Since 1948, the Service League of Baytown has helped kids at Goose Creek CISD in kindergarten all the way up to seventh grade receive vision screenings.
In the 1960s, they began helping with hearing screenings and included Barbers Hill ISD in the mix over the last decade.
“We do all of the division hearing screening for the school districts and private schools for free,” said Gabrielle “Gigi” Cockrell, the League’s past president and member. “It would cost $10 per screening if they were going to pay for it.”
Last year, the League conducted over 18,000 screenings, saving the school districts about $180,000.
“If we just look at the last 10 years, we have provided $1.8 million dollars in savings,” Cockrell said. “So, what we do really is a huge service and benefit to our schools, nurses, families and community.”
Cockrell said the League might be one of the community’s best-kept secrets despite being around for over 70 years.
“I am not sure the community knows about what the Service League does,” Cockrell said. “We are going out, asking for money and people think it is a social group and we have nothing but fun. But we really work for the community.”
Cockrell stressed the organization is a service group, one that offers much to the community. In addition to the vision and hearing screenings, the League members are docents at the Baytown Historical Museum when third-grade students from Goose Creek visit on their annual field trips. Members also provide monthly bingo games and prizes for seniors at the JD Walker Center, and graduation and birthday celebrations at Chinquapin Preparatory School.
“We also adopt local families to help during the holidays, and we give scholarships to graduating seniors,” Cockrell said. “These are the current projects, but through the years the members have assisted with polio and measles shots, provided a health clinic, had a book mobile, tutoring, highlighted textbooks for dyslexic students, story hour at Sterling Municipal Library, and a coat and shoe fund.”
The League has also been a Partner in Education since the 1991-1992 school year.
Each year since 1965, the League holds an annual fundraiser to help support their community efforts. This year’s ball is called “Sing Along Under The Stars.” It is being held from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. Oct. 5 at the South Shore Harbor Conference Center, 2500 South Shore Boulevard in League City. It will include a silent auction and Pete’s Piano Bar for musical entertainment. All proceeds benefit the League.
“All of the funds we raise at our only fundraiser goes back into our community,” Cockrell said.
The League’s membership usually ranges between 12 to 25 members.
“So, all the work is performed by a small group of ladies,” Cockrell said. “For us to continue our work, we need our communities support us financially, and we need people willing to give back and be a part of a great organization. It is a good opportunity to give back and for anyone that wants to volunteer.”
Anyone wishing to join can visit www.facebook.com/serviceleaguebaytown/.