I want to begin this post by wishing all the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, Godmothers, and friends a Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for touching lives and making a difference, every day.
Following this theme, we are featuring a woman who we touched on in the previous post, whose kindness, love, and belief in the mission of Philoptochos makes her not only a devoted mother to her two children but a mother to the masses.
Jeannie Ranglas became a member of Philoptochos in her early twenties, shortly after she was married and moved from Chicago, IL to San Diego, CA. She married in 1978, in a Greek Orthodox Church that is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year. She loved the priest so much that when he said they needed another church to accommodate all the faithful in the community, she jumped at the opportunity to not only help build the church as a benefactor but also to join him in establishing the new church.
When the church was built, her priest invited six women from his parish to his home; he hand-picked them to be the leaders of their new Philoptochos Chapter. Jeannie became a board member and from that day on, she was immersed in the good works of Philoptochos. She became Chapter President in a growing parish before the age of 30. Jeannie was President for eight years and when she left the post to allow for someone new to take the reins, she became Parish Council President.
Jeannie’s daughter has been on her own Philoptochos Chapter Board for the past two years, she is 27 years old. She plans to run again.
His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony of San Francisco, of blessed memory, insisted that Jeannie become President of the Metropolis Philoptochos. When he first mentioned it, Jeannie’s daughter was a junior in high school and Jeannie felt that she needed to be available for her for at least two more years before she could devote herself fully to the position. She had also never been on the Metropolis Philoptochos board which made her hesitate as she had no idea what the position entailed.
As Jeannie reflects on her tenure, she realizes that she has now been on the Metropolis board, in some capacity, for over ten years. She has never looked back. Before his death, His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony made Jeannie promise him that she would be the next Metropolis President and Jeannie kept her word, becoming Metropolis Philoptochos President under His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, the present Metropolitan of San Francisco.
Jeannie loves Philoptochos. She knows that she makes a difference in people’s lives. She wants her members, especially her board members to love Philoptochos as much as she does. She feels that every member of her board is in synch which she appreciates and since they are from different regions within the Metropolis, she knows she can trust them to oversee each region since she can’t be everywhere at once, although she does make an effort to be in most places, jetting off from one place to the next. One of her goals as Metropolis President is to empower all members of Philoptochos to do something to help others.
She has instilled a good work ethic and a philanthropic mind set in her children as well. Her daughter is a member of Philoptochos and has been for several years and her son has always offered a helping hand. Her yiayia and mother, members of Philoptochos, instilled these values in Jeannie as a young child. She believes that there is something for everyone in Philoptochos and that one just needs to find their niche or needs to be helped to find it and then everything comes together.
Jeannie was at Children’s Hospital near Fresno, CA ten years ago when she looked up and read something on the wall that would change the way she thought forever, it spoke of how one would be remembered, not for the things they owned but for the difference they made in the world. This wall post reminded Jeannie to be thankful. Every morning when she wakes up, she says to herself, “I’m going to help somebody today.”
When she speaks about her Philoptochos sisters she says, “I am blessed to get to know these women.” Philoptochos is a core in Jeannie’s life. Her belief is that the legacy of the Philoptochos women is their constant good works. “There are so many dynamic women in Philoptochos,” Jeannie said. Her best friends have come from Philoptochos and the church.
Many times all it takes is acceptance and support to gain new members, a warm embrace, a kind ear, or a positive outlook. She remembers seeing a woman in church who seemed lost; she was going through a divorce and had three children to take care of. Jeannie embraced her, “You never know whose life you will change,” she said. The woman found her place in the church and continues to serve.
We are blessed, we have been empowered to serve.
There are two ministries that are close to Jeannie’s heart and that solidify her role as a mother to many. The Bishop Anthony Philoptochos Student Aid Endowment Fund (BAPSAEF) was established over 25 years ago. It was established through the spiritual vision and foresight of His Eminence Metropolitan Anthony and the support of the Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos. The mission of the Fund is to provide financial assistance for seminarians and students from the Metropolis of San Francisco attending Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and Hellenic College, in Brookline, Massachusetts. The San Francisco Metropolis Philoptochos gives approximately $150,000 a year to help students pay down their debt. Jeannie goes to graduation every year and takes the students and their families out to lunch and then attends the BBQ. The Fund’s goal is to help students graduate from school as debt free as possible. They also have an Adopt-a-Student program for seminarians and students which is not a monetary commitment but a supportive one, sending notes and keeping the students and seminarians in touch with their community. Each seminarian or student that is helped by the Metropolis is also asked to contribute to the Metropolis in some way, whether that is being a counselor at Camp Agape or working on the website. They get to know the community and the community gets to know them.
The second ministry is Kids ‘n’ Cancer Camp Agape whose mission is to provide support for children afflicted with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Camp Agape allows families the opportunity to enjoy four carefree summer days away from hospitals and doctor’s offices, providing opportunities for enjoyment, learning and bonding in a safe setting. Jeannie says that the experience for kids with cancer and their families is like going to Disneyland for the first time. They leave many of their cares behind and are able to enjoy themselves without the constant reminder of their illness. At present, there are five Camp Agape locations. This ministry is for underprivileged families who would be unable to take a trip otherwise.
Beyond the camps, the San Francisco Metropolis Philoptochos’ Kids ‘n’ Cancer ministry assists two oncology transportation companies that transport families from one hospital to another and assists families who have financial hardship. Last year they helped defray the cost of six children’s burials.
Jeannie Ranglas is truly a mother to all and similar to being a mother, being the Metropolis Philoptochos President is a huge commitment and a lot of work but Jeannie Ranglas loves what she does and that makes it all worth it.
As a reminder…
His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos and the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Philoptochos Board cordially invite you to attend an Agape Celebration of Love to benefit Kids ‘n’ Cancer Ministry.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
4:00 to 7:00 pm
Big Canyon Country Club
One Big Canyon Drive
Newport Beach, CA
$75 per person
Please follow the link to view the e-vite: http://sfphiloptochos.org/assets/forms/2013KidsnCancerEvite.pdf