Sister Dorothy M. Laycock, President of the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies (2013-2014 term).
The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are one of the oldest and largest ethical and humanitarian fraternal organization in the world dedicated to improving and elevating the character of mankind and helping make the world a better place to live by practicing the principles of genuine friendship, unfettered love and the pursuit of truth, organizing charitable activities and aiding the community, the less fortunate, the youth, the elderly and the environment in every way possible. The fraternity first emerged in England sometime in the year 1700s and was organized in the United States on April 26, 1819. The Rebekehs was founded on September 20, 1851.
The fraternity believes that we have important obligations to promote: Good will among people, states, and nations under the guide of a Supreme Being as the catalyst for friendship, love, truth, faith, hope, charity and universal justice for all. These are the basic guides, which will create peace and harmony among all peoples, kindred and tongues. It is only through serving others that we truly embrace and understand the principles of Odd Fellowship.
Currently, our fraternity have over 12,000 lodges and some 600,000 members in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Around the world, the Odd Fellows undertake various community and charitable projects. Internationally:
- The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs spend over US$775 million in relief projects annually
- The Educational Foundation provides substantial loans and grants to students
- SOS Children's Village provides a caring home for orphaned children in 132 countries around the world
- Odd Fellow and Rebekah Homes provide a caring environment for the elderly
- Living Legacy focuses on planting trees and enhancing the environment
- The Arthritis Foundation
- Visual Research Foundation supports vision care and research through the Wilmer Eye Institute
- United Nations Pilgrimage for Youth sponsors a group of students for an educational trip to the United Nations
- Annual pilgrimages to the "Tomb of the Unknowns" (Arlington National Cemetery, USA), and other Tombs of the Unknown Soldier.
- Odd Fellow and Rebekah Homes provides a caring environment for the elderly and orphans
- Odd Fellow and Rebekah camps and parks provide recreation for the youth and for families