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Tribute to film fun way to help others

Saturday I was swimming in a sea of Holly Golightlys and it seemed as if I had accidentally wandered into a Tiffany's store.

Most of the women were wearing little black dresses and pearls a la the aspiring socialite in the classic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's." The decor was decidedly Tiffany blue. From the plates and napkins on the tables to the punch in the punch bowl, there was no way to mistake what the look was trying to accomplish.

Each woman was even given a small Tiffany-like blue box tied with a white ribbon to take home. Inside where shiny treasures, much like you would find at the famed jeweler, except these were edible chocolate kisses. They were appreciated and enjoyed nonetheless.

The movie served as the inspiration for Chapter AF of the Philanthropic Educational Organization's annual fundraising luncheon. And for once, it was nice to see that the guests were as much in on the theme as the planners.

The afternoon festivities included a silent auction, raffle for a basket filled with a Tiffany and Co. bracelet, pearl necklace and champagne, and fashion show featuring attire from Chico's. There was lots of blue there, too, except the shade was much richer and deeper.

Members of the organization modeled the attire, showcasing outfits for lounging around the house, visiting with friends, traveling, working or whatever activity was on the day's agenda.

About 145 ladies were present, and all seemed to be enjoying the event. Laughter and good conversations was heard around the room. Smiles were everywhere.

Yet the afternoon was about much more than just having a good time. The end result was raising thousands of dollars for scholarships that the local P.E.O. will present.

The sisterhood offers a variety of monetary scholarships and grants, as well as supporting an liberal arts and sciences college for women — in of all places Nevada, Mo. — owned and operated by the nonprofit since 1927.

"This is better than a sorority," said chapter president Christina Lodge. "This is a group of sisters who work together to better women's lives."

Since the organization was formed it has helped nearly 100,000 people by awarding $250 million in scholarships and grants, she said.

In addition to giving traditional merit-based scholarships to graduating high school seniors, P.E.O. also has scholarships for women who are working toward their doctorate degrees as well as those returning to school to better themselves.

"This is about hopes and dreams and possibilities," she said.

The sisterhood always finds a way to help. Even when a woman is in need but may not qualify for a scholarship, it offers low-interest loans ranging up to $20,000, depending on the course of study.

The opportunity to help other women, even if by doing nothing more than enjoying a delicious lunch and a pleasant afternoon, is, in a way, much like the life of the flighty party girl of the movie. On the outside, glitz and glamour rule the day, but on the inside there is great depth and a passion for doing something good and what is right.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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