Photo by Betty Pauwells

Club News and Events

Memory Books

Our new project on board is Memory Books for the Belknap County Nursing Home residents.

Anita, a former Altrusan, was the first to receive her book. We are interviewing the resident, gathering pictures, life events & family input to design a book made especially for them.

This week the 2nd is in the works, it's a project that is truly a labor of love when you see the interest they have in this project made about their life.

Pumpkinfest 2019!

Altrusa of Laconia participated in the annual Pumpkin Fest on Saturday, October 19th in downtown Laconia. It was a beautiful autumn day!

Some of the member served food & drinks for Hector’s Restaurant in their outside tent throughout the festival. Money received from the proprietor was donated to our scholarship fund.

At the Belknap Mill Community Fest which coincided with the Pumpkin Fest our members prepared & set up an Altrusa display with pumpkin and acorn mazes available for passerbys.

Adrienne Stevens Memorial Bench

Recently Altrusa Int. of Laconia placed a granite bench at Winnipesaukee Playhouse performing arts theatre in memory of Adrienne Stevens who served many years as an Altrusan most recently served as president of our club.  Adrienne loved the theatre and attended all performances..we thought it only appropriate to place the bench for all to enjoy and remember her.

Altrusa Scholarship Winners!

A big thank you to Calise House, owner of Happy Cow ice cream who has graciously supported Altrusa International of Laconia's scholarship fund again this year. This is the 2nd year the Happy Cow has given part of the proceeds from their ice cream sales to Altrusa.

Pictured seated front row: Scholarhip receipents: Callie McGreevy( Rose Emery Scholarship) Jennifer DeCoff (Dr.Alice Normiandin) Row: Parents of receipients & Altrusa members

Belknap County Nursing Home Donation

Our recent donation went to Belknap County Nursing Home requesting funds for raised beds and planting items.

The residents wanted something they could work in easily. They have planted vegetables, herbs and flowers. They also planted in container pots as well. The residents enjoyed doing the planting and are awaiting their produce.

They are one of our monthly visits to celebrate birthdays with the residents.


Tri-Club Birthday Party!

On April 9th, the Meredith, Carroll County & Laconia Altrusa clubs met for their annual "Tri-Club Birthday Party" Hosted this year by the Laconia Altrusa club, the event was held at the Taylor Community with a buffet dinner and guest speakers for entertainment.

Guest Speakers were Sharon Cavanaugh & Robert (Dashi) Young. Sharon is a retired police officer who now works for Belknap County in the Restorative Justice Program, where she works with offenders rehabilatating  them to perform well upon exit.  Robert is a 10th degree black belt & the owner of Eastern Dragon Karate & Self Defense Center.  The two taught & demonstrated defensive techniques to the Altrusans in attendance. They discussed and made us aware of the dangers in our own community. They also handed out self-defense products.

Thanksgiving Dinner Donated

Altrusa of Laconia members, Carla Peterson & Marcia Dionne recently donated Thanksgiving Dinner to residents at Belknap House, a local homeless shelter.

Science Tellers at Laconia Library!

Altrusa International of Laconia sponsored SCIENCE TELLERS at the Laconia Library on August 15th.

Five of the Literacy Committee we able to attend. It was a wonderful and entertaining program.

Literacy promotion & science experiments are combined to WOW the children in the audience!

CLiF Event at Laconia Public Library!

Six members of Altrusa International of Laconia assisted with the CLiF event at the Laconia Public Library on  July 26.

The storytelling of Simon Brooks and Gail Drucker was followed by 2 free books given to children who attended.

Pictured are Deanne Murphy and Barbara Laros with Jan Streifer of  Laconia Got Lunch and Literacy.

Happy Cow Ice Cream Helps Out!

Happy Cow

On National Ice Cream Day, Sunday July 15th, the Happy Cow Ice Cream Shop generously agreed to share a portion of their profits with Altrusa International of Laconia to assist in funding our scholarship program.

Each year, Laconia Altrusans meet to pick deserving candidates in four categories: Healthcare, Business, Education, and Athletic.

Altrusa of Laconia was very excited to spend National Ice Cream Day serving the community the Happy Cow’s great ice cream.

The day ended with a $500 donation! Thank you so much to Calise Houle and the entire crew at Happy Cow Ice Cream!

Scholarship Awarded To Local College Woman

Altrusa International of Laconia recently awarded a $1,000 college scholarship to a local woman, Gualdalupe deLeon Garcia of Laconia, NH.

Gualdalupe received a Dr. Alice Normandin scholarship, for a Lakes Region woman pursuing a degree in the health field. Ms. Garcia is attending River Valley Community College in Claremont, NH and is studying to become a medical lab technician.

Each year since 1963 Altrusa of Laconia has awarded scholarships to deserving young women. As a 501(C) 3 non-profit entity, all club monies are raised through various fundraising activities and donations, and then redistributed back into the local community in the form of scholarships, donations, and projects that meet the mission of Altrusa.

For more information about Altrusa of Laconia, please visit their website:

Pictured Front: Barbara Laros, Adrienne Stevens, president of Altrusa International of Laconia, Gualdalupe deLeon Garcia, Tracie Grant. Back: Marcia Dionne, Nancy LeRoy and Jan Gilbert.

Altrusa Sponsors LITTLE FREE LIBRARY at VISTA Foods

Altrusa International of Laconia has joined the growing number of organizations sponsoring the LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES trend. The library which promotes “take a book, return a book” is for all ages. LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES are located throughout the world and travelers can go onto the website: to find their locations.

Altrusa wanted to set up a LITTLE FREE LIBRARY and thought the south area of Laconia would be a good location. Bob Fitzpatrick, Manager of VISTA Foods, was contacted and he was happy to help. The Altrusa Club had the bookcase built and stocked it with books for all ages. On Saturday, October 28th, it was placed in the vestibule of VISTA Foods on South Main Street where it will be protected from bad weather. Now residents will be able to purchase their groceries and pick up a book to read!

In addition to the Laconia Store, VISTA has locations in Newport and Richford, Vermont. Visit their website: for weekly ads, recipes and free coupons.

The Altrusa Club of Laconia is a group of individuals who volunteer their time and efforts to improve their community. Part of Altrusa International, Inc., which recently celebrated 100 years of community service, the Laconia Club is part of District I, which includes clubs in Maine, NH, VT, Mass, CT, Quebec and Bermuda. The Laconia Club has been in existence since 1945. Their major fundraiser, “Taste of the Lakes” is held each spring; all proceeds from the event go to projects that make a difference in the community. Visit their website: for more information.

Courtesy photograph (pictured left to right): Sue Clauson, Altrusa Literacy Co-Chairperson, Adrienne Stevens, President of Laconia Altrusa and Bob Fitzpatrick, Manager of VISTA FOODS.

Hope Makris - 50 Years of Service!

Ann Rash, District One Governor, presents and attaches a 50 year member of Altrusa pin on Hope Makris of Altrusa of Laconia, NH on October 10, 2017. 

Hope is one of only 3 members of District One who have been in Altrusa for 50 years or more.  Hope joined Altrusa of Laconia in 1958. 

It was a wonderful evening to share this celebration with Hope!

Altrusa International of Laconia  creates “Book Nook”for Belknap House

Members of Altrusa of Laconia wanted to help the new Belknap House when they learned about the potential new shelter for homeless families. While viewing the site we visualized a reading area under the beautiful staircase. This set in motion the purchase of bookcases, a rug, wall hangings, soft pillows to sit on ~~ and of course, the gathering of lots of books for children and adults!

March 8th, 4 members of the Literacy committee loaded up cars, delivered and set up the new “Book Nook” for children & families.  It is hoped that the new reading area will provide those who reside there with quiet place of temporary refuge during their stay.


Altrusa Laconia "Make a Difference Day"

Altrusa International of Laconia collected warm winter apparel for students of all ages in the Laconia schools. Items included boots, socks, mittens, gloves, scarves and warm fleece items. These will be distributed to students in need by the guidance personnel or the school nurse in each building. This community service project was part of Altrusa's MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY in commeration of the 100th anniversary of Altrusa International.


New Beginnings Clothing Drive

Altrusa International of Laconia recently delivered clothing for women & children, personal toiletry items, household necessities and backpacks filled with school needs to New Beginnings, which provides free and confidential support, emergency shelter, 1 to 1 peer support as well as educational & outreach programs, advocacy & crisis intervention for those whose lives have been affected by Domestic & Sexual Violence.

For more information on New Beginnings, please visit their website at:

Hands Across the Table

Altrusa International of Laconia recently participated in serving the free weekly community dinner sponsored by Hands Across the Table, held every Wednesday at St. Andre Bissette Parish Hall. Dinner served was Tossed salad, Italian bread, Meat Lasagna and green beans and Apple Crisp with ice cream with coffee and teas for dessert.

Altrusa members volunteered for set up, serving which allows them to spend time with area residents to enjoy a nice meal & opportunity to socialize within community. We served dinner to over 100 guests at the weekly dinner on Wednesday Oct. 19th!

Pictured left to right: Deanne Murphy, Nancy LeRoy, Jan Gilbert, Debbie Cotton, Barbara DeAngelis & Barbara Laros.

2016 Scholarship Recipients

Altrusa International of Laconia recently awarded two $750. college scholarships to local women.

Samantha Sapier of Laconia, NH received an Adrienne Stevens-Margaret "Peg" Normandin Athletic Scholarship. Ms. Sapier is attending Plymouth State. A second Dr. Alice Normandin scholarship for a woman pursuing a degree in the health field was awarded to Asley Sabin of Laconia. Ms. Sabin is attending Lakes Region Community College in Laconia. Each year since 1963 Altrusa of Laconia has awarded scholarships to deserving young women.

Pictured Left: Deanne Murphy, president presents scholarships awards to Ashley Sabia (L) and Samantha Sapier (R)



Altruse of Laconia Gives Back

Altrusa International of Laconia recently delivered checks to community organizations. Recipients included Laconia Got Literacy, Laconia Adult Education, Child and Family Services and the Belknap County Nursing Home Activities Department. Pictured above Director Brenda Twardosky accepts a check from Laconia Altrusan Barbara DeAngelis.

Make A Difference Day

Altrusa of Laconia "Make a Difference Day" project delivered 26 pumpkins on Thursday for the children at the Carey House, New Beginnings & Salvation Army. 

The pumpkins were carved by the children to be displayed at Pumpkinfest.

Pictured members are Jan Gilbert, Carla Peterson & Tracie Grant.






Music and Literacy!

On Aug 5, 2015 the Laconia public library's summer reading program presented Steve Blunt and his band at the Community Center.

The interactive program involved literacy songs and featured Marty Kelly. Marty's new book was presented to those in attendance via a large screen. Children, counselors, parents & grandparents enjoyed this literacy event, sponsored by a donation from Altrusa International of Laconia.



Altrusa of Laconia awards two scholarships to local college women!

Altrusa International of Laconia recently awarded two $1,000 college scholarships to local women. Trina Armstrong of Laconia, NH received a Dr. Alice Normandin scholarship, for a Lakes Region woman pursuing a degree in the health field. Ms. Armstrong is attending New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord. A second Dr. Alice Normandin scholarship was awarded to Beverly Cogburn of Laconia, NH. Ms. Cogburn is attending Lakes Region Community College in Laconia.

Each year since 1963 Altrusa of Laconia has awarded scholarships to deserving young women. As a 501(C) 3 non-profit entity, all club monies are raised through various fundraising activities and donations, and then redistributed back into the local community in the form of scholarships, donations, and projects that meet the mission of Altrusa. For more information about Altrusa of Laconia, please visit their website:

Pictured: Deanne Murphy (right), president of Altrusa International of Laconia presents a scholarship award to Trina Armstrong (left). Missing from photo was Beverly Cogburn.

For more information about Altrusa of Laconia, please visit their website:






'Bear Wants More' Story Trail Unveiled!

BEAR WANTS MORE is a children’s story now appearing as a Story Trail along the WOW Trail between Messer Street and Lakeport. The story was unveiled on Saturday May 16, in conjunction with the Gale to Goss Annual Library Community Walk. This project for the community was created by Altrusa International of Laconia as a literacy venture to encourage people of all ages to get out and walk while enjoying wonderful children’s books.

Altrusa District One Honored With Letha H. Brown Litereacy Award

Altrusa of Laconia recently attended the 59th annual District One Altrusa conference in Quebec and is proud to announce that they received first place for the Letha H. Brown Literacy Award from District One Altrusa.

They also received the Letha H. Brown 2014-2015 Literacy Award from Altrusa International to honor their outstanding efforts & achievements in literacy.




Altrusa of Laconia hosts Bess the Book Bus at Prescott Farm’s Harvest Festival on Saturday September 13, 2014


From 10 am until 3 pm on Saturday September 13, Bess the Book Bus will join the festivities at Prescott Farm's 5th annual Harvest Festival. Brought to the event by Altrusa of Laconia, free books will be handed out to all children who attend.

Altrusa of Laconia supports literacy and is excited to have Bess the Book Bus come to Laconia for the first time. Plan to celebrate fall with Prescott Farm and visit Bess the Book Bus!

About Bess the Book Bus

Bess the Book Bus is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization committed to extending literacy across the country. Run by Jennifer Frances of Tampa, Fla., the organization visits local communities across the country in a specially designed “book bus,” coordinating reading events and providing children with a free, new book for them to keep. For more information, visit

Bess the Book Bus is a mobile literacy outreach dedicated to sharing the joy of reading and building home libraries for underprivileged children and families across the USA. Bess the Book Bus launched her 6th annual Success is in Sight Tour on March 24th, 2014. The 2014 Success is in Sight tour will serve 25,000+ kids in over 35 states and they hope to give away 70,000 new books. Over the course of 2014, Bess will travel the United States, making numerous stops at schools, community centers, shelters, and Head Start facilities locations in nearly 60 cities to donate books, read aloud to children and help spread a love for reading. By visiting schools and classroom libraries directly this year, Bess will significantly increase the impact the program has on the nation’s most underserved students.

Since starting Bess the Book Bus in 2002, the program has grown into one of the nation’s most innovative mobile literacy initiatives. Thanks to a network of volunteers and support from CITGO, Transitions Optical, Townsend Press, Mercedes-Benz USA and other corporate sponsors, Bess the Book Bus has visited 48 states, supported more than 60,000 children, and donated more than 450,000 books.

Bess the Book Bus is proud to announce continued support from CITGO Fueling Good program. “Our partnership with CITGO will help us reach tens of thousands of underserved kids in over 35 states in 2014” Frances said. “Without our wonderful sponsors like CITGO, we would not have the resources to reach all of the children and families that we do. We look forward to traveling across the country again to meet local CITGO Marketers and the Fueling Good Road Trip team in our continuing quest to spread a love for literature.”

For stories from Bess the Book Bus’ 2013 tour, including a travel diary and photos from events across the country, visit

To learn how CITGO and local organizations like Bess the Book Bus are making a difference in communities throughout the United States, visit

To join the conversation, “Like” CITGO Fueling Good and Bess the Book Bus on Facebook, “Follow” on Twitter and Instagram, and view videos of past winners at and

Altrusa of Laconia donates Betty the Bookworm to Gilford Public Library!

Many children in the Lakes Region are familiar with Betty the Bookworm, the literacy mascot for Altrusa International of Laconia. Betty has visited many libraries, classrooms, been seen in many parades and appeared at all Altrusa of Laconia events in the last few years. The book BETTY THE BOOKWORM VISITS THE LIBRARY, written by Altrusan Barbara DeAngelis, is the story of Betty’s first exciting visit to the library. Many local children own a copy of this book.

On Thursday June 5, 2014 Altrusa of Laconia donated Betty to her new home at the Children’s Room at the Gilford Public Library where she will now visit with children and lead a less hectic life in her retirement.

Pictured (l-r) Altrusans Diane Gaynor, Sue Clauson, Barbara DeAngelis with Tracey Petrozzi, Children’s Librarian and Katherine Dormody, Library Director

NH Family Literacy Day

Altrusa of Laconia's NH Family Literacy Day which was hosted in conjunction with the Granite State Reading Council took place on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia.

Exhibits outside the school included two race cars, the Laconia D.A.R.E. police car, the Laconia Fire Department ʼs large fire truck and the Laconia Fire Department ambulance. Smokey Bear was with the fire department! Children asked questions, toured and were able to sit in the drive rʼs seats. McAuliffe Shepard Discovery Center had a large solar telescope set up for viewing.

Inside the school, exhibits were set up featuring live macaws (a favorite), face painting, a bug display and interesting presentations and activities from the Squam Lakes Science Center, Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center, the NH Humane Society, Charlie Needs a Cloak, Let Go Your Mind (LEGO), NHTI Dental Hygiene students and the Bank of New Hampshire.

Penny the Panda, Betty the Bookworm, The Tooth Fairy and Whiskers (the Woodland Heights Elementary School mascot, pictured left) delighted the children.

Healthy snacks were provided. Free books were distributed at each exhibit. More than 175 children attended the event and took their new books home in a cloth book bag.
















Altrusa Makes Generous Donation to Benefit

LRGHealthcare’s Youngest Patients


LACONIA, NH – The Laconia Altrusa Club recently made a very generous donation of hundreds of copies of a locally-written and published children’s book to the Reach Out and Read program at LRGHealthcare.

Each year since 1963 Altrusa has awarded scholarships to deserving young women. What began as a single scholarship to those seeking careers in the medical field has since expanded to include business, education and athletic scholarships as well. For more information on applying for a scholarship, please see link to application on our home page.

Gift Wrapping Made Easy!

LRGHealthcare NEWS
Laconia Altrusa Club Promotes Literacy at LRGH

The Altrusa International Club of Laconia, promoting literacy, has once again donated reading
guides and books to LRGHealthcare’s Family Birthplace. The women in this group create gift bags
for new mothers that provide helpful resources and information on literacy topics, including the
improvement of reading instruction for children, youth, and adults. “We make certain that our new mother’s receive this gift bag” states Ruth O’Hara, Director of LRGHealthcare’s Family Birthplace.




Altrusa International Inc. of Laconia, NH recently honored Deb Frawley Drake by making her an honorary Altrusan.  Frawley Drake, the previous owner of Lakes Region Linens, has donated all of the linens that Altrusa uses for their major fundraiser, “A Taste of the Lakes” for the past nineteen years.


Frawley Drake has worked with the club each spring providing tablecloths, table skirts and napkins for the event.  Her donations enabled the club to raise more money from the one day event, all of which is turned back into the community.


When Frawley Drake sold the business to General Linen, of Somersworth, last year, the club feared that this major donation would cease, but General Linen agreed to continue the tradition by donating the Linens this year.


Deb Frawley Drake is presently the President of the Laconia Historical & Museum Society and is on the Board of Directors of the Belknap County Economic Development Council.



Altrusa Fundraising At Work!
Peggy Selig of Laconia Adult Ed
with Diane Gaynor & Eva Hurst
Belmont Library’s Brenda Paquette
with Judi Shaw & Maureen Sanborn
Randy Brough receives check
for Laconia Library
Accepting for Gilford Library are
Katherine Dormody & Joanne Buckner


Altrusa’s primary focus is Literacy and we have implemented several projects over the years in the community.  With the assistance of Lakes Region General Hospital’s Maternity Ward, we donate packs of books to new moms in an effort to instill reading to children right from the start. 


In addition to monetary donations to Laconia Adult Education and area libraries, our “Betty the Blue Bookworm” made her debut this past season. She was conceived as a means to reach out to young children and encourage them to read and write. Hints of “Betty” were displayed in our bookmarks distributed with the books we donated to the Hospital for our “Make A Difference Day” project 2008.


A giant “Betty” made her debut in the annual Downtown Holiday
Parade in November 2008

6’ long “Betty” was introduced to 1st grade students at a local elementary school. The students were given an opportunity to imagine all the adventures she could have as a result of her reading. They were also encouraged to consider the question of how she might be different from other bookworms and how she could overcome those differences in an effort to promote tolerance. They were then asked to draw pictures of some of the things “Betty” could do.  Drawings were shared with the class and will be incorporated into a book about her adventures.


"Betty" plans to visit other schools as well as area libraries and is working on publishing
her very first book about her adventures. Look for her on bookshelves in the future.


If you’d like “Betty” to visit your school or children’s group please contact:



Foster Care: The Altrusa Clubs of Laconia and Meredith have done it again! On July 24, 2009 the clubs delivered kids backpacks stuffed with school supplies to the DCYF office. Social workers are busy distributing them to school aged children in care. Knit items (hats, mittens, scarves) were donated by WalMart.


Altrusa Club works to improve our community with a helping hand. We are sure glad they have chosen the Foster Parent Association as a project. The club hosted our annual picnic on Newfound Lake and worked tirelessly throughout the year making bags of personal care items for kids coming into care.




Presenting the packs (from left to right): Jodi Wilson, Ceil Andrews, Shawn Hamel, Hilda Schmidt, Sue Clauson, Shirley Mento and Sharon Shetler.

For more information on National Foster Care Month visit the
National site or locally at


Belknap County Nursing Home: Altrusa is proud to say that for more than 30 years we have donated money and time to the Nursing Home to provide monthly Birthday Parties for its residents. The first Wednesday of each month we visit the home and bring balloons and Birthday Cards to celebrate those having a Birthday during that month.  In addition our monetary donation helps the nursing home provide entertainment for the party. The residents are very appreciative and enjoy our company.


Altrusa helps the NHHS ( with monetary support and participation in their annual Woofstock Walk-a-Thon.  The “no kill” animal shelter is located on Meredith Center Rd. in Laconia and does a wonderful job providing care and comfort for lost, abandoned, abused and unwanted cats and dogs.  Their programs include the Spay/Neuter Assistance Program , a veterinary internship program, micro-chipping and rabies clinic, behavioral consultation and canine training classes.

Check presentation to Mary Lee Gorham-Waterman, NHHS Development/Volunteer Director by Altrusan Diane Gaynor

Adopt-A-Spot:  Each year Altrusa assists the city of Laconia with beautifying their streets. The club plants flowers in a large wooden planter in front of a local business. This improves the beauty of the street and lets residents and visitors alike enjoy the colorful city streets. The Adopt-A-Spot program has been in existence for 14 years and Altrusa of Laconia is proud to say we have been involved since the beginning!

If you would like more information on this program, please contact Marie Bradley (City Of Laconia) at 527-1270.


On June 23, 2009, Altrusa of Laconia member Judi Shaw presented its Rose Emery Scholarship Award in the field of education to recipient Erin Carlson with a check in the amount of $2670.00.  An equal amount was given to Kelsey Walton as recipient of the Dr. Alice Normandin Scholarship for her pursuit of a career in healthcare.  

September 12, 2009 – Altrusa was proud to participate in the recent Annual Multi-Cultural Day in downtown Laconia. Our display featured “Betty the Bookworm” and in our efforts to promote literacy, we provided a multitude of hand-outs including books, pads, pencils, etc. It was great exposure for “Betty” due to the tremendous turnout by the community. The booth was manned by literacy committee members Barbara D’Angelis, Tracie Grant, Shirley Mento and Judi Shaw with help from President Sue Clauson.


Altrusan Donna Werda brought “Betty” to the Laconia Public Library for story readings.

From left to right in large photo are: Jenine Wilson & Ann Babbit both of Portland, ME, Kitty Cunningham of MA, Penny Franciosi of Laconia, Beth Michalec & Diane English from Lichfield County, CT, and Kimberly Keaney also of Portland.

Yes, we put the “fun” in fundraising! With our sister club of Meredith, we hosted our District Conference the end of April here in Laconia. Eight of our Altrusa sisters decided to dive into Paugus Bay to raise what turned out to be more than $500 for the local food pantries. (We locals neglected to mention that the ice-out was only a few days before – brrrrr!)


Photo by Bill Hemmel