members, friends and family were able to rock to the tunes of Cricket (an amazing band which included two husbands of Andona members) while raising over $7,000.  The second fundraiser was our annual Spring Gala held on March 6th at the Stevens Estate in North Andover.  This year, we were transported to “An Afternoon in Tuscany”, enjoying wine tasting and food demonstrations in this lovely facility.  The Gala netted almost $6,000.  ClownTown, our biggest fundraiser, allowed us to raise an additional $25,000.  Held on May 20th and 21st at Memorial Park, the families of Andover enjoyed this annual carnival despite a few technical problems with the rides and a very cool and damp Saturday.  Every year, it is a pleasure to meet adults returning to ClownTown, sharing their memories of the carnival as children with their family and making new memories to share with later generations!   Finally, the Private Business Committee enhanced all of the fundraising events with the amazing array of goods, services and donations they procured.  In cash alone, PBC supplemented fundraising with over $4,000 including 2 large corporate donations from Wyeth Laboratories and Charles River Laboratories.

In addition to donations and fundraising, Andona continued its tradition of supporting the community with two popular middle-school activities – the Babysitting Course and Spring Fling.  Fifty-seven students participated in the revamped babysitting course.  The volunteers and guest speakers provided the students with valuable information on first aid, child development, and public safety while also providing them with practical skills (how to set up their business, diapering, etc.)  The after-school class continued to be as popular as ever.  However, we decided to combine the two evening classes into one evening session.  If possible, we will explore holding a second after-school session; however, staffing such sessions are usually difficult since many Andona members have young children who need care during those times.  Spring Fling was held on April 2nd at the YMCA.  The middle-school aged students (and volunteers!) enjoyed “substance free” fun including dancing, swimming, a moon walk, bungee run and inflatable boxing as well as lots of pizza, snacks and drinks during the event.

The By-laws underwent their annual review.  The major change involved shortening the active membership requirement from six years to five years.  This was done so Andona can continue to attract and retain a strong membership.  In addition, the duties of each of the Board members were clarified and expanded to reflect actual requirements, particularly in this electronic world.

Finally, during the course of the year, a Task Force convened to discuss ways that Andona could more effectively give, financially and on a civic basis to the community.  Members of this Task Force spent hours conducting a needs assessment in our community by speaking to school administrators, town leaders and parent volunteers.  As a result, Andona initiated a corporate fundraising program, is exploring the possibility of creating a new civic event in the next year or so and is exploring ways in which we might make a significant impact with some of the funds we have saved over time.  We will continue to explore these avenues in the next year.

As always, the members of Andona continue to amaze me with their dedication, hard work and appreciation for the needs of youth in the Andover community.  While we often recognize those members working on higher profile projects, we also thank the many Andona members who have dedicated their time and talents to behind-the-scenes projects, contributing significantly to Andona’s overall success.  I look forward to working with this wonderful team over the course of the next year to continue to fulfill our goals.

2005-2006 has been a wonderful year for Andona!  Our members demonstrated a renewed energy for all of our fundraisers and civic activities and that hard work paid off.    Revenue increased over the prior year by over $3,500.  We made approximately $46,400 through our fundraising events.  In addition, the fantastic response on membership dues plus interest and other miscellaneous donations allowed Andona to net almost $52,600 in total revenue.  Consequently, we were able to continue our high level of giving.  Andona continued to provide $10,000 in scholarships plus $13,000 in camperships this year.  On top of that, we made $27,775 in donations including $5,000 to the Expeditionary Learning program piloted at Wood Hill, $3,500 to the All-Town Cultural Enrichment Fund for the CelloBop program presented at all Andover elementary schools, $1,000 each to Bancroft, Sanborn, Shawsheen, South and West El for literacy programs and/or playground equipment, $1,000 each to Doherty and West Middle for their after school programs, and $1,000 to the AHS Senior Safari.  Andona continued to support challenged youth with donations of $2,500 to The Professional Center for Child Development to help restore their outdoor play space, $1,000 to The Foundation for Children with Behavioral Challenges, $400 to SEPAC for its workshop on college opportunities for special needs children and donations to the Easter Seals Camp and Special Olympic swim and soccer teams.  Andona sponsored museum passes at the library and educational programs for youth at the Andover Historical Society.  Finally, Andona donated funds to a variety of high school and town sports teams and clubs.

These generous donations were made possible by the innovative and dedicated work of our members during the year.  First, we experimented successfully with a change of format for our Fall event, offering “An Evening of Comedy in Aspen” rather than the traditional Ball.  This event, held on November 12th at the Tewksbury Country Club, was a fun and profitable night, netting $8,000.  In the spring, Andona hosted an “Escape to the Tropics” fashion show on March 12th at the Wyndham Hotel, which was well attended by members, friends, family and many others from the Andover community.  This event also made a profit of approximately $8,000.  During the course of the year, PBC also worked diligently to procure donations for the spring events.  They received almost $5,000 in cash donations (including a few large corporate gifts such as $1,000 from the Nathaniel and Elizabeth P. Stevens Foundation) and over $14,000 worth of goods which were used in raffles for the fashion show and ClownTown as well as for prizes at Spring Fling.  ClownTown again caused some anxiety for Andona members.  After Andover (and surrounding communities) experienced severe flooding the weekend prior to the event (with over a foot of rain!), the Town of Andover wanted Andona to delay or cancel the event.  Luckily, we were able to convince the Town to let us operate provided we change our layout so that all rides and booths stayed on cement rather than the grassy areas of Memorial Park.  Despite showers Friday morning and then again midway through the evening, the crowd was undeterred.  Saturday, May 20th was a beautiful day and everyone attending (including the Andona clowns) had a wonderful time!   In the end, we increased our profit over the prior year by $2,000, making $27,000 on this time-honored and beloved community event.   Finally, Andover Days, scheduled for mid-June, was canceled due to the inclement weather but it has been rescheduled for the Fall of 2006.

To round out our year, Andona again continued its civic work through the Babysitting course and Spring Fling.  The Babysitting course was held on Tuesday evenings and Wednesday afternoons.  Despite significant advertising, the attendance was down with only 35 middle school students completing the course.  We are hoping this year was an aberration and that next year’s attendance will increase.  If not, we will have to reevaluate the program to see if it continues to be a viable resource for the youth of Andover.  Spring Fling, held on April 8th at the YMCA, continued to be popular with middle school students.  They enjoyed dancing, swimming, inflatable boxing, a new one-on-one bungee basketball game, and a moon walk.  None of the students went home hungry, with everyone enjoying tons of pizza, snacks, goodies and drinks, most of which were donated by Andona members.   The membership considered hosting a new civic event but with all the other obligations in the spring, the potential Field Day for elementary students failed to come together.  Hopefully next year we can add this new activity or another civic event to give back to the Andover community.

The By-laws were updated this year, mainly clarifying the funding guidelines and the points system.  The membership approved an increase in the funding guidelines for sports and clubs from $350 to $500.  The non-profit guideline was changed to $500 (formerly $50-$600 range).  A category was added for the High School with a guideline of $3,500.  These are guidelines only and the membership can vote to approve less or more as desired for the particular fund request.  Regarding points, the membership decided to make it clear that camperships is a Major position (with an increase from 20 to 30 points).  ClownTown workers are now entitled to 15 points for a full day on Saturday (formerly 10 points) and those working Friday get 10 points (formerly not specified).  For other Andona events, non-committee members who work multiple shifts now can earn a maximum of 15 points so that their contribution does not exceed that of committee members.

Special note must be made to all members contributing to public relations over the past two years.  Andona members spent significant time this year personally delivering checks to some of our donees.  After these check presentations, Andona submitted information to the local papers which was often published.  In addition, many committees, in conjunction with the public relations chair, worked hard to inform the public through the papers and other forums of our upcoming events and of the purpose of our organization.  Through those efforts, Andona has greater positive visibility in the community which helps further our goals to aid the youth of Andover   Thanks to all Andona members for your commitment to our organization.  You make giving fulfilling and fun!!

2006-2007 was a tremendous donating year for Andona!  Once again, our members showed great commitment to our civic and fundraising events and that, combined with some generous corporate and charitable donations allowed us to donate in excess of $60,000 to the schools and the youth of Andover.   This past year Andona continued to provide $10,000 in scholarships plus $16,000 in camperships.  On top of that, we made a whopping $49,000 in donations including $5,000 to the Expeditionary Learning program piloted at Wood Hill, $8,430 to the Andover High School Seismology Program, $5,000 to Doherty Middle School for their engineering lab, $2743 to South School for their literacy program, $1,000 to Bancroft, West Elementary and Shawsheen for book programs/sensory garden, $1,000 to West Middle for their “WEB” program, and $1,200 to the AHS Senior Safari.  Andona continued to support challenged youth with donations of $1,000 to Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm and $500 to the Trauma Intervention Program “TIP”.   Andona sponsored museum passes at the library as well as donating $1670 to also cover the cost of improving the children’s room in the library through the purchase of puppets used for story-time. Andona also gave $3,500 to the All-Town Cultural Enrichment Program to bring in an Asian Story teller to all the elementary schools.  Finally, Andona donated funds to a variety of high school and town sports teams and clubs

These generous donations were made possible by the innovative and dedicated work of our members during the year.  First, we went back to our traditional ball event this year and the ball committee transformed the Castleton into a true Parisian venue for “An Evening in Paris”.  This event was well attended and all who were there were treated to fabulous decorations that really made you feel like you were walking the streets of Paris.  Attendees were also treated to an array of art displayed by Alpers Art Gallery.  The ball brought in just shy of $3,000 in profit.  In the spring, Andona hosted something new and different proving, once again, that thinking outside the box really pays off.  The Spring “Salsa” Event proved to be a huge success netting us $8,900 in profit. The event was held at the Lawrence Elks and attendees were treated to a Tapas style menu complete with Mojito’s and Salsa dancing and instruction.  During the course of the year, PBC also worked diligently to procure donations for the spring events.  They received almost $3,500 in cash donations and over $14,000 worth of goods which were used in raffles for the Salsa event and ClownTown as well as for prizes at Spring Fling.  In addition, Andona was the recipient of a large charitable grant from the Timothy P. Horne Charitable Trust in the amount of $25,000

.  ClownTown again caused great anxiety for Andona members.  Unfortunately, the weather did not break our way this year and we operated Friday night, Saturday and even Sunday in the rain.  Despite this Andona members braved the elements and staffed Friday evening in the pouring rain and Saturday in the drizzle and cold.  The Andover community responded with great support and came to play games, ride the rides and eat some food on days when they would have otherwise remained indoors.  What a great way for the community to show us how much they appreciate all our hard work!   In the end, we netted just shy of $6,000 which was quite a feat in light of the fact that we stood to lose thousands if we didn’t hold the event at all.   Finally, Andover Days, took place in mid-June, and members sold candy, buttons and Arbonne products raising a little over $200.

To round out our year, Andona again continued its civic work through the Babysitting course and Spring Fling.  The Babysitting course was held on Tuesday evenings at Marland Place and Thursday afternoons at West Parish Church.  Through advertising and backpack mail the classes were full and, in the case of Thursday afternoons, we had to turn people away. We will hold two classes a week again this fall and hope for the same level of success.  Spring Fling forged new ground by changing, for the first time, the venue of this time honored event.  Andona members worked hard to move the venue to the Lawrence Technical High School on River Road and the transition was a great success. This year we had 260 middle school kids which was way up over the prior year.  Kids ate pizza, danced, swam, played in an inflatable boxing ring, played inflatable basketball, and maneuvered through an inflatable obstacle course.  Once again, this event proved to be a huge success with middle school kids and we will continue the tradition this year at our new venue.

Andona members considered, once again, a civic event geared towards  elementary school kids. Unfortunately, due to staffing issues, this did not happen. We hope to focus our efforts on this again in the upcoming year.

This year, we had some discussion over changes to the by laws.  A couple of those discussions involved whether or not to increase the scholarship awards from the current $2000 level and increasing the donation to the All Town Cultural Enrichment Program from $3500 to $4500. In the end, the membership voted to not make a change to either of these bylaws.  Lori Paglia, Civic Chair, did some research into what other organizations were offering in scholarship dollars. After speaking with Maureen Wholley at the high school she found that, aside from some major charitable trusts, Andona’s $2000 scholarship remains one of the higher dollar scholarships offered to High School Seniors. We also considered that increasing the amount of the individual scholarships would reduce the funds available to give to programs that benefit a substantial greater number of children. In the end, the membership was satisfied that the $2000 individual scholarships were very generous and we decided to make no change to the by law.  The same was true of the All Town Cultural Enrichment program. In essence, Andona’s gift of $3500 funds this program.  Though members continue to feel this is a worthwhile and special program, they could not justify increasing the amount donated on an annual basis. Members felt that the cumulative effect of the money donated to All Town and the individual grants made to each elementary school was that a large percentage of the Andona budget already goes to the elementary aged children.  The members did not want to increase that amount to the exclusion of children in other grades. It was, however, agreed that we would consider a larger donation as requests were made but we would not make a change to the bylaw mandating a larger donation.

Finally, this past year saw tremendous positive publicity for Andona.  Through the contacts that Linda Cummings made at the Andover Townsman, we received some of the best coverage we have had in recent years. The Townsman sent a reporter to Windham, NH to cover the ball and take pictures of the event.  A nice follow up article appeared in the Townsman the following week.  Also, in addition to other coverage throughout the year, the Townsman ran a front page featured article (with a full color picture, no less) about where our donations go during the course of the year. The article featured one of our Andona members, dressed as a clown, holding up a pie chart of all the major donations made over the course of the year. The article was impressive and ClownTown would surely have exceeded all expectations had it not been for the rain.  Finally, Claudia Bach and the entire school committee recognized Andona’s donations and commitment to the youth of Andover at a school committee meeting in the spring.  In short, there was a tremendous amount of positive out flowing from our community evidencing that all your hard work is greatly appreciated.

Despite the fact that we will have to work hard this year to recover from our lost profits at ClownTown, I look forward to another year of working with all of our members to raise money for our children. This is truly a wonderful organization that plays an integral part in our community.  I applaud and thank all of you for your efforts.

2007-2008 marked a year of rebuilding, refocusing and some tremendous accomplishments. Once again, despite being rained out of clown-town in May of 2007, we managed to sustain our level of giving to all the schools, camperships and, of course, to the scholarship recipients. We ended the working year with a successful clowntown which puts us in a wonderful position to give in the upcoming year.

Our fundraisers this year brought in just over $54,000 in net revenues. This marked over a $20,000 increase in revenue over the prior year!!! What an accomplishment to rebuild and recover so quickly. Of course, this could never be done without the intense commitment and dedication from all of our members. Of course, our biggest fundraiser was, once again, clowntown. After a rainy morning (and a lot of stressful hours on weatherchannel.com in the early morning hours) the rained moved out and we ended up with a beautiful sunny afternoon. In fact, the hardest part of the day was trying to close down the ticket booths as people were still standing in line past 4:00 trying to buy more tickets and extend the fun. The relief and happiness at our success could be seen on all Andona members’ faces. We truly celebrated our hard work and accomplishment at our June dinner meeting. And a well deserved celebration.

Our fall event can not be overshadowed by a successful Clowntown. This past fall, the fall ball committee lead by Ashley Andrade and Kirstin Nunsky transformed the Andover Country Club into a 1920”s speakeasy. With dancing, hot Hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and large raffle items , the ball managed to net a profit of $12,515!!!!! Unheard of in prior years. The entire committee was given great praise by the members for pulling off a such a successful event. As we looked toward the spring our casino committee lead by Laura Hajdukiewicz, Carla Melucci and Sherri Kimball worked hard to pull of a fun event for both the women and the men. They certainly succeeded. The old town hall was the perfect venue for our casino night. The tables were full, local businesses were involved with sponsoring tables, members of the community such as Buzz

Stapczynski and  members of the school community acted as dealers and a great time was had by all. The event netted a total of $3054 which was impressive given that it was held at the tail end of school vacation and there were other local events that we had to compete with. All members that attended would be eager to see another casino night in the future.  Our fundraising was rounded out by PBC taking in $2300 in cash donations alone, cookbook sales totaling $1,760 and another grant of $10,000 from the Tim Horne Charitable Trust. As always, we were able to put the money to good use as well as increasing our reserve for future charitable donations.  Once again, we granted $10,000 in scholarship money to 5 extremely deserving high school students. We recognized those recipients at our June dinner meeting at Ashland Farms in North Andover. We paid out over $10,000 in camperships to families in need, funded expeditionary learning at Wood Hill in the amount of $2500 and gave away over $24,000 to the schools in support of sports teams, extra curricular programs, and academic support. Overall, we injected over $44,000 back into our community to support  the youth. None of that support would be possible with the dedication and commitment of all members and supporters.

Our civic projects were also a huge success. In fact, babysitting was so popular this year that the committee had to run a second class in January just to accommodate the need in the community. The committee worked tirelessly to pull together a weekend course in January that was held at the Massachusetts School of Law. As a result of running two courses we actually made a net profit of $1604 on this event. The money was used to subsidize the meals for the scholarship recipients and their families at the June dinner meeting. Now that we have seen such a success with the January weekend course, the committee is considering it as an open option for future years when the community response is so overwhelming. In addition, we had a hugely successful spring fling event. Once again we topped the numbers over the prior year as we operated at the Lawrence Vocational Technical School, on river road, for the second year in a row. The spring fling committee certainly has this event down to a science as they usher in hundreds of middle school kids for fun, food, swimming and dancing on a Saturday night.

Overall, we began the year optimistic but uncertain of what we would be able to accomplish in giving as our reserves had dropped substantially from a rained out clowntown the prior spring. However, our members never faltered or lost hope that we could turn things around. Most organizations would have, at least, a couple years of rebuilding to recover from having their biggest fundraiser of the year washed out. Not the ladies of the Andona Society. You came back with a vengeance and turned it all around in just 10 short months!! Our cash reserve is back to historical levels and we can look forward to the coming year with an eye towards funding the many worthwhile programs so much in need at a time when the town and school budgets are still being cut.

As I told you in my final blurb in June, I am honored to have served such a wonderful and amazing group of women. You manage to give a part of yourself to the community every year, despite your busy schedules. I hope you all know that every bit you do is very much appreciated by your friends here and the community at large. The sincere gratitude that I have experienced from members of the school community and school administrators allows me to say that with great conviction. I look forward to working with the new board and continuing with such a wonderful group of ladies to fulfill our goals of giving.

2008-2009 was a remarkable year for Andona and a testament to what this group can do.  The world as a whole fell into deep economic crisis as the Andona year began, and economic conditions joined concerns about declining membership.  As such, Andona set off into the year very uncertain about our fundraising ability.  Despite the challenges before them, the dedication and energy of our members made this year spectacularly successful for The Andona Society.

Each of Andona’s three major fundraising events exceeded expectations.  The fall fundraiser, “A Night on the Runway,” departed from the traditional fall fundraiser by offering a “ladies night out,” complete with a fashion show and on-site shopping with local merchants.  Merchants and guests reported that the evening was a success, and the numbers confirmed it; “A Night on the Runway” netted $14,000 for Andona!  Everone agreed that, given the success of this event, it will be repeated next year.

Despite staffing concerns, Andona members elected to continue with tradition and hold a spring fundraising event as well.  Due to positive feedback on last year’s event, the committee decided to repeat the Casino Night format, inviting members and guests to try their luck at the gaming tables; chips were cashed in for chances at door prizes at the end of the evening.  While turnout was thin, the event brought in double the expected revenue, largely due to enthusiastic bidding on silent auction items.  Despite this success, in the coming year, the board will once again consider the feasibility of holding this second fundraising event.

The third major fundraiser, and the largest fundraising event for Andona each year, was ClownTown.  For the first time in recent memory, the weather cooperated on both days of ClownTown, bringing in large crowds throughout the event.  After two very busy days, Andona had raised a whopping $30,000 in net revenues!

Andona’s civic events also enjoyed a successful year in 2008-2009.  The babysitting program continued to teach Andover youth the skills and knowledge needed to care for children responsibly and safely.  Once again, both sessions were fully enrolled; however, there was not sufficient over-enrollment to call for a repeat of last year’s January session.  The popular spring event, Spring Fling, was also very successful, bringing almost 400 middle-schoolers into the Lawrence Vocational Technical High School for an evening of fun and socializing.

This year, Andona continued its mission of supporting youth programs in Andover through charitable donations, camperships and scholarships.  The Expeditionary Learning program at Wood Hill Middle School once again received support from Andona in the hopes that its success will spark similar programs in the rest of the district.  Other schools received funds allowing them to improve technology and other resources in the classroom.  Economic conditions created a larger than anticipated pool of applicants for camperships, so the membership voted to increase the budget for camperships to allow 92 children to go to camp.

Despite the success of Andona’s projects this year, concerns about declining membership persisted.  To meet this concern, Andona made several changes to the by-laws, making membership less intimidating to potential new members.  The requirement of 50 points of service each year was softened, reflecting the practice of forgiving members for whom other demands preclude that level of commitment in a given year; points will still be recorded and used to identify members to be contacted for committee work, but the focus going forward will be on reward and recognition.  In addition, the requirement that all members chair a committee at some point was eliminated, with the understanding that Andona members have diverse strengths that should be used to best advantage.  Finally, members who have reached the end of their 5th year with Andona may now choose to continue as Active Members on a year-to-year basis, rather than automatically dropping to Senior Active status.  We hope that these measures, along with renewed efforts to build social connections between members, will counteract a community-wide drop in volunteerism and increased competition for volunteers among charitable organizations.

Reflecting on this past year, I am struck by the energy, creativity and determination that went into meeting every one of the challenges facing our community and our organization this year.  Even more, I remember the good humor and camaraderie that was a part of every project and every meeting.  2008-2009 has been a successful and rewarding year, and we can now look forward to the year ahead from a position of security.  Thank you all.

2009-2010 was another excellent year for Andona and its hard-working members.  Economic conditions continued to challenge all volunteer groups in our area, making it harder to raise money and to attract new members.  Even so, Andona enjoyed success in both areas.

  The fall fundraiser, “A Night on the Runway 2,” repeated the success of last year’s event.  Merchants and guests turned out to support Andona and build a connection between the community and local merchants, and the event netted a little over $15,000 for Andona!  After two years of the same event, though, the members decided to change things up a little next year and plan a Halloween party for the fall event.  Due to staffing concerns, a spring fundraiser was not held; the decision on whether to hold a spring fundraising event next year will be delayed until the incoming board gets an idea of manpower and funding needs next year.

  The largest fundraising event for Andona each year is, of course, ClownTown, and this year was another banner year.  The weather couldn’t have been better, and large crowds attended throughout the event.  A dunk tank was added to Friday evening’s attractions, intended to break up the dark, open field where the middle-schoolers tend to group; not only did the tank keep the crowd down, but it turned out to be a profitable booth.  Overall, a sharp increase in expenses kept our numbers a little lower than they would otherwise have been, but after two very busy days, Andona had once again raised about $30,000 in net revenues!  

  Andona’s civic events also enjoyed a successful year in 2009-2010.  The babysitting program continued to teach Andover youth the skills and knowledge needed to care for children responsibly and safely.  Once again, both sessions were fully enrolled; however, there was not sufficient over-enrollment to call for a January session.  The popular spring event, Spring Fling, was also very successful, bringing about 350 middle-schoolers into the Lawrence Vocational Technical High School for an evening of fun and socializing.

  This year, Andona continued its mission of supporting youth programs in Andover through charitable donations, camperships and scholarships.  Once again, economic conditions created a larger than anticipated pool of applicants for camperships, so the membership voted to increase the budget for camperships by approximately $5,000 to allow all applicants to go to camp.  In addition, the by-laws were amended to increase funding guidelines for donations to schools, teams, clubs and community organizations.

Concerns about declining membership have persisted, but we ended this year with an incoming class of nine (and possibly more) members, which is an increase over the past several years.  We hope that this reflects a trend!

  Once again, all of Andona can look back on a year of fun and success in our efforts to help the kids of Andover.  Our community is better for the work that our members did this year, and have done for over five decades.  Thank you all.

  2010-2011 Andona experienced another year of growth. The highlights of our year as an organization include success in fundraising at Clown Town, strong Civic events such as the Babysitting class and Spring Fling, charitable contributions and continued recruitment of new members. Continued economic hardship and a smaller group of active members did not hinder the organizations efforts this year. Many members took on several positions within the organization and made the year a big success.

  Our year began with the popular Babysitting course. The committee and two First Year members worked tirelessly to put on two five week classes of hands on and classroom instruction. A January session of Babysitting was organized but cancelled this year when bad weather and school closings occurred. Our other Civic event this year was Spring Fling. The committee worked to get the publicity pulled together after discovering the roadblock of not being able to use flyers for publicity. The evening went very smoothly and the Andona members, their husband volunteers and student volunteers offered an evening of fun for many middle school children. The attendees had unprecedented access to all refreshments, activities, dancing and, of course, use of the pool at the Lawrence Vocational Technical School.

  Spreading the word about the benefits of our organization was accomplished several different ways this year. Our website coordinator spent many hours finding and setting up a host company for our website and updating the site in many ways.  She expanded the site to include pictures of our many events, included publicity for businesses that support our organization. Andona was also a visible presence at the annual Firefighters Santa Parade this year. Several members joined forces to rent a truck and trailer for a float for the second year in a row. They decorated the float with posters full of information about our organization, and candy was gathered and given out to children along the parade route. In addition, Andona was very fortunate to benefit from increased newspaper coverage before and after several events this year. We had three different articles that covered Clown Town, for instance. This coverage helped the efforts of our Membership Chair. She successfully gathered new Andona recruits for next year.

  The Halloween Ghoula was the first fundraising event by Andona this year. The Ghoula committee creatively put together raffles, decorated the space at Andover Country Club with a spooky Halloween theme and welcomed a group of costumed attendees. The event raised $6700 for Andona. A great time was had by all.

  The intense commitment and dedication of our members also made the 55th annual Clown Town a big success this year. The event hours changed for the first time, allowing us to stay open on Saturday evening until 9:00 p.m. and giving us the chance to increase our fundraising efforts. The event raised over $34,000, a record breaking amount of money for our organization. Several members took on extra duties to cover all of the positions required to make the event a success, and what a success it was. Blue skies interrupted two weeks of dreary skies and brought out the crowds.

  Andona is proud of the fund requests granted to children’s scholastic, sports and special interest groups this year. Over $26,000 was allocated to various organizations. The highlight of our giving in 2010-2011 was $5000 donation made to the Andover Public Schools Vocal Music Association. This booster club was formed to inaugurate three new vocal music programs in the Andover Public Schools. Several changes were made in the Andona Bylaws last year, allowing the organization to increase the money allocated to schools. The new guidelines for financial support include increases to the All Town Cultural Committee, the Elementary and Middle Schools, the High School academic departments, Clubs and Teams, and to the Senior Safari.

  The Superintendent’s office and the Andover Coalition for Education attempted to organize a town wide initiative to raise money for White Boards in 2010-2011. Our organization took a look at our funding history for White Boards and discovered that we have donated $6200 over a three year period for the technology in the public schools. Andona is considering further donation to this cause during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. We will debate this possibility more in the coming year.

  This year Andona successfully continued its mission of supporting the youth of Andover. The membership continued their efforts of support to the town with boundless energy and enthusiasm, while incorporating fellowship and fun in all activities.  I look forward to the 2011-2012 year with confidence that Andona will continue to evolve and grow.

  2011-2012 The sixtieth anniversary of Andona, was another successful year for our organization. The members worked hard to fund raise, offered a civic event to the community, generously granted fund requests, and offered scholarships and camperships to the youth of Andover.

  The one Civic event that we offered this year was the Babysitting Course. Two five week sessions of the Babysitting Class were offered in September and October of 2011. Two First Year Team members taught the two classes together for the first time this year.  The Babysitting Team coordinated classes that once again taught child safety and child development using hands on and classroom techniques.

  Andona’s exposure to the community at Andover Days was also well organized this year. Our booth at the event offered us the ability to publicize our organization and to let the public know about our upcoming Ladies Night Out fundraiser. Our first fundraising event for Andona was held in early November. The Ladies Night Out offered an evening of shopping, a large silent auction, good food and a fashion show. The committee worked hard to put all elements together and produced a wonderful evening for many ladies from Andover and surrounding towns. This fundraiser raised $5000 for our organization.

  The Annual Firefighters Parade was also a big success this year. A member donated the use of their truck and trailer hitch this year for the first time. This allowed us to only rent the trailer, saving us valuable funds. The members were generous with their time and helped to decorate the Andona float for the third year in a row. We continue to benefit from the publicity supplied by our presence in the parade and the many posters on the float telling the community what our organization does to help the youth of Andover.

  A decision was made in the middle of our year to not hold our annual Spring Fling event for the town’s middle school children. The Andona members discussed this topic at length but decided that putting this Civic event on hold was a sensible decision. Several factors went into this decision: the presence and frequency of Andover Youth Services dances keeps the middle school children in touch with one another making our event less important, we lost the ability to publicize our event by putting flyers in the children’s backpacks, and we noticed reduced attendance at last year’s Spring Fling. The decision to renew the Civic event next year will be discussed during our 2012/2013 year.

  The 56th annual Clown Town was an enormous success. The CT committee began in January to organize all of the details necessary to make this event possible. Blue skies and warm weather made many, many families eager to get to the Clown Town. Several members took on extra duties once again to work in booths, sell tickets or work in the Finance Room. We were very fortunate to have a First Year Team member step up to Chair the Finance Room for the first time this year. Senior Active and Associate members made the effort to help our active members to make the event possible. The event hours were extended once again on Saturday night to allow our organization to take advantage of the many attendees at CT. Our event broke a record and raised $36,000.

  Andona’s past donations to the Andover Youth Services group made us very interested in the town’s decision to go forward with a building for AYS this year. Our members benefitted from the presence of the founder of AYS at one of our General Meetings this year. Andona and AYS look forward to working with the group in the future to benefit the youth of Andover.

  Andona has once again excelled at recognizing many fund requests this year. We donated $27,725 toward fund requests to scholastic, sports and special interest groups. The organization allocated 80 camperships to families in our town this year, due to the tough economic times and the increase in requests that we received. And, of course, our organization also donated $10,000 in Scholarships to five high school students.

I am grateful to the members of Andona for their support during the two years of my Presidency. The dynamic ladies who volunteer in this organization give me the confidence that Andona will continue to prosper and grow in its mission to support the youth of Andover.

  2012-2013 Andona continued to achieve great things this year.  In our 61st year as an organization, we had tremendous success with fundraising events, held the annual babysitting class, awarded scholarships to five incredible Andover seniors, sent over 70 kids to summer camp, and supported the community with $24k in fund request grants.

  Our year began with Andover Days in which we displayed information about the organization, chatted with interested people about Andona, and publicized our upcoming fall fundraising event, Andover’s Got Talent (AGT).  AGT was held at the Andover Wyndham on November 3rd and showcased some great local talent, including soloists, duets, bands, and even a theater group.  It was one of the most talked about events of the season!  The ladies of Andona even performed the first ever Andona flash mob.  The fall fundraiser netted $6400 for our organization. In addition, we also received a donation for $2250 from Pfizer due to the efforts of one of our first year members.

  The Santa Parade was another great publicity opportunity for Andona and was organized by the VP and her first year team.  Once again, a member donated their family truck for the event, which saved us on the rental cost.  We had many families help with decorating the float and handing out candy along the parade route.  

  New this year was Andona’s participation in the Andover Historical Society’s “Festival of Trees”.  We received so much positive feedback on out “toilet paper inspired” tree that I’m hoping we make it a new Andona tradition!  

  We also held our very popular and wonderfully successful babysitting classes.  Typically, we give Marland Place a gift card donation for using their space, but this year, they asked us to come in and do an activity with the residents.  Members’ children performed songs from “Beauty and the Beast” and the residents were thrilled.  We may wish to continue this kind of “gift” in lieu of a monetary donation going forward.

  In February, the Andona by-laws were reviewed by a “by-laws review committee”, lead by the secretary, and all recommended changes were approved by the membership.  It was also decided that we did not have enough manpower to continue with the Spring Fling event for middle schoolers or hold an additional spring fundraising event.  At this point we have decided to eliminate both from the Andona schedule and concentrate our spring efforts on maximizing our fundraising dollars at Clown Town.

  Clown Town 2013 (57th year) was the most successful CT ever, raising over $40k for our organization.  We had our first ever field sponsor and also expanded booth opportunities, which brought in substantial revenue.  The CT committee, lead by Jodi Saia-Witte, worked extremely hard preparing for the event.  Support from senior active members was incredible and was a huge factor in the weekend’s success.  We also had tremendous support from middle and high school students throughout the day.  Everything went incredibly well and the weather was absolutely perfect.

  In late May we received notice from the Horne Family Foundation that Andona had received a $5000 grant to apply towards our Campership program.  This was very important because we were able to offer camperships above and beyond what our budget allowed.  We were able to offer all children, who were directed to us through the guidance departments at the schools, an opportunity to attend a summer camp experience of their choice.  In total, 73 kids were offered camperships.  

  Our scholarship committee reviewed a record number of applicants this year, receiving over 50 applications.  Five amazing AHS seniors were chosen as recipients and the membership was able to meet them and their families at the June scholarship dinner meeting.  Once again, a very impressive group!

  We also worked hard on a number of organizational issues.  We switched our insurance liability policy to Doherty Insurance of Andover, as it was difficult to get in touch with our previous insurance company.  The membership also elected five new trustees to the Andona Scholarship Trust: Lisa Bradshaw, Carolyn Claman, Sherrie Kimball, Carolyn Page, and Jennifer Priest Insero.  These ladies will serve on the trust until June 2015.  Using Google drive, we created an electronic blue book with all information being entered by individual members.  Carla Melucci, our website chair, created a new membership email distribution list with the information from the electronic blue book.  This has allowed the board to more easily communicate with the membership.  I am hoping to work on a hard copy of the blue book this coming year.

  Overall, this has been an amazing year for Andona.  The commitment and dedication of the membership is second to none.   It is an absolute pleasure to work with past and present members to continue the mission of supporting the children in our community.  I have no doubt that 2013-2014 will be another successful year.

  Andona’s 62nd year (2013-2014), was once again, a great success!  All of our fundraising efforts met or exceeded budget, we had over 60 middle schoolers attend the annual babysitting class, we awarded scholarships to five amazing Andover seniors, sent over 70 kids to summer camp, and supported the community with $22k in fund request grants.

  We kicked off the year with Andover Days and really enjoyed sharing space with the ladies from the Newcomers & Neighbors of the Andovers.  I am hoping this connection might be beneficial to both organizations going forward. We also displayed information about Andona in hopes of recruiting new members, and publicized the fall event, “A Night of Music” with Jim Plunkett.  

  The babysitting course was a once again filled to capacity with 64 students.  Classes were held in October on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the West Parish Church and Marland Place.  This year the course schedule was restructured to fit into four weeks instead of five weeks.  The babysitting committee thought this worked well and we will continue with the four-week schedule in the future.

  The Jim Plunkett event was held on Saturday, November 2nd at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading.  The committee worked diligently to keep costs to a minimum.  We also had a great silent auction, a coupon booklet offering discounts and advertising for local businesses, and a raffle.   The event was able to net over $12K for our organization.

In November, we received a letter from the Andover Dollars for Scholars chapter, informing us that we needed to change our scholarship selection process if we wanted to maintain our affiliation with Dollars for Scholars (DFS).  In short, we would no longer be able to select our own recipients – they would need to be chosen by a DFS selection committee through a DFS application process.  Since this would be a massive change to our bylaws and our overall scholarship process, we decided to call a meeting with our scholarship trustees, past presidents, past civic chairs, and members who had served on the scholarship selection committee.  After much discussion, the group decided that we would maintain control of our scholarship process and lose the Dollars for Scholars affiliation.  The main concern was that we would lose our ability to select recipients based upon the criteria we have set up (those which align with our mission) and there would be no way to move the PAC scholarship under the Dollars for Scholars umbrella since it does not use an application process.  This will of course mean that our recipients will lose any DFS benefits, but after reviewing other local scholarship awards, it seems there are a large number of organizations that maintain their own process.  We can always revisit this decision in the future.

  The Santa Parade is always an important publicity opportunity for Andona and was once again organized by the VP and a first year member.  Since the weather did not cooperate, we kept the float decorations to a minimum, but we had a number of families show up to march and pass out candy along the parade route.  

  Stop N Shop in Andover presented us with a check for $1500.  We dressed up in clown costumes and snapped a photo with some Stop N Shop employees holding a “big check”.  This photo was publicized in the Stop N Shop newsletter and posted on our website.

  In the spring, we were contacted by Hometown Talents and Treasures and asked if we were interested in doing a video clip to publicize Andona and Clown Town 2014. It was a great way to get our message out. We also reached out to the Townsman and they did an article about Andona and our need for new members.  This seemed to be very successful as we did have a number of ladies contact us about joining.  The Andona website has also been very helpful in keeping people updated on everything related to the organization and providing a way for people to reach us with questions.

  Clown Town 2014 (58th year) was once again a huge success, despite early week weather predictions that the weekend would be a total wash out.   Even though we had multiple down pours on Friday night, we were able to raise approximately $35,000.  Field and booth sponsors brought in substantial revenue before the event.  Going forward, this will be key for ensuring CT success.  We did have concern about the logistics of actually using the Sunday rain date and decided that we should probably have more in depth conversations with the town and the rental company, just in case we ever need to move to Sunday.  The CT committee, lead by Melissa Litton and Suzanne Miller, worked extremely hard preparing for the event.  Support from members and especially the student volunteers was a key factor in the weekend’s success.

  The Civic arm of Andona also had a very busy spring.  Our scholarship committee reviewed 40 applications this year.  Five incredible and deserving AHS seniors were chosen as recipients and were invited, with their families, to attend the June scholarship dinner meeting.  Once again, it was a very impressive group!  

  Our Campership chair worked with the guidance departments at the schools to offer children, from families in need, an opportunity to attend a summer camp experience of their choice.  In total, 78 kids were offered camperships.  

It has been my pleasure to serve as Andona president for the last two years.  I can’t thank everyone enough for all of your hard work and support.  I look forward to meeting many new members over the coming years and can’t wait to see what the future has to offer the wonderful women of Andona.

  Andona’s 63rd year (2014-2015) was another year of growth and positive change.  Many successes were achieved by a shrinking Active membership who stepped in to multiple roles in order to grow our fundraising and offer Civic opportunities.  We were very fortunate to maintain an experienced Board who took the lead in several new ventures.  The summer was eventful for a few members who rolled up our sleeves and donated much of the unused material stored in the barn and cleaned it out, decreasing our footprint by more than half.  We continue to be grateful to the Lindsay family for donating this storage space and welcoming our group to load/unload when needed.

Summer was quickly followed by the busy Fall season, which included a successful Andover Day and publicity for our Oktoberfest event.  This was our second year at the Hillview Country Club, which was another wonderful evening with a live band, fun games, and amazing silent auction.  Led by a great group of women, we raised over $9,700, which was over budget.

On the Civic end, Andona had 65 participants in the annual Babysitting course.  The registration process was streamlined by the committee in advance, which proved to be a great improvement for our volunteers.

As we moved into the Winter season, Andona had a good turnout for the annual Firefighter’s Santa Parade, where we carried the banner and pulled wagons with signs.  We decided to pass on the float for this year, but this could certainly be revisited any time that a small committee would like to create one.  We spontaneously piloted a new event that could become an annual tradition: Shine the Light on Andover, which involved a few members who lit candles on their walkways after dark on the Winter Solstice, December 21.  The goal would be to have entire neighborhoods participate in this low cost but beautiful community event and create an annual revenue source for Andona.  Use of the Andona Facebook page and articles in the Townsman provided us significant media coverage for all of these events.

Our new member social was held at the Vice President’s home in February and included several new members, Board members, and our spouses.  This annual tradition continues to be a fun and well attended night to socialize and welcome our new members to the group.

Bylaws and Policies were reviewed and updated during two meetings.  Major changes included deletion of all mention of points, “First year” or “Provisional” membership, and a change in the order of business.  Given our shrinking attendance at General Membership meetings, Fund Requests will now be considered after the Executive Officer reports.  Board positions were clarified and updated as well.  This was important to complete prior to the publication of Andona’s first Blue Book in many years. Many hours were spent updating membership lists based upon the expressed interest of members, dues payment, and/or active participation in Clown Town or other efforts of Andona.  Thank you to Flagship Printing for donating the Blue Books.

Clown Town planning coincided with work on Campership and Scholarship efforts.  Our Clown Town chairs worked tirelessly in advance (and up to the last possible minute) to obtain sponsors, which have become a major source of revenue for this event.  An official plan was put into place in case of a major rain event that would require a Sunday rain date, which involved contacting all vendors and asking Andona members to check their Sunday availability on the Google doc when they sign up for shifts.  We were fortunate to have beautiful weather even with the annual predictions of rain!  This brought crowds of happy families on Friday night and Saturday.  Excellent signage to highlight our sponsors, ticket prices, and new bathroom location (Senior Center) helped families to navigate the crowds.  This year we had the added expense of a Fire Department detail in addition to the Police detail.  However, with our amazing team in place, we made over $37,000.  Planning for the 60th Clown Town (2016) was already underway while open and running this year!

In addition to the two main fundraisers, Andona was honored to be chosen by a local bank and exercise studio for donations of several hundred dollars.

Fundraising monies went to fund five $2,000 scholarships for wonderful graduating seniors after the Scholarship committee considered almost 30 applications.  Some of the graduates and their families were able to join us at the Annual Dinner Meeting, which was held in Andover at the Lanam Club on June 10.  Camperships were awarded to nearly 70 children who would benefit from a week at camp and otherwise not be able to afford it.  This annual tradition is a favorite of many members and highly respected by the Town and residents.  We were pleased that there was no wait list this year for families and that all children were funded.  More than $20,000 in fund requests were awarded to the schools, enrichment clubs, and teams.

This was an extremely successful year for the women of Andona and I am so excited to see how the upcoming year unfolds.  Thank you to all the members who made our 63rd year so much fun.

Andona’s 64th year (2015-2016) was, quite possibly, our most successful to date.  This year was best characterized by two overriding themes: Clown Town’s 60th birthday and a significant push to publicize our mission and membership needs with other civic and Town of Andover boards.  

Thanks to an experienced Board and a very helpful membership, we started the year off with a shared table at Andover Day, where we publicized the Shine the Light on Andover candle kits.  Kits were bought, assembled, and delivered by two members.  They included 12 tea lights and white lunch bags; directions and the date were included.  The decision was made to register for our own table next year in order to have necessary space to sell more kits and grow this fundraiser.  This year we sold 200 in total, which was a wonderful start!  Families decorated and lit the candles on December 20, this year’s Winter Solstice.

The annual Babysitting course was a success once again.  The course was held over 4 evenings and attended by middle school students.  The enrollment was less than in previous years, so only one course was necessary.   There is discussion about hosting an all-day course during a day when school is not in session next year rather than four evenings.

In November we held a very successful celebration of Andona’s history, in particular the 60th anniversary of Clown Town.  We held the event at the Hillview Country Club on November 14; the night included dinner, dancing, and huge silent auction.   A colorful brochure was printed that included ads from local businesses.  The theme was the 1950’s to celebrate the decade when Andona and Clown Town began.  Senior active members were highly encouraged to attend and we saw many lovely ladies return to celebrate with us.  Décor included Coke bottles, poodle skirts, a “selfie” area with 50’s props, signs highlighting Andona accomplishments through the decades, and Andona scrapbooks.  Our Clown Town DJs and the Cushing family were invited to attend as our guests.  We were joined by our long-time Saturday DJs, Al and Russ, along with their wives.  Thanks to the sponsor advertisements and silent auction, we were able to raise approximately $14,000, which was well over our budget.

Several members were available to walk in the annual Firefighter’s parade (Santa parade) in November.  This year the parade was held late in the day and the decision was made to avoid throwing candy in the dark.  We had a member’s SUV decorated with battery-operated letters that spelled ANDONA, which was a very special touch once the sun went down.

Over the winter members began to organize for Clown Town, hosted a new member social, and were contacted by the Andover Guide for an article on our history and mission.  Throughout the year I contacted various community and civic groups in order to publicize our fundraisers, need for meeting and storage space, and need for more members. Groups included Andover Youth Services, Rotary Club, Department of Community Services, School Committee, Superintendent’s office, Andover Coalition for Education, Board of Selectmen, all town PTO, and Family to Family.  In March I presented to the School Committee and in June met privately with the Superintendent to increase awareness of Andona.   Each group expressed support and gratitude for the efforts of our group!

Policies and Bylaws were again reviewed and updated to better reflect the current membership numbers and Board position descriptions.  A suggestion to decrease the number of meetings held was reviewed and added to the Bylaws.  A new Blue Book will be published in the Fall of 2016 once we have a better grasp of our membership numbers.

We were contacted by the owner of Andover Animal Hospital, who has generously donated storage space to Andona for many years.  The time had come that they needed that space for their business and asked us to remove the supplies that remained after last year’s clean up.  We were fortunate that they allowed us to wait until Clown Town Friday so that we didn’t have to move twice.  We were also fortunate to secure a free locked space with Harrington’s Moving and Storage, which is where we loaded everything after the Saturday of Clown Town.  The new storage area is available for one year as of now and is locked with a combination lock.  As of now, the storage area is full of tents, finance bins, and kiddie games among various other items.  We have asked the Town of Andover for a space to put a shed behind the Senior Center for long term storage.

Clown Town was hugely successful this year even though we had a smaller committee than ever!  The weather was ideal and the crowds really showed up.  We did a huge publicity push in the weeks prior, including creating a new logo, new yard signs, social media, and articles in the Andover Townsman.  This year the decision was made to cut food sales that would require a ServSafe certification.  We continued to offer donated items, including slush, coffee, sodas, water, and chips.  We increased the number of business sponsors that we had on the field, so the profit/loss was worthwhile.  This is reflective of the way that members are now working to be more streamlined as our membership numbers shrink.  Another change was in the Finance room, which we staffed with fewer counters and will continue to do in the future.  Strong consideration is being given to having Marian Cushing in the counting room next year to make the final reconciling process work more quickly and smoothly.  We were delighted to find out that we had a record-breaking profit of approximately $44,000, which was well above our budget!

The June Annual Dinner meeting was held at Samuel’s at the Andover Inn for the first time this year.  This was a fun filled evening and very well-attended by our five scholarship recipients and families, as well as a number of potential new members.  We continue to pay for the meals of the guests and to keep the price affordable for our members.  This was the second year for the Executive Board members, so announcements naming the new Board were enthusiastically received.  Welcome to all!

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as President during the past two years.  I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished in this short amount of time.