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A global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.
Soroptimist International of the Americas clubs are the muscle that moves our mission. Without their work and dedication, Soroptimist programs would not reach the women who need them. Clubs implement federation programs such as the Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women, but they also evaluate conditions in their communities and decide how best to address local need. That can range from providing low-income women with mammograms, to funding a shelter for women who have been trafficked, to holding seminars for at-risk girls. These service projects are representative of the thousands of hours and dollars contributed by Soroptimist club members throughout 19 countries and territories.
The SI/Cape May County, New Jersey, club recently held its first “Girlz Rule” conference. Club members organized the event, which presented more than 80 elementary and high school girls with information on setting attainable goals and leading a healthy lifestyle. Past Women’s Opportunity Award recipient and successful businesswoman, Michelle Bush, delivered a motivating message and spoke about the empowerment of women and girls. Said club member Mary Rose Bispels, “It was an amazing event. It brought our club together on so many levels.” The club plans to make this an annual event.
The club in SI/Capistrano Bay, California, recently held its first authors brunch. The club organized the event, which attracted more than 65 women from the community. Three award-winning authors, Susan Vreeland, Anne Cherian and Laurel Corona, spoke about their most recent novels, answered questions and signed books. Said author Anne Cherian, “It’s always a thrill to be in a room filled with women—and better yet, women who are readers!” The club plans to make this an ongoing event.
The club in SI/Curitiba Batel, Brazil, raised awareness about teen dating violence. Club members organized their Educating for Peace event, which attracted more than 120 women and girls from the community who learned about healthy relationships. In addition, members walked and carried signs and banners reading, “Soroptimist International of Curitiba Batel Honors the Day of Peace,” and distributing Soroptimist Teen Dating Violence bookmarks.
Four years ago, the SI/Fremont, Ohio club, established its Teen Relationship Abuse Prevention (TRAP) program, which raises awareness of teen dating violence. Recently, the club held a TRAP event for more than 1,000 high school students. Keynote speaker and teen dating violence survivor Johanna Orozco spoke about being tragically shot by her ex-boyfriend when she was in high school. Johanna re-built her life and uses her experience to raise awareness and educate students. Said member Pam Hufford, “Fremont is not a large town, but teen dating abuse is very much in our region. We are so proud that our club has been able to bring awareness of the problem to a great number of students in the area.”
Eight clubs in the Korea region gathered to raise awareness about sexual assault. Club members distributed more than 2,000 whistles and carried signs in Seoul. The whistles, which included the Soroptimist logo, are for women and girls if they find themselves in a threating situation. Kudos to the clubs for their dedicated work on this important issue.
In 2011, Soroptimist clubs in the Las Vegas, Nevada, area of Sierra Nevada region joined to form “Break These Chains—Live Free,” a human trafficking awareness event. SI/ Greater Las Vegas, SI/Las Vegas Valley, SI/ Metropolitan Las Vegas and SI/Pahrump Valley held a joint rally on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, which included live performances by local vocalist Laini Risto and dance team Culture Shock. More than 300 members from the community attended the event, including President-elect Poco Davis and Sierra Nevada Region Governor Janice Labadie.
The SI/Rose-Fukuyama, Japan, club recently promoted Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide in their local community. The book, which is co-authored by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, discusses some of the most pressing challenges facing the world’s women. Members performed a reading during a club meeting and region workshop. The reading, which was recorded, was later donated to several local groups and libraries.
The SI/Yreka, California, club recently held its 26th annual “I’m Special” program. Club members organized the all-day event, which presented 8th grade girls with information on topics such as healthy relationships, self-esteem and overcoming obstacles. Club members also provided gift bags full of hair accessories, Soroptimist Teen Dating Violence Awareness bookmarks and handmade bracelets. More than 80 girls attended the event, which included guest speaker California Highway Patrol Lt. Julie Horstman. An article highlighting the club’s efforts appeared on