Jamestown Sertoma Club Creates Endowment Fund
Recently, members of the Jamestown Sertoma Club approached the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to find a way to continue the Jamestown Sertoma Club’s name and mission, as they look to retire the club.
An international club, dedicated to improving the quality of life for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss, The Sertoma Club is named after the phrase, “Service to Mankind.”
In the 1960s, an international club representative visited Jamestown to see if there were any individuals interested in establishing a local club. At first it started as a business club,” said Tony Raffa, longtime Sertoma Club member and current chairman. “We had members who represented local retail shops, medical professionals and industry professionals who wanted to give back.”
“For many years, it was important to us to serve our community,” Raffa said. “(This fund) is a way to ensure the good we’ve done will continue forever.”
Because of Sertoma’s mission to work with individuals at risk for speech and hearing issues, local members began volunteering at WCA Hospital under the direction of Director of Speech and Hearing, Dr. Robert Piede. “There was no charge for (speech and hearing tests,)” Raffa explained. “Club members volunteered their time and helped people of all ages complete their testing.”
Over the years as the hospital’s program expanded, Sertoma Club members began looking for other ways to give back to their local community. In addition to work at local playgrounds and the Allen Park Bandshell, one of the Sertoma Club’s biggest projects was the completion of the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village in Ashville.
“We put all of our efforts into completing (the Safety Village),” said Cosmo DeMaio, Sertoma Club member said. “We wanted to see this up and running and be a positive place for youth to come and learn about safety.”
While the Jamestown Sertoma Club may not be a household name, Raffa and DeMaio are confident that many in the community have benefitted from their decades of service.
“Many people don’t know what the Jamestown Sertoma Club is,” Raffa said. “We didn’t advertise, we simply wanted to see good in our community and we liked doing it.”
Getting back to their roots, members created The Jamestown Sertoma Club Speech and Hearing Fund to provide an annual award to UPMC Chautauqua’s Speech and Hearing Department.