Altrusa is an international service organization dedicated to improving communities worldwide.  With almost 10,000 members, Altrusa has 361 clubs in ten countries.  Members work on promoting literacy and identifying and solving community problems through original projects and by partnering with other organizations or agencies.

Altrusa International of Rochester, Inc. was chartered as a club in 1950, thirty-two years after Mamie L. Bass founded the first club in Indianapolis.  Mamie is famous for saying women should not just be good, they should be good for something!  The most well-known Altrusan was Eleanor Roosevelt.

Altrusa Annual April Shower

Effective March 14, 2020 Due to the latest COVID 19 virus we have decided to postpone this event and will be revisiting a new date once things have improved within our Rochester community.

Altrusa of Rochester will be hosting our tenth April Shower on April 14th, 2020. We will be showering the Permanent Supportive Housing Program of Person Centered Housing Options (PCHO). This organization, PCHO, provides a continum of services that engage any homeless person in bettering their lives. The shower this year will be at the Christ Church on East Ave starting at 5:30pm. We will be having appetizers, a main entree and desserts, as well as, a large variety of gift baskets too. A portion of the proceeds from the gift baskets will be donated to the Permanent Supportive Housing Program. Our guests are asked to bring an item or two from the "Permanent Supportive Housing Program Wish List" or any household item that you use on a regular basis. We will have a separate collection for toilet paper, paper towels and tampons, currently there is a very big need for these items for the clients of PCHO.

Our shower began over ten years ago when we invited Bill and Joanne Cala of Joining Hearts and Hands to present an update on their work building schools in Kenya. We have partnered with them to both build an entire classroom and fund four scholarships for girls to attend high school.  The idea to invite guests beyond the club membership spurred the search for a large enough facility and a means of serving a simple catered supper. Thus was our first April Shower born.

Over the years we have hosted April Showers of this nature for several local organizations and groups.  We have had amazing support from the local community for these events. We have showered many groups and would like to highlight them.

  • Joining Hearts and Hands
  • Kinship Care, families who are raising children whose parents have been incarcerated or killed
  • Jennifer House, a post-prison outreach ministry of Spiritus Christi
  • Rochester International Academy and School 42 Libraries
  • Maggie Harris of the Community Lutheran Ministry, Maggie ran an after-school programs and summer camps
  • The Women's Place, a temporary shelter for single women and women with children awaiting permanent housing
  • Cameron Community Ministries After School Program School 54, emphasis on positive behavior and conflict resolution
  • Open Door Mission's Residential Home for Women and Children, transitional housing for homeless moms and children
  • Crisis Nursery of Greater Rochester, provides temporary care for babies and children during family crisis


Rochester Children's Book Festival

In the Fall of 2016, Altrusa completed its thirteenth year participating in the Rochester Children's Book Festival. This wonderful festival brought many of our local children book authors to one location. There were craft and reading rooms, workshops by authors on the craft of writing every half hour and many community groups' tables to visit.  

The 20th Annual Rochester Children's Book Festival was on Saturday, November 12th, 2016, in the Flynn Campus Center at Monroe Community College. If you have not attended this wonderful event please plan to do so this coming Fall for the 21st Annual Rochester Children's Book Festival on November 4th, 2017. Please take a few minutes to visit our Altrusa of Rochester table and learn of our many community events.

Festival to Go

Vivian Vande VeldeThirty five of the invited authors from the Rochester Children's Book Festival also volunteered to partner with Altrusa at our city schools in the thirteenth annual "Festival to Go". This event was held on October 12th, 13th, and 14th at School 45 Mary McLeod Bethune. On October 19th  the authors were at School 10 Dr. Walter Cooper Academy and on October 25th at School 33 John James Audubon. There were over 100 presentations in the classrooms, from kindergarten to grade 8, that brought the writing and reading experience to the students.

The Altrusa Club purchased books from the presenting authors and donated them to each school library. Each author did a 45 minute presentation in the classrooms with their focus around these books. The Altrusa members joined the authors in the classrooms to share in this wonderful experience with the children. 

Roberto Clemente School #8

Certificates of appreciation were presented to each school librarian, as well as each author, by the Altrusa members. 

A special thank you to author, Vivian Vande Velde and Altrusa member, Jody LaRose for coordinating the "2016 Festival To Go". We also wish to thank the participating authors and the Altrusa members who volunteered their time at the schools.

FtG 2018 iFrame

Every October Altrusans travel to a host club for a Saturday Fall Workshop.  District Two has three areas and Rochester belongs to Area One along with all the Pennsylvania clubs and Parkersburg, WV.  This year about 24 of us gathered at the historic Hendel House in Reading, PA for a day of inspiration, sisterhood and service.

After a social gathering as members arrived at the workshop we participated in an activity where we shared with each other "How I Make a Difference and How I Know It."  To help us express our stories, we all molded some clay into a representation of how we make a difference.  Helping others find jobs, playing bingo once a month in an assisted living facility, coats for clothing drives, audio books for elderly, smiling, flowers to the hospitalized, were just a few of the many stories shared.  With Governor Maureen McGough part of our group, we had a chance to catch up on some International business, then a lovely lunch and off to service.

Half the group stayed at the Hendel House to help middle schoolers make pumpkin centerpieces for an upcoming book party.  The other half of us went to a community center and helped re-organize a children's library.

I was lucky to be able to travel to Reading from State College, PA with Sandi Craig, who was at our October meeting.  Also riding with us was another former governor, Mildred Meder.  We had several hours to share more stories.  I especially appreciated hearing about Rochester members Sandi has known longer than I have.

Some photos of our activities are on the District Two Facebook page.


The Altrusa of Rochester club plans and participates in many projects and events throughout the year. We will spotlight one of our many events in our "Featured Event" section. Visit this page often for the latest featured event. 

The mission of our club is to support projects for Literacy and Women in Transition. The Rochester Children's Book Festival and Bethany Buckets are just a couple of the many community projects of our club.



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