A LITTLE ABOUT US
How it all Began
In November 1935, 24 remarkable women met to consider ways to aid the Somerset Hospital nursery. With dues set at 24 cents per month, they held fundraisers to augment the treasury. The charter members performed a myriad of tasks -- they made infant clothing, blankets, curtains and hand hemmed birdseye diapers. They then purchased the first incubator and refrigerator for the nursery.
Realizing that additional members would greatly add to the range of service it was decided to increase the membership to sixty women in 1983. Thus, the scope of interest broadened to include the Children's Aid Home, the Gladehurst School for the Handicapped and an education loan fund. To facilitate the opening of the Gladehurst School, the League purchased specially built furniture and outdoor playground equipment.
Thank you to our charter members: Vida Walker, Martha Gnagey, Dorothy Barnett, Peg Wright, Hester Barchfield, Martha McNutt, Romaine Gilmour, Katherine Snyder, Ethel Kantner, Sally Shoemaker, Betty Hershey, Dette Jones, Eleanor M. Evans, Florence Musser, Caddie Dickson, Essex Wagner, Kay Krissinger, Dorothy Seibert, Elizabeth Gallagher, Ruth V. Hoffman, Elizabeth Sifford, Dorothy Courtney, Judy Musser and Elizabeth Varner.
Direct us, O Lord, from year to year in the work we have set ourselves, that of service to others.
Help us to keep in mind the significance and definite purpose of the name we have chosen; that membership in the WELFARE LEAGUE is a privilege as well as an obligation that in considering the work of CHARITY we must remember its other name is LOVE.
Let us not become self-centered and complacent, remembering it is more blessed to give than to receive, that in helping others we are gaining a broader vision of humanity. Let us not be envious or critical of others, but teach us to work together as a unit that our organization may be always a credit to the community and that we, through service, may become happier and better able to live with ourselves. Amen
Sara Roberta Getty, Honorary Member, 1/12/1973
Somerset Welfare League Collect
For many years the League provided linens for the nursery and gradually assumed complete responsibility for furnishing all equipment and supplies including a formula table, resuscitators, bassinets, isolettes, oxygen analyzer, aspirator, vaporizers and a pediatrics table. Building fund pledges enabled us on several occasions to completely remodel the nursery, add a baby isolation room, a formula room, a clean-up room, delivery room equipment and a Father's room.
In 1992 the League pledged $15,000 paid over two years to the addition of The Women's Health Center. Additionally, the League expanded its objectives in 1996 to include other areas of the Hospital. Some of our major contributions include a solarium, EKG machine, Sensograph (mammography x-ray), orthopedic instruments, pathology and medical laboratory equipment and an Emergency Room Cardiac Care System. The League also contributed funds toward a pulmonary care unit, furniture for the pediatric unit, vital life monitoring machines and a digital scale. In 1998 a pledge was made to help fund the MRI unit.
The Somerset Welfare League continues its commitment to fund various projects for the hospital.
THE CHILDREN'S AID HOME
For 124 years the Children's Aid Home has provided care and services for the children and families of our area. In the fall of 2001, a new era began with the Shoemaker Children's Home on the Wheeler Campus. The new Children's Aid Home affords more space, resources and opportunities to serve children.
As the Children's Aid Home programs expand and progress, traditional and important values will remain. Foremost will be that the direct care of the children is the first priority. Furniture and decorations will be planned to create a home-like atmosphere as well as being functional. Normal children's activities and experience will continue such as summer camp attendance, sports participation and dance classes.
New areas of programming and services have been implemented. These include art therapy, family counseling and residential care.
For many years the Welfare League maintained an educational loan fund where money was made available to students seeking higher education.
This program was phased out when federal and state scholarships became more readily available. The League has sponsored students in the Licensed Practical Nurses Program and the Practical Nursing School as well as provided scholarships to qualified Allegany College of Maryland, Somerset Campus Students.
As the needs of the community continue to evolve, so do the causes and organizations we work to support.
Our service record shows a sum earned and expended of over $1 million for the benefit of the community. We, the present and future members, find it a rewarding experience to serve the interest of others.
We will continue to further the goals set by the twenty-four women who founded this organization in 1935.