Official Gratitude Day, Friday, September 21, 2018


“Gratitude Day is celebrated annually on the 21st September. The celebration of Gratitude Day allows both individual citizens and organisations within wider society to celebrate the broad meaning of gratitude in a variety of ways.


The celebration started in 1965 in Hawaii when an international gathering decided that it would be a good idea to have one day per year to formally express gratitude and appreciation for the many wonderful things to be found in the world. Following the meeting in Hawaii, many attendees marked Gratitude Day on 21st September 1966 when back in their own countries. Ever since then, the number of people celebrating Gratitude Day across the world has grown and grown.

A Day For Gratitude

The awareness of the benefits of having time in one’s life for gratitude, appreciation and positive reflection have become increasingly apparent. The hope of the founders of Gratitude Day is that by taking time, one day a year, to reflect on the many amazing things we have in our lives, it would positively impact our well-being and make us happier, more contented people.”
_Source: Days of the Year

Some thoughts for you to ponder on this very special day:
Take time to appreciate your family…immediate, extended and those who may not be related but whom you consider family…maybe give them a call…
Appreciate how connected you are…on your social media sites…via text messaging…email…snail mail…send someone you haven’t heard from in awhile a note…
Be thankful for where you live and the businesses who serve you and whom you support…Say thank you to the checker or the bag boy or girl at your grocery store…
Give yourself a little love….appreciate your unique you…and what you give to those you love…your community…the world…Give yourself a big hug…
Make every day a gratitude day…Create a “gratitude” journal…jot down at least one thing you are grateful for every day….you will be surprised at the results!





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Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach Kicks Off Its 2018-19 Year!


55 years ago, Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach began its mission to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

Since that year, the women we serve and the scope of our Soroptimist community has grown exponentially.  The women we serve stretch all the way to Haiti where we sponsor  a young girl, Stephane, to go to school so hopefully she can live her dream of being a teacher one day.  Our members live all over southern California…from Whittier to Orange…from Cypress to Fountain Valley…and of course, Huntington Beach!

And speaking of members, at our first business meeting of our 2018-19 year, we celebrated Georgette’s 5th anniversary!  Georgette jumped in from the “get-go”.  She has been our recording secretary and our club president…the latter 3 times…since she joined.  We love you, Georgette and The Girl Cave, too!

And that’s not all!  Our 2018-19 VP of Membership, Carrie, installed not one but two new members, Anji and Mary!

And so, as we begin a new chapter in our book of helping women and girls to live their dreams; we once again, want to say thank you to our many members and supporters. We couldn’t do it without you.

And…last but certainly not least…we invite you to join us at our first program meeting of the year on September 27th at the Claim Jumper Restaurant in Fountain Valley.  For more information, please visit our Meetings & Events page or contact us at  We hope to see you there!




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Long Walks on the Beach…Spotlight on Mary Chiappetta


We are so excited to welcome new member, Mary Chiapetta…and we thank long walks on the beach with Christine Soresi for introducing Mary to Soroptimist International of Huntington Beach.

To help you get to know Mary a little better, here is some information about her.

Mary became a single mom to her young daughter, Gina, after her husband passed away.  Gina, now grown up, lives in Fountain Valley and works for an organization that provides independent living services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

She is new to Huntington Beach after spending 22 years in Yorba Linda.  Also, Huntington Beach is a lot closer to Fountain Valley than Yorba Linda is. 🙂

She says she has “been looking for a way to give back to the community and help girls and mothers who need extra financial, educational and emotional support.”

Most of Mary’s volunteer work in the past has been school and faith-based, both through Gina’s schools and her church. Mary’s friend, Debbie, “is the lead at Mitzvah  Meals in Tustin on the second Sunday of the month, so I often go and help her cook, and also deliver and serve.”  And, sometimes Mary volunteers at Branson’s Kitchen in Huntington Beach.

Mary retired from the business world where she managed marketing, corporate/internal communications, public relations and community involvement for financial services firms.  She also provided oversight for philanthropic efforts, including national builds for Habitat for Humanity, financial support for Orange County School of the Arts and employee-taught Junior Achievement classes in the community.  Most recently, she was the business manager for a forensics firm specializing in HVAC expert witness services.

And…in February, 2018, Mary got remarried….to John…whom she has known for 36 years.  She says they are “both active golfers, bikers, walkers and travellers” and are both from the Chicago area: Mary from the south side in Beverly and John from Park Ridge (and me from Evanston!).  Mary and John worked together for 5 years in the 80’s at Marina Bank in downtown Chicago and says, they now “rent in the city on the river” near Lake Shore Drive.  You may want to ask Mary what other places are on their “bucket list”.

Mary joined our club in August, 2018, and says she loves SI Huntington Beach because, we allow members to get involved in a very hands-on way.  She goes on to say that she also likes “the idea of meeting and working with like-minded women on causes close to my heart.”

So…once again, thank you Christine Soresi and your long walks on the beach with Mary!




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Gratitude Day is Every Day


What is gratitude?

According to one source: Gratitude means thanks and appreciation. … Gratitude, which rhymes with “attitude,” comes from the Latin word gratus, which means “thankful, pleasing.”

Officially, Gratitude Day this year is Friday, September, 21st.

You might ask, “Where did the official gratitude day come from?”

First celebrated in 1965, it was later officially adopted by the United Nations Meditation Group and is recognized each year as a day to show appreciation for all things, big and small.

But, for me, every day is gratitude day and today, we would like to acknowledge and express our deep appreciation to those who supported our annual River Walk to Make a Difference this past June.

Face Lickers
Mary Sue Bowden

Cookie Lovers
Seacliff Electronic Commerce

Linda Lyons

Couch Potatoes
Donna Skinner
Michael Soresi
Bethann Arko
Nancy Lyons
Mark Plager & Michael Schack, Partners
Gifts from a Distance
Suzy Seymour
Cathy Standiford
Freda Matsuda

Litter Mates
Catherine Hetzel
Karen Brown
Barbara Lacy
Linda England
Nancy Horrocks
Susan Gilbey
Ryan & Alexandra Nichols
Marcelle Capps
Michele Robb
Eva Lowenstein
Leslie Miller
Christine Soresi (Life Legacy Advisors)

And to our supporters, two-footed and four-footed,  from all over Orange County who came out and walked with us, we thank you!

Please enjoy this short video



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Reflecting On Our 2017-2018 Year


As we prepare for our new Soroptimist year beginning in September, it is easy to forget what we accomplished in our 2017-18 year.

President Marcelle put together a list of our accomplishments that she read at our last Program Meeting in June.

I hope we all take pride in what we did last year…I know I do!

2017 – 2018 List of Accomplishments

  • Mitzvah Meals: Prepared meals for various homeless shelters at Temple Beth Sholom (twice).
  • Donated and delivered a full-size bed to a senior lady from the HB Senior Center. Thank you, Cathy Standiford for donating the bed and thanks to Diana Perna for providing transportation for the pickup and delivery.
  • Donated a scooter to a senior lady from the Senior Center. Scooter donated Diana Perna.
  • Collected packs of diapers to donate to the CARE pantries at Orange Coast, golden West and Coastline colleges
  • Assembled 38 jars filled with toiletries, socks, snacks, etc. for Collette’s House.
  • Adopted 2 moms and 5 children for the year as supported by the Dolly Wakeham fund
  • Helped one of the ‘DW moms’ move from a shelter to her own apartment. Thank you to all the members who donated money, furniture and various household items to set her up in her new apartment.  Members helped with the move and organized the apartment.  Thank you to Alisa Armstrong for donating the couch and to Diana Perna for getting it delivered
  • Through efforts by Terry Rose, we generated 14 applications for the Live Your Dream program. Members met to select 5 honorees who received collectively a total of $7,500 in scholarships.  We purchased a new computer for one of the applicants.  We passed on the remaining 9 applications to neighboring clubs to select for awards.
  • Together with the Newport Area Harbor club, Cathy Standiford led 12 members as they conducted 2 sessions of 7 weeks of the Dream, It Be It curriculum to 30 female High School students from the Newport Mesa High School.
  • Donated $600 to the Youth Shelter as evidenced by the snowflake at the Huntington Beach pier at Christmas time.
  • Donated 2 scooters, 2 pairs of roller skates and helmets and 1 skate board to Project Self-Sufficiency for their – Christmas party.
  • Adopted 3 ladies from the Senior Center for Christmas and bought them items from their Christmas Wish lists. We repeated this giving as the senior ladies needed more items.
  • Donated $1000 to Build Futures, an organization that takes homeless youth, ages 18 to 24 off the streets to self-sufficiency.
  • Held a Christmas party for the Dolly Wakeham moms and their children. Thank you, Leslie Miller for opening up your home for this event.
  • Collected and donated items to the C.A.R.E. Program at Orange Coast College.
  • Showered our 3 Dolly Wakeham families with Christmas gifts and gifts for other special occasions.
  • Megan Lattimer, a former Dolly Wakeham mom, moved into a new apartment and SIHB donated $250 towards the cost of a bunk bed for her children. Members donated various items for her new place.
  • Held our annual, signature Day of Empowerment and pampered 20 women with clothing, hair styling and make-up. In other words, we showed them how important, supported and loved they are.  Thank you to the Assistance League for opening their store and facility for this event and for our newly formed partnership and collaboration for years to come!
  • Collected and donated 24 gift cards and a silent auction basket to the District Spring Conference. Gift cards go to support the EOPS CARE programs at various community colleges throughout our region.
  • Donated $1,280 to Soroptimist International for Club Giving. This amount is 10% of last year’s income and it will be used by SI for additional Live Your Dream Awards.
  • Awarded $1,250 scholarship to a Project Self Sufficiency participant.
  • Gave $100 gift cards to one current and one of our past LYD award winners who graduated from college.
  • Sponsored a student in Haiti so that she may continue to attend school. What is she studying to be – it used to be teacher.
  • Awarded $500 Catou Defriend scholarship to a dance student from HBHS. This donation was matched by another non-profit.
  • Purchased a $30 duck at the Duck-A-Thon in honor of Donna Cross, a former SIHB president. Proceeds from this event go to Alta Med, Huntington Beach Community Clinic.

And where did we get all this money from?

  • The annual Wine Tasting event raised about $3,800.
  • The annual Stay Home for the Holidays event raised about $6,000.
  • Three Bunco’s raised approximately $2,000.
  • Received a grant from AES for $1500.
  • Received cash donations for over $500 each from various members.
  • The Walk to Make a Difference raised approximately $2,000.

And then……..

  • Our membership grew by about 25% and that’s 12 new members.
  • We received the Celebrating Success Award for our Walk to Make A Difference.
  • 11 members attended the winter district meeting.
  • Received a badge for Great Non-Profits as people gave testimonials about our club.
  • 8 Members attended the DCR spring conference.



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From Cheeky Chicks to Soroptimist…Focus on Elissa Wildermuth


Score another point for Meetup…and Bunco!  SIHB member, Georgette, owner of The Girl Cave in Huntington Beach reached out to her Meetup Group to announce a Bunco Fundraiser.  When Elissa heard about it, she asked Geogette what is Soroptimist?  Georgette explained.  Elissa came to our Bunco Fundraiser….And even though Elissa lives in Whittier…she decided to join our group…this past December.

Elissa was unaware of Soroptimist before she spoke with Georgette and when she experienced for herself, the impact we had on the lives of women and their families, she was drawn to our cause, improving the lives of women and girls…and equally as important, to SI Huntington Beach!  In her own words, “The opportunities the ladies have had after receiving mentoring, funds and scholarships (Live Your Dream Awards) is life changing, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a small part of it.”

So for Elissa, becoming a Soroptimist has given her the chance to make a difference in lives of women and girls and she has jumped right in.

Although Elissa hasn’t joined the board yet (we’ll give her a year), she is already an active member of the club.

So…let’s get to know Elissa a little bit better….

  • She is a retired account manager/inside sales.
  • She and her husband, Jerry, have dedicated one of their bedrooms as Elissa’s Craft Room where she spends a few days a week crafting shabby chic Victorian wreaths, decoupage boxes and more and anticipates re-opening her Etsy store.  To learn more about Elissa’s Etsy store, including its name, you will need to ask Elissa the next time you see her.
  • Elissa loves to take walk in a nearby, “lovely” park, and she is a member of the YMCA where her husband, Jerry, is a personal trainer.  To find out if Elissa trains with Jerry, you will have to ask her 🙂
  • Along with Soroptimist, Elissa is involved with a church group that helps underemployed families – mainly single mothers.  She actively gives and provides staples when needed.
  • When asked what her hobbies are, Elissa replied art, crafting and wine tasting…so easy to see why Elissa fits in so well with us!
  • Elissa and Jerry like to travel for fun and recently has gone to Napa, Carmel, Pismo Beach and Paso Robles (at least 2 of those areas known for wine).  They also spend a week during the summer with family in Carpenteria….and Elissa enjoys a sister reunion at least once a year with her sister who lives in Port Angeles, Washington. And…what do the sisters do when they are together? They stay in bed and breakfast places, go to music festivals and guess what….? They go wine tasting!
  • Elissa met her “wonderful” husband in church and this past May, they celebrated their 42nd anniversary!
  • Elissa says she and Jerry are “polar opposites”: he: type A, extremely outgoing; she:needs to warm up to people…but, according to Elissa, “we have weathered many storms over the years and are now pretty darn happy together.”
  • Elissa and Jerry have two grown children: Leah, 39, who is single and will begin classes this year to become and therapist and Michael, 37, who is married to Jen, is a lineman apprentice with the electric company, City of Burbank, and who has two children, granddaughers Avery and Vivien.  Elissa says Jerry is a “fabulous grandpa”, and I would be willing to bet she is a fabulous grandma, too.
  • If Elissa could describe herself in one word, it would be caring.

We are honored that Elissa chose to become a member of Soroptimist International Huntington Beach and are looking forward to many years of friendship and service with her!




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Spotlight On Our Partner… Project Self-Sufficiency


Soroptimist International Huntington Beach enjoys a very long-standing relationship with Project Self-Sufficiency (PSS).

Both organizations have complimentary missions: to improve the lives of women and their children through access to education. The following is taken directly from their website:
“Project Self-Sufficiency is a community-based program in Orange County, California, assisting low income, single parents to achieve economic independence through education, training, and social services.
Graduates from PSS leave with a new sense of self that reaches far beyond the program. These parents become leaders and contributors in the community; they feel pride in their accomplishments that is reflected in the eyes of their children.”

For the most part, we serve the same community.  While we serve only women and girls, PSS serves:
98% Single mothers
2% Single fathers
100% Low Income
100% Enrolled in college
56% Full time college students
50.3% Inadequate housing

And most of the women we serve are in the Project Self-Sufficiency Program.

We cherish our relationship with PSS.  Most of our Dolly Wakeham (adopted) moms are also PSS moms.  Most of our Live Your Dream honorees are also PSS moms, and we look forward to continuing and growing this relationship for years to come…until their are no low income, single mothers who are going to school and often working too, in Orange County.,

For years we have supported PSS at holiday time and with a scholarship for their June Recognition Program.  This year was no exception.  Our President, Marcelle Capps, and I along with Laura Syzdek, who is also very active in PSS and the Huntington Beach Assistance League along with Soroptimist Huntington Beach, attended the June Recognition Program.
It warmed our hearts to see so many women we have served receive recognition and scholarships at this annual event.  We were thrilled that another member of SIHB, Alisa Armstrong, gave several scholarships and even more excited when we discovered that the SIHB scholarship was being awarded to one of our 2017-18 Live Your Dream honorees, Yulia!

Our joy didn’t stop there as many of the women who received recognition and scholarships that evening were current or former Live Your Dream honorees, like Allison (there were actually 2 Allisons from 2 different years), Charity, Rae, Megan and Jennifer, to name a few.

As Marcelle & I were leaving the event, I was reminded of the song, We are Family by Sister Sledge as we are all in the same community, a community of women helping women, with the same objectives…and so I leave you with this thought:

Leadership quote: Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

With great pride,



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Introducing Spirit….the new Soroptimist Huntington Beach Spokes-Puppy


Introducing Spirit

For the last 4 years, River, our Belgian Sheepdog, has been the SI Huntington Beach Spokes-Dog.  It all began in 2014, when River and I walked 3 miles round trip from our home to the Huntington Beach Pier to raise funds to help improve the lives of women and girls for our club.

That first year, River raised $380…not bad for one dog and no advertising.  But, River thought he could do better…and the next year, he gathered both four and two-footed friends plus many generous sponsors and donors, and they walked together, raising over $5,800!

Thus…the Walk to Make a Difference (aka The River Walk) was born.

River Rose raises funds and walks to make a difference

Unfortunately, in November 2017, at the age of 9, River went to the Rainbow Bridge but, he sent me a message before he left that we would not be alone or without someone to carry on his mission….to help improve the lives of women and girls primarily through the Soroptimist International of the Americas two signature programs, Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for women and Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls.

I found a breeder in California, and on December 7, 2017, Spirit was born.  Not only is Spirit a black Belgian Sheepdog with a white blaze like River’s, she is also his niece…and ready to carry on his legacy.

And so, Spirit invites you to ” Catch The Spirit” and join her for Soroptimist Huntington Beach’s 5th Annual Walk to Make a Difference on Sunday, June 24, 2018 beginning at 10:00AM at the Huntington Beach Pier.  Sponsors and donations welcome.  More information coming soon!

Warm wishes,

Terry & Spirit


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Honoring The Women We Serve – February 22, 2018


On February 22nd, we held our annual “Honoring The Women We Serve” Program Meeting….from my perspective, the best meeting of the year….because, it is at this meeting where we get to experience the impact we have made in the lives of the women we serve.  It is at this meeting where we gain a deeper understanding of our mission: to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment!

We caught up with women we have served in the past from Mira and Chelsea to Sally and Megan.

Mira is planning to retire in a few years and move back to Serbia where she wants to start a Soroptimist Club in her town….Chelsea has purchased her own, first home….Sally completed the Mortuary Science Program at Cypress College and is working in her field and….Megan, still a culinary student at Orange Coast College, has started her own catering business and will be moving into a new home in March!

We recapped our Day of Empowerment and expressed our gratitude to the Assistance League of Huntington Beach, especially Doris Kennedy and Laura Syzdek and to Evangelia Rosales and the students at Golden West College who provided hair and make up services.














We celebrated our long-standing relationships with Project Self-Sufficiency and Build Futures.

And we honored 5 women this year with Live Your Dream Awards….which is 2 more than we honored last year….and we gave away more money to each woman this year as well…thanks in part to a generous donation from AES!  

Introducing our 2017-18 Live Your Dream Honorees:

Kat , who attends Orange Coast College, wants to create sustainable textiles…Charity is completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services with an emphasis on Mental Health at Cal State Fullerton (after graduating from Coastline College)…Tammi is completing the Esthetician Program at Golden West College and also completing her AA in Communications.  She will use her Esthetician license as another way to support her daughter and herself while she completes her education.  Michelle, a student at Coastline Community College is pursuing a career as a Registered Dietician….and Yulia, also at Orange Coast College, wants to become a Math Teacher.

It is with our deepest gratitude that we thank this women who allow us into their lives and we thank our partners and supporters who continue to enable us to improve the lives of women and girls both locally and around the world!

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Coming Events You Won’t Want To Miss!


This is such an important week for Soroptimist Huntington Beach; I just couldn’t let it slip by with a little promotion!

The FIRST ever BUNCO BRUNCHO FUNdrai$er at The Girl Cave!  What a way to spend your (extended) lunch hour…..Laugh a lot….Eat tasty tidbits….Maybe even win a prize…No experience necessary….All you need to know how to do is roll dice…and there’s only 3 of them!!  Not to mention, it is for a great cause…helping to improve the lives of women & girls through programs leading to social & economic empowerment!

And…if that is not enough….the most important program meeting of our year….Honoring The Women We Serve…..Meet our 2017-18 Live Your Dream Honorees…plus….hear from women we have served in the past!  Invite your friends, family and co-workers…this is such an amazing meeting!


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