What We Do
Consistent with the mission of the NSDAR, the Lakeland chapter places a premium on providing high-quality, in-depth historical education to our members and guests. To that end, our meetings are packed with interesting and engaging topics. Speakers are always of the highest quality, providing entertaining and substantive information. Our meetings are extremely interactive, often featuring games and activities with an educational purpose. In addition, at each meeting, a variety of members provide fascinating reports on topics including conservation, literacy promotion, veterans affairs, national defense, flag protocol, American Indian history, DAR schools, and the DAR Museum.
Our monthly meetings have recently have been conducted hybridly -- in-person and Zoom, providing members and guests a choice of how to participate.
In addition to the general meetings, monthly Tea Talks are facilitated by our regent and first vice-regent. Often in costume, these hostesses oversee a virtual tea during which Zoom attendees discuss articles in the DAR's American Spirit magazine.
Special programs are often recorded and provided for viewing on our private Facebook page. An example is a program at Thanksgiving given by a members who is descended from four Mayflower Pilgrims. Other examples include our Memorial Service for Deceased DAR sisters and our National Day of Prayer event, which was conducted virtually on Zoom and recorded for those who could not attend.
The education of young people is a serious focus of the Lakeland chapter. We support NSDAR and FSSDAR scholarships, while concentrating on local students with the awarding of our own Good Citizenship Awards (open to high school students) and American History Essay Contest (open to middle school students). Our annual George Washington Tea is the usual time for honoring these awards winners, as their families, counselors, and school principals join us for an afternoon event in February.
Our chapter supports various projects for veterans and soldiers. To honor Polk County soldiers, our chapter name's appears on a brick in Bartow's Millennium Park and on Lakeland's Vietnam War Monument. The chapter and members also donate to Haley House, which houses military families with family members in the nearby James A. Haley VA Hospital. We award JROTC medals to the outstanding cadets at five high schools and an ROTC medal to a cadet at Florida Southern College. We support Flight to Honor both monetarily and by our presence at welcoming ceremonies held at Lakeland’s Linder Airport. Since 2013, members of the Lakeland Chapter have welcomed World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans home. In 2016, our chapter dedicated a monument in Lakeland's Veteran Park to the women of Polk County who served in WWII. The chapter routinely participates in Veteran Day activities and observances. For several years, we have hosted a Food and Wine fundraiser, the proceeds of which have gone to veterans' projects. At every meeting, members write notes of gratitude which are then mailed to veterans at the Veterans Hospital.
Blessed with a registrar who is an acclaimed national expert in the field, our chapter sponsors well-attended public genealogy workshops. Hosted by DAR Genealogy Consultant Gayle Londeree. our March 2021 workshop is being co-sponsored by the Polk History Center in Bartow and is part of its yearlong genealogical program. This chapter's emphasis on genealogy is of long duration. The Jeannine Riley Minisci Collection of genealogy books, located in the DAR chapter house, Rhinebeck, New York, was compiled by a member of the Lakeland Chapter. We also donate books to the Lakeland libraries and Bartow's Historical and Genealogical Library.
The promotion of literacy is a key component of the Lakeland chapter's mission. In 2020, we began an ongoing project of constructing and installing little lending libraries, offering them to neighborhoods throughout the city. The libraries are stocked by the Private Vaughn chapter of the Children of the American Revolution, which our chapter helped establish and continues to support.
Our chapter has an enthusiastic conservation committee. In addition to various environmentally-friendly projects, we enjoy field trips to local gardens and arboretums. It is our many-year tradition to honor our deceased members each year on Arbor Day with a memorial service and the planting of a tree by the City of Lakeland.
The Lakeland chapter is active on every level of the NSDAR structure: local, regional, state, and national. Our members routinely serve on committees at the state level. We send delegates to the state conference, fall forum, and to Continental Congress in Washington, D.C. Several of our members are recognized subject matter experts and are DAR Museum corresponding docents. These ladies are sought-after speakers at chapters and conferences throughout Florida.
If you are interested in finding out more information about our chapter's activities, contact our regent, Suzanne Ellsworth or read more about them here: