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Women's club seeks new members for good works, good times

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 7:29 p.m.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
Pat Delesandro, a member of the Xi Eta Eta chapter of Beta Sigma Phi International Women's Club, smiles while running a bingo game at Hempfield Manor on September 25, 2013.

Everyone needs an escape from their busy lives and Xi Eta Eta of Beta Sigma Phi International Women's Club is that getaway for Marilyn Winczowski, the vice president of the chapter,

She has logged 16 years of perfect attendance with the organization she loves and she hopes to see it prosper again.

The group that began in 1931 and once boasted 15 chapters has dwindled down to three chapters.

Eight members belong to the Greensburg chapter; with one member traveling from Latrobe and the rest living in the city.

“I was 33 years old when I joined and working full time, like my husband, while raising two kids. I had nothing for myself. Xi Eta Eta was an outlet for me,” Winczowski said. “I needed a real enrichment from women I could trust. I found people that I could tell anything to and some real friends that were like family to me.”

Now, the sorority is having trouble keeping the sisterhood alive.

Several members have moved, passed away or have been placed in nursing homes.

Winczowski and the recording secretary of Xi Eta Eta, Patricia Delesanero, said they feel the lack of growth might be due to a lack of awareness.

“We need to get more information out and need to tell people what we do in the organization. It is not a college sorority, it is mature fun. We have less press than we used to,” Delesanero said.

Members want to convey the message that this is an organization for women that helps the community and builds friendships to last a lifetime.

“I have seen progress in the past, but we need more information printed and passed along. Years ago there was a spike, but now it is declining again,” Winczowski said.

More rush parties will be planned and a mystery dinner is scheduled for Oct. 9 at Winczowski's home. Members are being encouraged to bring friends and family and women interested in the organization are urged to attend.

Nancy Poznik, a sister since 1981 who serves as treasurer of the Preceptor Gamma Rho chapter, loves having a night out with women who will support her through good times and bad.

“We get together for social events, like a night at the museum or in Pittsburgh, and enjoy the cultural side of the sorority,” Poznik said. “These women also will be by my side with food and company in times of need.”

Delesandro said membership is rewarding.

“It gives me an opportunity to have something for myself. It helps you grow, make friendships and is something I can do on my own,” Delesandro said.

Members volunteer at several nursing homes and with the American Red Cross and the food bank. They raise funds to use for scholarships and an international disaster fund.

More than $200,000 has been raised to aid fellow sisters that face disasters disrupting their lives.

The local group of sisters meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at various members' homes and new members are welcome.

Stacy Skiavo is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.