Tim Washington, of Marshall, watches his daughter Alivia Washington, 8, make a bead bracelet at the 22nd annual Cupid's Ball in 2019. The Women’s Service League in Sedalia does many beneficial things throughout the community including hosting the annual Cupid’s Ball. The ball will be hosted Saturday, Feb. 29.

The Women’s Service League of Sedalia has been making an impact on the local area for decades in many multi-faceted ways.

WSL was formed in 1983 as a philanthropic organization that has continued to reach out and grow through a variety of charitable projects. Officers include President Kari Mergen, Vice President Julie Childers, Secretary Madeline Kempton, Treasurer Rebecca Moss and Parliamentarian Janet Vincent. The organization has 30 members.

Kempton and member Ashley Raetz told the Democrat the organization’s biggest project is its W.O.R.T.H.Y project.

“W.O.R.T.H.Y stands for Women Organized and Resourceful Together Helping Youth,” Kempton explained. “So, it’s mainly a philanthropic branch of what we do that affects the youth in the community.”

The project in the past has helped obtain playground equipment at Washington and Horace Mann elementary schools, helped with the upkeep of service dogs for Sedalia School District 200, provided equipment for the Pettis County Early Childhood Cooperative and a pavilion for Green Ridge R-VIII School District.

“At Whittier (High School) we made a space for a library because they didn’t have one,” Kempton noted.

The project has also been instrumental in helping with the REFUEL Summer Food Program.

“So, all those have been W.O.R.T.H.Y. because they affect the youth,” Raetz added.

WSL also offers one $500 college scholarship to a woman either from Sacred Heart School or from Sedalia School District 200 each year.

“Throughout the school year WSL members also assemble kits with personal care products for students, donate new pajamas for CASA, donate gently used purses filled with self-care items and provide Thanksgiving dinners for many families in need,” added Susan Mergen, a member and former vice president.

Kempton and Raetz are first-time co-chairs of the 23rd annual Cupid’s Ball fundraiser. The ball, hosted from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 at Smith-Cotton High School, is the main fundraiser for the organization.

The theme this year is “Once Upon a Dream” and tickets can be purchased at wslsedalia.yapsody.com. Information provided by WSL said girls 5-12 years are invited to ask their favorite guy — father, stepfather, uncle, or grandfather — to the dance. Tickets are $20 per person which includes light refreshments, professional photographs, crafts and dancing. All proceeds are donated to local charities.

“We are definitely learning new things about Service League and fundraising and the ball,” Kempton said of co-chairing. “But, it’s been really fun.”

The organization not only helps others in the community, but they help each other by making connections.

“We have a program committee and we change the location of our meetings based on getting our name out, (and) based on learning something new about our community …” Kempton said.

Meetings are hosted at members’ homes, at schools and this month at Inter-State Studio to plan for Cupid’s Ball. Meetings also involve having a speaker who provides motivational information on topics pertaining to women.

WSL meets the third Tuesday of the month, except June, July, August and December. It is open to new members. For more information about WSL, visit wslsedalia.org. 

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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