Soroptimist International Courtenay was chartered in 1944 and serves to help women of all ages through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

Soroptimists empower women

71 years of service for local club

  • Sep. 28, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Erina Haluschak

Record staff

 

What originally began as an alternative for women to Rotary, has now become a worldwide organization with more than 1,300 clubs working to improve the lives of women and girls.

Soroptimist International helps women of all ages through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. The word, loosely translated from Latin, means ‘best for women.’

“In the early 1920s in San Francisco, a female lawyer wanted to go to Rotary but (at the time) didn’t classify because it was only open to men,” explained Jean Violette, a member of the Soroptimist International of Courtenay. “It is a organization of business or professional women.”

The first Canadian Soroptimist club was chartered in 1926 in Vancouver; SI of Courtenay was chartered in 1944.

One of the charter members was Elizabeth Charlotte ‘Cherry’ Aitken, sister of Mary ‘Mamie’ Aitken (a member since 1947) who bequeathed $25,000 to the club after her passing in January this year.

“(The club) was really important to her,” noted Violette. “Both sisters loved being members and kept their membership with the club until their passing.”

Courtenay club historian and past president Margaret Wootton said Mamie was known for her warm heart, sweet smile and encouraging words.

She added her memory and values will live on for many years through the bequest through The Aitken Fund to identified community groups and the Comox Valley Community Foundation.

Violette said membership for the club is ongoing, and the key to becoming a member is to “be attracted to our programming; wanting to do what’s best for women and girls.”

She added there are a variety of projects which the SI Courtenay centres on including Live Your Dream, Dream It – Be It and SoroptiPaks.

“Live Your Dream is geared towards women who are the sole financial supporters of their family,” explained Violette. “It provides resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.”

The Dream It – Be It program provides career support for girls – specifically in high school – which helps them overcome obstacles and live their dreams.”

Wootton said the SoroptiPaks project began in 2003 in collaboration with Lilli House, the Comox Valley Transition Society and other local transition providers. They aim to supply a starter kit of basic household items for women and their children who need help and are transitioning to their own home.

“It’s full of useful items such as pots and pans and bedding,” she added, and noted the club applied for a Soroptimist Federation Club Grant and have received $2,500 for the upcoming year.

The club meets on the third Monday monthly from September to June at its new location – Glacier View Lodge – in the Adult Day Care program space at 2450 Back Rd. at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit wcsoroptimist.org, or search Soroptimist International of Courtenay on Facebook.

 

Just Posted

Basket raffle a Comox Valley Child Development Association Children’s Telethon tradition

One-stop Christmas shopping with Winner Takes All Basket rffle

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

Golden anniversary for G.P. Vanier Thursday

It was a day of celebration for students, educators and administrators past… Continue reading

Comox Valley RCMP seeking witnesses of attempted sexual assault

The Comox Valley RCMP is looking for witnesses after an attempted sexual… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Comox Valley gives back

A look at some of the organizations and individuals who help out in the community

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Most Read