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

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read