Women and History – June


June has arrived.  It’s almost summer, and I have so much to tell you but don’t have much time this morning so…I thought I would point out a few notable women and events that are important to women that occurred in June.

  • June 1, 1993 – Connie Chung becomes the second woman to co-anchor the evening news, 17 years after Barbara Walters became the first in 1976
  • June 9, 1949 – Georgia Neese Clark confirmed as the first woman treasurer of the United States
  • June 10, 1963 – Equal Pay Act enacted: “To prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or in the production of goods for commerce.” (PL 88-38)
  • June 11, 1913 – Women in Illinois celebrate passage of a state woman suffrage bill allowing women to vote in presidential elections
  • June 17, 1873 – Susan B. Anthony’s trial starts for illegally voting in Rochester, New York on November 5, 1872
  • June 20, 1921 – Alice Robertson ((R-Oklahoma) becomes the first woman to chair the House of Representatives
  • June 21, 1997 – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) plays its first game
  • June 23, 1972 – Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is signed by President Nixon, one of the most important legislation initiatives passed for women and girls since women won the vote in 1920. This legislation guarantees equal access and equal opportunity for females and males in almost all aspects of our educational systems (Note the word “almost”)
  • June 25, 1903 – Madame Marie Curie announces her discovery of radium

June Birthdays

  • June 2, 1907 (1998) – Dorothy West, writer, novelist during the Harlem Renaissance
  • June 3, 1924 (1991) – Colleen Dewhurst, actress, winner of 4 Emmy Awards, 2 Tony Awards, 2 Obie Awards, and 2 Gemini awards
  • June 3, 1916 (1995) – Gloria Martin, socialist, feminist organizer who began Shakespeare & Martin Booksellers
  • June 3, 1919 (1989) – Elizabeth Koontz, first African-American president of the National Education Association
  • June 7, 1910 (1990) – Marion Wolcott, documentary photographer during the Great Depression
  • June 7, 1909 (1994) – Jessica Tandy, award-winning actress, from “A Streetcar Named Desire” (play, 1948) to “Driving Miss Daisy” (film, 1989)
  • June 7, 1917 (2000) – Gwendolyn Brooks, poet, first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (1950)
  • June 8, 1900 (1981) – Estelle Griswold, birth control advocate and pioneer, defendant in the Supreme Court case “Griswold v. Connecticut” which legalized contraception for married couples in 1965
  • June 8, 1903 (1996) – Jessie Bernard, feminist critic and author
  • June 9, 1896 (1994) – Catherine Shouse, philanthropist and political activist, benefactor of the Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts
  • June 9, 1921 (1993) – Phyllis Wallace, economist, first African-American woman full professor at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, pioneer in the study of sex and race discrimination in the workplace
  • June 12, 1892 (1982)- Djuna Barnes, artist and journalist, author of “Nightwood”
  • June 12, 1899 (1994) – Anni Albers, textile artist and printmaker, had the first textile art show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1949
  • June 14, 1811 (1896) – Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
  • June 14, 1952 – Pat Summitt, former coach of Tennessee’s Women’s Basketball team, scored the most wins in NCAA history for both men’s and women’s teams
  • June 15, 1901 (1993) – Ruth Cowan, journalist, one of the first women military correspondents, president of the Women’s National Press Club
  • June 15, 1916 (1989) – Olga Erteszek, Polish immigrant, established the Olga Company in 1960, maker of women’s undergarments, one of the first companies to offer employee profit sharing
  • June 15, 1920 (1994) – Amy Clampitt, poet and author, her first poem was published when she was 58 years old
  • June 16, 1892 (1972) – Jennie Grossinger, highly successful hotel proprietor, managed Grossinger’s in the Catskills, the first resort to use artificial snow (1952)
  • June 16, 1895 (1990) – India Edwards, political activist in the Democratic Party, served as Vice Chairman of the DNC from 1950 to 1956
  • June 16, 1902 (1992) – Barbara McClintock, biologist, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983
  • June 16, 1915 (1990) – Lucy Davidowicz, Polish refugee, one of the foremost historians of the
  • June 17, 1865 (1915) – Susan La Flesche Picotte, first Native American physician (1889)
  • June 17, 1908 (1989) -Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, editor, writer, co-founder of the School of the Jewish Woman (1933), publisher of the “Jewish Spectator” (1936)
  • June 18, 1913 (1991) – Sylvia Porter, finance columnist and author
  • June 19, 1888 (1984) – Hilda Worthington Smith, labor educator and social worker, first Director of the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Women Workers in Industry (1921)
  • June 20, 1905 (1984) – Lillian Hellman, playwright, credits include “The Children’s Hour”(1934), “The Little Foxes” (1939) and “Toys in the Attic” (1960); blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1952
  • June 21, 1912 (1989) – Mary McCarthy, author and critic, her novel “The Group” remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for almost two years
  • June 22, 1906 (1993) – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author
  • June 22, 1909 (2006) – Katherine Dunham, dancer and choreographer, combined African movement and classical ballet
  • June 22, 1929 (1990) – Rose Kushner, journalist, challenged the practice of radical mastectomy in the 1970s
  • June 23, 1905 (1983) – Mary Livingstone, radio comedian, Jack Benny’s wife (1927) and showbiz partner (1932-1958)
  • June 23, 1921 (2010) – Jeanne M. Holm, first Air Force Major General (1973)
  • June 23, 1940 (1994) – Wilma Rudolph, athlete, first woman runner to win 3 gold medals in a single Olympics
  • June 24, 1893 (1983) – Suzanne LaFollette, journalist, author, and editor, radical libertarian feminist, served as managing editor of William F. Buckley, Jr.’s the “National Review,” 1955-1959
  • June 26, 1902 (1989) – Antonia Brico, conductor,
  • June 26, 1911 (1956) – Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias, athlete, outstanding in basketball, track, swimming, golf, and billiards
  • June 26, 1922 (1982) – Carolyn Sherif, social psychologist, pioneer researcher in group psychology, self-system, and gender identity
  • June 27, 1880 (1968) – Helen Keller, advocate for the disabled, writer and lecturer
  • June 28, 1946 (1989) – Gilda Radner, comedian, and original cast member of “Saturday Night Live”
  • June 29, 1897 (1992) –Kazue Togasaki, physician who pioneered a place in medicine for women of Japanese ancestry and was one of the few physicians allowed to practice medicine in the Japanese Interment Camps during World War II
  • June 29, 1900 (1997) – Margaret Grierson, archivist, professor, founder and first director of the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College which she molded into a women’s history archive
  • June 30, 1883 (1970) – Dorothy Tilly, civil rights reformer, devoted her life to reforming southern race relations
  • June 30, 1899 (2001) – Margaret Byrd Rawson, educator and researcher, identified and treated reading disorders including dyslexia
  • June 30, 1903 (1999) – Glenna Collett Vare, first U.S. Women’s Golf Champion (1922)
  • June 30, 1917 (2010) – Lena Horne, singer, first African American woman to sign long-term Hollywood contract, fought for contracts guaranteeing African Americans could attend her shows


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March is a Surprising Month!


Growing up in the Midwest, I never knew what March would bring….warm spring weather with flowers blooming or cold freezing winds and one last snowstorm but, here is southern California, we don’t have to worry about snowstorms!  That doesn’t mean that March is a month that slips by without any memories.  So….what are my memories of this month now that it is almost over?

Several of us attended SI President Yvonne’s event at the Rose Center in Westminster.  It was an amazing and magical evening.

marilee, governor-elect laurel, terry, president yvonne, governor susan, dawn marie

marilee, governor-elect laurel, terry, president yvonne, governor susan, dawn marie

We had our second Savers Drive and raised $99.40.  We would have topped $100 if I would have remembered a vase donated by Anne Gillespie which was hiding behind the front seat of my car.

Leslie, David & Terry receive BIG check!

Leslie, David & Terry receive BIG check!

Thank you to the following who contributed “stuff”: Gerry De Boer, Georgette Sleeth, Vanessa Kezios, Fred & Carol Speaker, Anne Gillespie, Linda Cahill & Leslie & David Miller.  A special thanks to David Miller who, without his big pickup truck, I would have been making a lot of trips to Savers!

Rae Davis, one of our 2017 Live Your Dream Honorees & student at Vanguard University, is on their Women’s Basketball team, and they made it to the Final 4 (technically ended up #3) in the 2017 NAIA Division 1.  They were eliminated in the semi-finals.  You can congratulate Rae at our Style Show on April 23rd.

Jessica Fey, former Live Your Dream honoree, Dolly Wakeham mom & attendee at our jessicas restaurant 032017Day of Self-Esteem: planned and executed a super successful “restaurant” for one of her classes.  It was called A Taste of Persia.  She did everything from planning & creating the full menu highlighting the courses we would be tasting that day, finding the healthy recipes (everything was gluten free) and communicating with the culinary students, planning and securing the décor and greeting guests and informing them of what their dining experience was going to be.  Jessica will be graduating with her Bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach  in May.  Like Rae, you can say hi to Jessica at our Style Show on April 23rd.

Jessica's Menu - the food we sampled was highlighted in each section.

Jessica’s Menu – the food we sampled was highlighted in each section.

Megan Lattimer,  former Live Your Dream honoree, current Dolly Wakeham mom and culinary arts student at Orange Coast College, was invited by one of her teachers to help prepare food at the Power Rangers Premiere which was held in Westwood on March 22nd. Megan arrived early and was not sure how to get in so, she walked the Red Carpet (before the stars, like Brian Cranston, got there).  Megan did such a good job that the Chef catering the event asked her if she would like to work future movie premiers.  Of course, she said yes.  Megan will be one of our special models at our Style Show on April 23rd.

Janet Slinkard, attendee at our Day of Self-Esteem, single mom, student and graphic artist: created the fantastic flyer for our Style Show on April 23rd and will be one of our models that day, as well.

Ingrid Serna, current Live Your Dream honoree and attendee at our Day of Self-Esteem, will graduate with her Bachelor’s from Cal State Long Beach in May.  Ingrid will not be able to join us at our Style Show as she is volunteering at another event that day.

Several members of our club, Alisa Armstrong, Marcelle Capps, Nouha Hreish & yours truly, attended Newport Area Harbor’s LunaFest along with approximately 100 other women and one man, Governor Susan’s husband, Lyon.  He didn’t know he was going to be the only man until he got there.  LunaFest features short films by women and about women.

Our club truly believes in service so at our Program Meeting on March 23rd, we put together “shoe boxes” full of items like lotion, soap, shampoo, etc. for the teenage girls at the Huntington Beach Youth Shelter plus, we made cards for each of them.  A special thanks to Georgette Sleeth and Jennifer Klein for providing us with so many fun and inspirational tools, including a die cutter,  to help us make our one-of-a-kind cards extra special.
creating cards for girls at youth shelter 032017And, I couldn’t let this month slip by without a very special announcement.  Our wonderful treasurer, Linda Lyons, got engaged to her boyfriend of over a year, Kurt. Linda’s engagement will be one she will never forget.  She and Kurt were out in Indian Wells attending a tennis match.  According to Linda, Kurt was not acting like his usual “laid back” self….and then she found out why….The Jumbotron flashed a message: “Linda, will you marry me?” and then the Jumbotron focused on Linda.  You can see her beautiful ring, which Kurt picked out all by himself, on the ring finger of her left hand.  CONGRATULATIONS LINDA!

As we slip out of March and into April, I just want to wish our Corresponding Secretary, Kimberly Kent, a very, very happy milestone birthday on April 1st!

And speaking of April…did you know that on April 1st…
~ 1792 Gronings feminist, Etta Palm, demanded the women’s right to divorce.
~ 1916 1st US national women’s swimming championships held
~ 1930 The Blue Angel, Marlene Dietrich in her breakthrough role, premiered in Germany
~ 1931 Jackie Mitchell became the 1st female in professional baseball
~ 1941 Lillian Hellman’s “Watch on the Rhine” premieres in NYC
~ 1984 3rd NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: USC beats Tennessee 72-61
~ 1990 9th NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Stanford beats Auburn 88-81
~ 2001 20th NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship: Notre Dame beats Purdue 68-66

I hope to see you at our Style Show on April 23rd!

Yours in service,




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Soroptimists Around The World Celebrate International Women’s Day 2017


Malaysian women peacekeepers of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) at a medal ceremony in Kawkaba, south Lebanon.

The theme of 2017’s International Women’s Day is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”.

The following is taking from www.un.org.
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

The idea of this theme is to consider how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, especially goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. The theme will also focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda:

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

The world of work is changing, and with significant implications for women. On one hand, we have globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, and on the other hand, the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts—all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment. ”

For more information, please go to http://www.unwomen.org/en/get-involved/step-it-up.

Together we can make it happen!



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It All Began With A Meetup…Focus on Leslie Miller


Corporate Head-shots

In order to promote Soroptimist in Huntington Beach and hopefully attract more women to either join us or support us, I decided to create a Meetup for our club.  I had no idea or expectations of what would happen but, we struck gold when Leslie Miller found us!

Leslie joined our Meetup and then came to a meeting in September, 2016.  In October, she joined our club.

When I asked Leslie what made her decide to become a Soroptimist, here is what she said, “I have been seeking a volunteer organization that was in line with my own interests – specifically organizations that support women and children.  And importantly, I am looking for new avenues to meet new people!  I was so excited when I read about SI and all the great programs you work with.  and my first meeting made a great impression – a very lively bunch indeed!” (No one will ever accuse us of being any less than “lively”.)

For Leslie, her membership “means supporting causes, developing friendships and helping the community in an impactful way.”

Although Leslie is employed full time, she is fortunate to be able to work from home.  In her role as the Director of Administration & Operations for Beaker Inc., an executive search and management consulting firm focused on the life science industry, she supports the administrative side of the entire company – from HR to operations to project management and more.  As a charter member of the company since its launch in 2008, she has actually worked for the CEO for 17 years (12 virtually, as he is based in North Carolina).

Work and raising kids has kept Leslie busy for several years but she has still managed to be a Girl Scout Troop Leader (for her daughter’s troop) and has periodically supported other non profits, like the Project Self-Sufficient Adopt-A-Family at Christmas.

Leslie says she is “devoted to her family and dog, Rocko, (who we hope will join us at our Dog Walk to Make a Difference this coming June) but when she does find herself with spare time, she enjoys walking, reading, water fitness classes, bicycling on the beach, travel, enjoying wine (we like that) with friends and laughing!”

Speaking of travel, she and her husband, David (they’ve been married since 1994) took their family to Maui, and she is planning her first vacation to Europe (on a River Cruise) this spring with her well-traveled mother.

And speaking of David, they met through friends.  Leslie says, “he was always the third wheel” but, he must have been the best “wheel” for her.  He is funny and smart!  Daily laughter and “I Love You’s” are a must in their household.

Leslie is also the proud mother of two: Her son, Jared (19) graduated in 2016 from Marina High School with honors.  He is attending Goldenwest College and deciding which direction he wants to go.  His passions are music production, photography and psychology.  Her daughter, Jordan (age 14) is a freshman at Marina High School and is a member of the Field Hockey team and several clubs as well as taking advanced coursework.  (Need to find out if there is a story or reason behind the fact that both of their kids have names beginning with the letter “J”.)

I am honored and proud to be Leslie’s SI Huntington Beach mentor and hope our friendship and the friendships she will make as a member of our club will continue to grow for years and years and will include many joys, adventures, laughs and glasses of wine!



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The Spirit of Giving


The Spirit of Giving shouldn’t be limited to one season but should be something we all do on a daily basis.  Christmas has past….Hanukkah continues for another day, and the new year begins tomorrow.

Will you make a New Year’s resolution?  Will you stay up until midnight to watch the ball drop in Times Square?

Hal & I are celebrating our 23rd anniversary today by having dinner at wonderful little french restaurant, Pescadou Bistro, in Newport Beach.  Is there anyone else who is reading this post celebrating their anniversary or birthday today?  If you are, let me know and I will add it to my first post of 2017….or, even if you are not celebrating an event and want to share how you spent the last day of 2016,  please let me know.

I would like to begin 2017 with this quote from Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lost yourself in the service of others.”  Isn’t that what Soroptimist is all about?  Being of service to women and girls?


“Today I give thanks to everyone who has been part of my life’s journey” – anonymous

Until next year,


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Welcome Home….Spotlight on Michele Robb



When Michele Robb decided to come home to Orange County, SI Huntington Beach got lucky.  Michele not only jumped in with all her heart, she immediately became an active participant.

Why is Michele a Soroptimist?  In her own words, “so I can have a life that is ever so much more so!”

Although Michele joined Soroptimist of Huntington Beach in June, 2016, she has been a Soroptimist a lot longer.  In 2007, she joined Soroptimist International of Roxborough, PA and held many offices including Corresponding Secretary, Vice-President and President.  And, she continues to support them as best she can…long distance!

Although Michele says she is “retired” from the grocery industry and from the archdioceses of Philadelphia, she really isn’t.  Michele continues to work part-time for the Public Authority, managing the affairs of disabled people.  And, in her spare time (if she really has any), she walks neighborhood dogs.

For fun, Michele is a practicing musician – guitar.  In fact, her email address is “oldguitarlady”, and she is very big on promoting and supporting other musicians.

Michele says she doesn’t travel as much as she used to and has only been to Temecula (wine tasting, Michele?) in the last 12 months.

Michele is a mother to 4 grown children, one of whom lives with her in Huntington Beach.

And last but not least, she has a dog!  Next time you see Michele, be sure to ask her what her dog’s name is.

Moving from Philadelphia to Huntington Beach was certainly SI Roxborough’s loss but it was definitely our GAIN!

I am sure that I speak for the whole club in saying, “we’re so happy you are here!”



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In November, We Give More Than Thanks…We Remember!


As we head into the busiest season of the year…Thanksgiving…Hanukkah…Christmas…Kwanzaa…New Year’s Eve, let’s take a minute to acknowledge and appreciate all we have…our families…our friends…our health and our freedom.  We live in a country that, despite its flaws, is a great country to live in.

So, if you get an opportunity this month, call that friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile, send someone a card for no reason at all or smile at all the strangers you encounter in your daily life, and remember some of these other important dates.

November 20: The United Nations‘ (UN) Universal Children’s Day, which was established in 1954, is celebrated on November 20 each year to promote international togetherness and awareness among children worldwide.


The Convention, which is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty, set out a number of children’s rights including the right to life, to health, to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard.

On the basis of the Convention and joint effort by all the countries and regions, we promote and celebrate childrens’ rights on the Universal Children’s Day, and continuously build up a living-friendly environment for children in the world through dialogues and actions.

“… I wish to emphasize the importance of ensuring that the commitments made by the international community to the world’s children are extended to a group of children who are often forgotten or overlooked: those deprived of their liberty.”
~Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

November 24: Happy Thanksgiving!  Today, as every day, I give thanks for all of the amazing people in my life who continue to help me be the best person I can be.



November 25: The United Nations General Assembly has designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.


The premise of the day is to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence; furthermore, one of the aims of the day is to highlight that the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

Historically, the date is based on date of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic.

In 1995, over 20 years ago, 189 governments came together in Beijing. They adopted a Platform for Action that spelled out key strategies to end violence against women, empower women, and achieve gender equality. … The promises from then are still valid today. Together we must make 2016-2017 the year sthat mark the beginning of the end of gender inequality. Now is the time for action.  (source: Wikipedia)

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Campaign UNiTE to End Violence against Women has proclaimed the 25th of each and every month as “Orange Day,” a day to raise awareness of and take action to end violence against women and girls. As the bright and optimistic color for the UNiTE Campaign, orange represents a future free from violence against women and girls. Orange Day calls upon activists, governments, and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, but every month.


In 2016, a new global development agenda was adopted and ratified by every UN Member State. Through its 17 goals and 169 targets, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, an agenda for global action for the next 15 years, addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social, and environmental. The Agenda recognises gender equality and the empowerment of women as a key priority and pledges that “no one will be left behind.” Goal 5 of the agenda aims to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” and includes specific targets to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. All goals are integrated and indivisible, therefore their achievement is also fully dependent on ensuring parallel and interconnected implementation to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls.



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Important Dates to Remember – October 2016


As we head into the busiest season of the year, it is good to take a few minutes to think beyond Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa & Christmas so, here are some other dates that I feel are worth noting.

October 3: Soroptimist Founder’s Day (1921)
In the spring of 1921, Stuart Morrow, an organizer of men’s service clubs, visited Oakland, California. In search of a potential member for an Optimist* club, Morrow called on the Parker-Goddard Secretarial School, presuming it was run by men and found instead Miss Adelaide Goddard and Miss Mabel Parker owned the school. Explaining his mistake, Morrow excused himself. As Morrow left, Miss Goddard remarked she would be interested in joining such a club for women if he ever considered forming one.

Goddard’s remark set the wheels in motion for Stuart Morrow. He contacted a number of business women in the community, and invited them to a preliminary meeting on May 21. Of the six women in attendance, only one showed real interest. This woman began recruiting her acquaintances and on June 21, a luncheon meeting with 10 women officially launched the club toward its goal of 80 members to receive a charter from Morrow.

This core group met once a week, and continued to gather the names of eligible women from Alameda County; they also chose the name Soroptimist for the organization, coining a word from two Latin words “soror”—woman and “optima”—the best.

On September 26, the charter was closed and officers were elected with Violet violet richardson wardRichardson Ward serving as the president. The presentation of the charter and an installation ceremony took place on October 3, 1921, the day officially celebrated as Founders Day.

In 1927 Stuart Morrow agreed to sell all rights, title and interest in the name “Soroptimist” and all the rights in the corporation for $5,500. While eight clubs underwrote the purchase, all clubs, including those in Europe and Great Britain, contributed. The American federation was formed at the Washington, DC, conference in 1928. (The federation was to be self-governed and self-supported, but was united with the European federation as the Soroptimist International Association.)

October 11: International Day of the Girl Child
International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of the Girl and the International Day of the Girl. October 11, 2012, was the first Day of the Girl. The observation supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as right to education/access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination,violence against women and unfree child marriage.

The International Day of the Girl Child initiative began as a project of Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates worldwide. The idea for an international day of observance and celebration grew out of Plan International’s Because I Am a Girl campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of nurturing girls globally and in developing countries in particular. Plan International representatives in Canada approached the Canadian federal government to seek to the coalition of supporters raised awareness of the initiative internationally.

International Day of the Girl Child was formally proposed as a resolution by Canada in the United Nations General Assembly. Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister for the Status of Women, sponsored the resolution; a delegation of women and girls made presentations in support of the initiative at the 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly voted to pass a resolution adopting October 11, 2012 as the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child. The resolution states that the Day of the Girl recognizes

[the] empowerment of and investment in girls, which are critical for economic growth, the achievement of all Millennium Development Goals, including the eradication of poverty and extreme poverty, as well as the meaningful participation of girls in decisions that affect them, are key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, and recognizing also that empowering girls requires their active participation indecision-making processes and the active support and engagement of their parents, legal guardians, families and care providers, as well as boys and men and the wider community […]

Each year’s Day of the Girl has a theme; the first was “ending child marriage”, the second, in 2013, was “innovating for girl’s education”, the third, in 2014, was “Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence.”  and the fourth, in 2015 was “The Power of Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030″.


This year’s theme focuses on adolescent girls and the Sustainable Development Goals, which set a range of international targets, including on gender equality, to be achieved by 2030.  For more information, go to UNWOMEN.org

girl day3 use



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Embracing the Feisty, Fearless Old Lady Within by Elizabeth Gilbert


I am always on the lookout for ideas…inspirational stories about women and girls..and things that make me think.  This happened to cross my path this week, and I thought I would share it with all of you!

illustration by julia breckenreid

illustration by julia breckenreid

“Many years ago when I was going through a dark season of depression and self-loathing, I taped a sweet photograph of myself at the tender age of 2 on my bathroom mirror. Looking at that photo every day reminded me that I once was this blameless little person, deserving of all tenderness—and that part of me would always be this blameless little person deserving of all tenderness. Meditating upon a smaller and more innocent version of my face helped me learn to be more compassionate to myself. I was finally able to recognize that any harm I inflicted on me, I was also inflicting on her. And that little kid clearly didn’t deserve to be harmed.

Reconnecting with one’s inner child is a terrific therapeutic practice, whether you have old wounds to heal or simply want to avoid opening up new ones.

These days, however, I find I’m not so interested in my inner child. Instead, I have become absolutely fixated upon channeling my “inner crone”—the badass old lady who already dwells somewhere deep within me and whom I hope to fully become someday.

I recently tucked away the photo of my adorable 2-year-old self and replaced it with a photo of my favorite and most inspiring true-life crone—an elderly but sturdy Ukrainian babushka named Hanna Zavorotnya, who has a face like boiled pierogi and lives in Chernobyl. Yes, that Chernobyl.

Thirty years ago, when the nearby nuclear reactor blew up, Hanna’s town became unlivable, even deadly. (And so it will remain for centuries.) The entire population was evacuated and sent to soul-crushing government housing in other cities. But as time passed, a small handful of tough peasants defiantly sneaked back to their contaminated ancestral homeland, where they have been thriving now for years. Most are in their 70s and 80s. Most—like Hanna, my human spirit animal—are women.

You know why Hanna wants to live in Chernobyl? Because she likes it there. It’s home. Is it safe? Of course not. It’s some of the most dangerous land on earth. But to a lady like Hanna, who has already been through so many trials (famine, World War II, an atomic meltdown, aging itself), what does safe even mean anymore? So Hanna drinks the contaminated water, plants vegetable gardens in the poisoned soil, makes her own moonshine, laughs about life, and then goes outside to butcher another radioactive pig to make radioactive sausage. She is joined by her friends, who live and laugh and butcher their own irradiated pigs.

And get this: These fearless babushkas of Chernobyl are outliving their compatriots who stayed behind in the “safe” and “nontoxic” cities.

Why are these tough old crones thriving? Because they are happy.

And why are they happy? Because they do exactly what they want.

I’d really like to do that.

Some might consider the word crone derogatory. I don’t. The crone is an ancient and formidable character in myth and folklore. She’s the bearer of great wisdom. Even when blind, she manages to possess supernatural vision. She is often a guardian of the underworld because she has no fear of death—which means, of course, she has no fear of anything.

We live in a society that fetishizes youth. In fact, we live in a culture where staying young is considered a real accomplishment. But I’m losing interest (if I ever had any at all) in being forever 21.

Of course I still have an inner child. I always will. But these days, when my inner child starts feeling insecure or terrified of the world, I just ask myself, WWMICD? What would my inner crone do?

Then that beautiful old being rises up, fixes me with her fearless, cloudy gaze, and says the same powerful word every time: “Live.””

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of, most recently, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear(Riverhead).

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Because We CARE


This year our club, SI Huntington Beach, chose to support the CARE program at Orange Coast College.  You might ask…what is the CARE Program and why would we support them?

The Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program CARE was established by the State of California in 1982 as a supplemental component of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) to provide support services and activities for the single, head of household student. This program was designed to promote self-sufficiency through education and training (sound familiar?) and is comprised solely of EOPS students who are also single parents receiving public assistance. The CARE program is the combined effort of three agencies: the Department of Social Services, the Department of Employment and the college. The hope is to break the welfare-dependency cycle by completing college-level educational training programs to become more employable and economically self-sufficient…and it is primarily single moms!  Fits right in with our mission….don’t you agree?

CARE Coordinator, Tracy, and her assistant, Dillon

Some of the services CARE provides are: academic & personal counseling, meal cards, gas cards, book service, bus passes, material fees, school supplies, tutoring, agency & community referrals, seminars & workshops, cultural events & emotional support PLUS…they have a pantry where the students can come and get things like bottles of water, healthy snacks, protein snacks, socks, baby wipes and other baby items, feminine hygiene products, bar soap, shampoo, conditioner and more.  That’s where we come in.  We have budgeted some money to help stock their pantry but, we know that what we will be providing will not be enough so, if you would like to help out, please bring those items to any of our meetings or if you cannot come to a meeting or if you are not a member of our club but a wonderful supporter, please email us at info@soroptimisthuntingtonbeach.org and we will make arrangements to connect with you.  They also accept donations like gas cards and store gift cards (like Target).

And, CARE offers workshops to the students as well which includes a catered lunch and are intended for the student’s personal enrichment.

CARE Coordinator, Tracy, with SIHB President, Georgette

CARE Coordinator, Tracy, with SIHB President, Georgette

Many of the moms we adopt for our Soroptimist year and our Live Your Dream honorees are also in the CARE Programs at Orange Coast College and Golden West College.

Tracy with CARE mom, Allison

Tracy with CARE mom, Allison

So…now I hope you understand why we CARE 😀 .

For more information about CARE at Orange Coast College, go to http://www.orangecoastcollege.edu/student_services/EOPS/Pages/CARE.aspx.

Just remember…a little CARE-ing goes a long, long way!


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