This crusader started 25 years of neighborhood service.

It all began with eight women sitting around Lou Alpert’s  dining room table, drinking wine and planning the first-ever Lakewood Service League fundraiser. It was 1982, so they chose a casino theme, says Alpert, the league’s founder, “because it was the 80’s and people had money.” They certainly did-that initial party raised a whopping $70,000. The beneficiary was Lakewood Park, the place that inspired the league’s formation. “When our kids were little, all we had on Williamson Road was this little area with a slide and a bench,” Alpert says. “There really wasn’t a park you could take your children to.” The league changed that, not to mention took on dozens of other projects over the last quarter century. The women who followed in Alpert’s footsteps have volunteered more than 112,000 hours of community service and raised more than $1.2 million for neighborhood charities. Now approaching its 25th anniversary, the league is honoring its beginnings with a special fundraiser for Lakewood Park, offering to let people add their names to its picnic tables, benches, bricks and trees for a sponsorship fee. “The park was our first community service project, and it means a lot to me,” Alpert says. “I love driving by and seeing it packed with people.” The league is also coming full circle with this month’s gala fundraiser. The celebration will pay tribute to the organization’s treasured founder and the notorious decade in which the league was born. The theme, “Club 1982,” will incorporate the accoutrements of ’80s,” says gala chairwoman lisa Sievers. “It’s going to be a celebration of the past and a look back at how far the service league has come.” Alpert says that when she started the league, she never imagined it would be around today. While she was active in the organization for many years, Alpert now enjoys overseeing it in a more peripheral role, and she compliments the women leading the league today for “taking it to a new level.” “She’s definitely one of my main advisors,” says league president Sandra Pomeroy. “Because of Lou, we have this wonderful organization with the common purpose of community improvement. The continuity of it has been amazing. I hope one day they’ll be celebrating its 150th anniversary.”

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