St. James Chapter Programme Summaries

St. James Chapter Programme Summaries

Historic Preservation

Daughters of the American Revolution Museum:

Adopt-An-Object Project: The St. James Chapter has adopted three English samplers for acquisition and conservation since 1998. One is by Sarah Herbert (1793) and one is unsigned but dated 1728. In 1999, the Chapter adopted for conservation an English sampler by Mary Cooper, dated 1690, which was featured in the DAR Museum Exhibition "As Centuries End" in Spring 2000.

Friends of the Museum: The St. James Chapter has donated a sterling silver pepper pot by George Hindman, 1775, two George III, 1760, sterling silver salt bowls and a late George II, 1727, sterling silver punch ladle with a turned wooden handle. (Photos below.)
Georgian Silver 2 Georgian Silver 3

Friends of Benjamin Franklin House: St. James Chapter makes an annual donation to this charity for the preservation of the last remaining European home of Benjamin Franklin. Chapter members are invited to attend events organised to celebrate and to benefit Benjamin Franklin House.

John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum: The Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland is home to the birthplace of this great American Naval hero. The St. James Chapter has been involved with this project since its very inception in 1991. Chapter donations include all flags, which we replace as needed, and selected antiques of the period for display in the museum. The flags flown or displayed by this museum are two American flags, Old Glory and the Betsy Ross flag, the First Navy Jack and the national flag of Scotland, St. Andrews. The Chapter also donates annual funds to the Museum Trust. We have been told that it is our support of this Trust that convinced grant-giving bodies to donate funds in its early years of formation. We have assisted with fundraising projects and publicity in print, radio and television for this Trust. The John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum Trustees have awarded the Chapter a framed Certificate of Appreciation for our support.

Ulster American Folk Park/Centre for Emigration Studies: The Centre, located in Northern Ireland, receives chapter donations of NSDAR and other genealogical materials for its library. We exchange newsletters to stay in contact.


Conservation

The American Museum in Bath: St. James Chapter makes annual monetary contributions to benefit the 'Conservation of the Folk Art Collection' at this internationally renowned museum.

Kayla, the American Eagle
Eagle Heights Conservation Centre: This rescue centre, specialising in birds of prey, receives annual financial support from the St. James to sponsor Kayla, an American Bald Eagle whom they rescued, and a baby American Bald Eagle, Chilcot, born at the Centre. The Centre gives the Chapter annual photographs of Kayla and Chilcot with annual Certificates in Recognition of our Sponsorships as well as displaying recognition of our contributions publicly at the Centre. The Chapter arranges a Thanksgiving Day 'treat' of fresh trout or salmon for both eagles. We assist with fundraising and publicity for the Centre and are continually exploring other contributions.
Kayla


Promotion of Education

Daughters of the American Revolution Museum Library:
Give-A-Book Project:

The St. James Chapter has donated the following books since 1999:
The Education Committee:
Donation of Educational Materials: The St. James Chapter donates books, pamphlets, maps and teachers' support materials on American history and culture including the American Constitution, to British and American schools in the United Kingdom. In 1992, the chapter won the NSDAR Continental Congress Units Overseas Divisional Award and the Fourth Place National Society Continental Congress Award for Outstanding Observance of Constitution Week.

American/Scottish Pen Pals: In cooperation with the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council, the chapter located American pen pals for Scottish school children.

National Society Outstanding Teacher of American History Award: The Chapter sponsors a yearly competition for Outstanding Teacher of American History. The recipient need not be an American citizen. The winner receives a certificate and a donation of American history books to their school library.

National Society American History Essay Competitions: The Chapter participates in this annual competition. The Chapter presents award medals to the winners of the competitions, and we donate American history books to their school libraries. All of the participants receive a Certificate of Participation. In 1999, our 10th grade Christopher Columbus Essay winner won the Units Overseas Division Award, and placed second in the National Society Competition which comprises competitors from all 50 States and the Units Overseas Division. British schools will soon be able to participate in an American history contest developed by the chapter.

American Thanksgiving Day Information Education Package: These multimedia materials are currently in development.

Donation of Books: The Chapter annually donates books, printed or in Braille or audio, on a variety of subjects to Dorton House School for Blind Children, The New School at West Heath for Traumatised Children and upon consideration, to other schools both public and private.

Sponsorship of Applicant for the J. E. Caldwell Centennial Scholarship: The Chapter sponsors annual applicants to this scholarship. In the recent past, we have sponsored an applicant who has chosen as her Ph.D. dissertation 'Medieval Islamic Plaster and Coloured Glass Windows: Technology, Characterization, Deterioration, Cleaning, and Conservation of Qamariyyat'.

The Royal London Society for the Blind:

Dorton House School for Blind Children: An innovative approach to educating visually impaired children from nursery age to young adults earned this school its international reputation. Its facilities and specialised teachers and equipment provide a rich academic environment as well as develop the student's social skills. The needs of the entire family are supported. Dorton House has developed a supportive relationship with schools for the blind in Romania, which are in desperate need of help. A new initiative from Dorton House is to place volunteers in hospitals to give information and support to families whose child is recently diagnosed as visually impaired. The Chapter supports Dorton House through donation of volunteer time, Braille materials, annual financial contributions, help with fundraising and publicity. We also donate books to their library.

Dorton College for the Blind: Visually impaired students from the age of sixteen to adults receive the emotional and technical support that they need to succeed independently in local university settings or employment with the sighted population. Currently scholarships for visually impaired students from New York State are in its trial phases. The Chapter seeks to promote additional scholarships for students throughout the United States and with other Units Overseas Chapters.

The Royal London Society for the Blind is actively involved in finding employment, educating potential employers and supportive of the student and their families for as long as they are needed.

The New School at West Heath for Vulnerable and Traumatised Children: (Formerly known as the Beth Marie Centre for Traumatised Children) The New School at West Heath educates children aged eleven through sixteen, after illness, abuse, family difficulties or other serious life events prevents them from learning in a traditional classroom setting. Before admission and throughout their schooling, the students receive the individualised emotional and academic support of the school director, an educational psychologist, a special needs representative and an education welfare officer. Their pastoral care involves the whole family and continues when the student leaves the school. Boarding of students at the school has been available since January 2000. St. James Chapter members volunteer their time at the school; the Chapter makes annual financial contributions plus donates books for the school library and teaching materials. St. James Chapter donated a solid teak bench with a brass plaque commemorating the visit to the school of NSDAR President General, Mrs. Dale Kelly Love, in September 1999. The bench is located on the grounds of the school called the American Garden that the Chapter intends to renovate. (West Heath is the former boarding school of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.)

Toynbee Hall: Many international organisations have their roots at Toynbee Hall, which was founded nearly 120 years ago. Education is the foundation upon which Toynbee Hall was built, their belief that education was the only way up for those disadvantaged by poverty. Toynbee Hall occupies an historic site in London's East End, just on the fringes of the City of London. This is an area that the poor immigrants to the United Kingdom traditionally came - the Huguenots, the Jewish, the Bengalis. American Jane Addams, after a period of residence at Toynbee Hall, took their idea of 'social settlements' back with her to the United States. She founded Hull House in Chicago and very soon afterwards, the Henry Street Settlement in New York began; rapidly the movement spread all over the North American continent. Jane Addams was the first American woman to be given the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts, learnt from Toynbee Hall. St. James Chapter makes annual donations to Toynbee Hall, and we participate in their educational and cultural activities.

DAR Schools in the United States: The Chapter makes annual financial contributions above NSDAR Chapter Achievement requirements to DAR Schools and DAR Approved Schools in the United States. These schools cater to under-privileged children and their communities and to children in need of specified assistance in their education or their special circumstances.

The Public Relations Committee:

Distribution of NSDAR Materials: British libraries and genealogical societies receive donations of the NSDAR Library Catalogues, volumes of The Patriots Index, "A Century of Service", subscriptions to the National Society's Magazine 'American Spirit' and other published materials.

St. James Chapter Cookery Books: After six printings of our sold-out first cookery book, the second volume is currently on sale. Work has begun on the third volume. Proceeds will benefit our scholarship projects.

Television, Radio Interviews and Speaking Engagements:

Articles: Appear in local and national newspapers and magazines on the St. James Chapter, in the Units Overseas Committee's website newsletter, and in the National Society's DAR Magazine.

Expatriate Exhibitions and Fairs: Participation in activities designed to promote knowledge of the presence of the NSDAR within the United Kingdom and to highlight the aims and work of the Society and St. James Chapter.


Patriotic Endeavours

American Services Support Committee: This committee compliments the services of the American Consulate's American Services Section and takes up the role of the now defunct American Aid Society in the United Kingdom. All members of this committee must sign the United States Privacy Act of 1974.

American Patients Sub-Committee: These sub-committee members assist American accident victims, usually tourists, in the United Kingdom. After contacting our sub-committee, the American Consulate or the hospital notifies patients, their relatives and medical staff of our support services and our contact number. Sub-committee members act as liaison with family members in the United States, with medical staff and when appropriate the American Consulate and local police. In serious trauma cases, our assistance has been needed to help the patient upon their release from hospital to return to the United States or their country of residence.

North American Prisoner Sub-Committee: Her Majesty's Probation Service notify this sub-committee of female American prisoners held in British jails. At times, the American Consular official will also notify American female prisoners of our volunteer work. The American Consulate is forbidden by American law (U.S. Privacy Act 1974) to release names not considered to be in the public domain without consent of its citizens. The members of this committee, having signed the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974 are in the same position. Members of this sub-committee also require British security clearance and British Home Office approval as they visit prisoners in their cells and other secure areas of the prisons. Once we establish that our interest is welcomed, we ask the inmate to consider signing an Authorisation for the Release of Information under the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974 detailing exactly whom we may discuss their situation with and the circumstances. We are also given permission and details of whom to notify should this become necessary. In informal meetings with prisoners' representatives, U.S. Embassy officials, British prison officials, usually including the Governor of the prison, British Probation Officers and us, the Chapter explores ways to meet the needs of American prisoners in each particular prison. These prisoners are usually first-time offenders. All foreign nationals are under deportation orders at the completion of their sentence. Sub-committee members join representatives of the U.S. Consulate and the American Church to participate in Foreign Offenders Day, which is to raise the awareness of prison officials to the problems and culture of foreign nationals in British prisons.

Culture support has included the following:
Allied Forces Veterans Committee: Committee members' assist with existing veterans' programmes and make compassion visits to veterans.

Active Military Service Committee: This Committee responds when required such as during the Persian Gulf War. American wounded was brought to military hospitals in the United Kingdom. St. James Chapter members, and the Red Cross, were the only non-military organisations to visit the American wounded because of security conditions.

Children of the American Revolution: We anticipate the official organising of this C.A.R. Chapter soon. Meanwhile, the children have enjoyed their visits to the award-winning Air Museum at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambridgeshire and the bird of prey and reptile conservation centre, Eagle Heights, and participate in St. James Chapter events when appropriate.

ROTC: The Chapter sponsors ROTC programmes. Each year we purchase and present a Junior ROTC Medals and Certificates at their Military Balls.

Military and Civil Ceremonies: When requested by the Embassy of the United States of America, the U.S. Department of Defense or British officials, the St. James Chapter represents the NSDAR, the St. James Chapter and the American community at wreath-laying ceremonies or in parades.

Stamps for the Wounded: The United States Department of Veterans Affairs began this project in early 1942 to provide convalescent veterans with a hobby that they can pursue despite their hospital confinement. This recreational activity combats the idleness and boredom that can lead to major depression. Currently, the NSDAR provides approximately 20% of the stamps for this project. To participate, simply cut or tear the stamps off the envelope, leaving at least a inch margin of paper. The stamp collectors have their own techniques for removing the stamps so please do not peel or steam them from the surrounding paper. Encourage your families, friends and local businesses to save and donate their stamps. The Chapter annually contributes multiple kilos in weight of stamps.

British Remembrance Sundays and American Memorial Days: The Chapter participates in ceremonies honouring the Allied military that have fallen.


Additional Community Service

Action for Blind People: This is a small and relatively new British registered charity that works with blind and partially sighted people with services around the United Kingdom which focus on four areas of expertise: work, leisure, housing and support.

The Children's Society: An innovative Society that helps children re-build their lives. Children are always told to ask for help whenever they feel scared but what happens when nobody listens? Thousands of children every year make the decision to run away because they believe even a night on the streets is better than one dominated by abuse or neglect. The Children's Society supports young people forced to take this decision, helping them at each stage of their journey toward re-building their lives, for as long as it takes the child to do so. Their volunteers go out onto the streets to find these children, they support them in their first homes while they study or find work. The Children's Society offers practical solutions to real problems young people face along the way.

Domestic Violence: The support of individual refuges in our local areas with donations of practical items such as clothing, linens, toiletries and toys. Financial donations are made on a case-by-case basis. This needed programme was passed at our 3rd September 1999 meeting and benefits both sexes. A new innovative programme of volunteers helping with the literacy of children in these shelters is being explored.

The Royal British Legion: The Chapter received a request from the Royal British Legion to assist in the development of a British government ministry modelled on the American Veterans Association. The Chapter makes annual financial donations to the Legion and explores other ways we may give support.

The Royal Star and Garter Home - for Disabled Sailors, Soldiers & Airmen: A British charity founded in 1916 to aid any wounded serviceman or woman who served in Her Majesty's Forces including reserves; young or old, any rank, any length of service who is physically disabled. The Chapter gives annual financial donations, visits the home and its residents. We remember them and all they have lost fighting for our freedom.

The Samaritans: We support the complete running costs of two twenty-four hour working days of the Harrogate Branch of this charity. This charity counsels troubled and suicidal persons throughout the United Kingdom 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The Samaritans announce our sponsorship on our chosen days by radio spots and a banner in their office with our name on it. The American Air Force Base at Menwith Hill is within this office catchments area. The Samaritans also award the Chapter with annual Certificates of Recognition for our support. The days we sponsor are October 11th, founding day of the NSDAR and the St. James Chapter, and September 11th, in expression of our gratitude to the Samaritans of Harrogate. Immediately upon hearing the dreadful news of the terrorist attack in the United States on September 11th, a team of Samaritans from their branch in Harrogate was available to offer support at the Harrogate Conference Centre where a large group of Americans were attending a conference in their city.

St. Mungo's: London's largest charity for the homeless. The first British Registered Charity for the homeless to realise the necessity of an outreach programme. Volunteers go in search of the homeless each afternoon and evening to talk to rough sleepers and win their confidence. This is unglamorous work, cold in winter and stressful all year round, but considered vital. Outreach workers will take months to establish a relationship with people who are often suspicious of authority, before they can offer accommodation, advice and practical help. The Charity's early shifts start at 6 am and their late shifts end at 1 am. Their being on the streets at these times ensure they know who is sleeping out and where, so they can focus their efforts on those most in need. Money donated to St. Mungo's is focused on helping people come off the street, rather than making it easier for them to stay on the street. St. James Chapter donates to this charity.

Voluntary Reading Help: A national British-registered charity which provides one-to-one help with literacy of primary children by going into schools. Their volunteer training is directed at making reading fun and improving the child's confidence by looking at why the child is not learning to read. The Chapter is looking for additional volunteers to train with this charity, and other areas to assist. This charity is also pioneering a pilot, now only in the county of Kent, of assisting children with literacy in women's shelters.

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