A blog by SI Director Dawn Marie Lemonds
Last week Soroptimist International (SI) of Salisbury- a club chartered in the United Kingdom just last year, invited me and to attend its club meeting using the Zoom online platform and what a wonderful experience we had!
How fascinating it was to learn about the activities of this seven month old club, based in a City 800 years old!. Particularly for me, living in the ‘new world’ of California, USA, and a member of a 65 year old club, SI Newport Harbor Area. SI Salisbury is doing lots of things right- which includes a full menu of local and global service projects – focused on advancing women and girls. My friend, Liz Batten, former SIGBI Federation President is the ‘mother’ of the club. I have talked to her about how she strategically worked for 3-4 years using a lot of social media to eventually charter this club that now includes members in their 20’s through to more senior members – who didn’t reveal their ages!
It was exciting to learn that they had received a grant from the government of £10,000 to develop a website, stories, interviews etc., that show women’s impact on the history of the City of Salisbury. It was really interesting to discuss our similarities and our differences as we shared about our clubs. I learned that both clubs support local shelters or refuges for women who have gone through domestic violence. For three years this group has sponsored a STEM Contest for girls to encourage them to go into STEM programmes – even before they became a club!, whilst our club conducts a programme for girls in a local continuation high school – ‘Dream it Be It- Career Support for Girls ®’ to assist them with skills to achieve their career goals. We talked about fundraising and activities that keep our club members engaged. The hour flew by and I am quite sure that we will come together again – this time with even more members from both clubs.
As my club is entering its 65th year of service I urged this new club to keep a record of their activities as they move on so that they will be able to talk about their impact on the community and the world. For the next ‘international connection’ we plan to invite members of our Friendship Link, SI Okasaki, Japan – to join our meeting in May.
Isolation is often a status of mind. As Soroptimists – we must be present and be mindful of what we can do – safely and effectively. Women and girls need our support more than ever.