My 50 Years With the League
Mary Lou Dondero, LWV Chester County
I knew about the League long before I joined, thanks to the League’s “Voters Guide,” when I lived in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County. When my husband, children and I moved to Westtown Township, Chester County, a new friend who was a League member – and still is – Karen Satterthwaite, invited me to go with her to a League orientation meeting. Needless to say, it was love at first sight.
At that time, there were three Leagues in Chester County and I became a member of the League of Women Voters of Central Chester County. I consider myself somewhat of a perpetual student; someone interested in learning new things, so the League was a natural place for me to be. There were so many different committees, outside speakers, and lots of Action items! Even though my five girls were mostly toddlers, it was easy to participate in Board or member meetings because there was always a babysitter. I was first asked to join the Board as Treasurer, and later, as Secretary and President of the Central League.
My major interests in the League are Voters Service, the Environment, and most recently, Civil Liberties, when we studied the Supreme Court decisions regarding Campaign Finance. For several years, I have been the Voters Service chair of the Chester County League, and thanks to many dedicated and enthusiastic members – including Ginger Whittington and Joyce Shaffer – we have a very busy and exciting schedule. We attend the three Naturalization ceremonies held yearly, providing a packet of information and then registering the new citizens to vote at the reception following the ceremony. In the spring, we visit the public and private high schools to register their eligible students. In the fall, we visit the county libraries to provide registration opportunities. We also regularly attend community events throughout the county to register voters and provide information about coming elections. We also sponsor candidates’ debates for Congressional and General Assembly seats, as well as for Township and School Board races. Each year, we publish a Legislative Directory, providing contact information for federal, state, and local legislators. We are fortunate to have ongoing sponsorship of the Directory from Exelon Generation. We also publish a bookmark of non-partisan websites and the current election calendar. One our new members, Debra Gallek, sponsors the bookmark.
My professional life was as a teacher of homebound students for the West Chester Area School District. These young people, many of whom faced difficult challenges, were a constant source of inspiration.
My deepest gratitude goes to the League and all its wonderful members for a great 50 years! But there is still a lot left to do!