Empowering Women One Step at a Time
Politics and Activism

Empowering Women One Step at a Time

A more in-depth look at the international service organization Soroptimist and they work they do locally and globally.

46
Empowering Women One Step at a Time
manipal blog

Many people have heard of the Rotary Club, an international service organization whose members are professional business leaders; this club only accepted male members until the 1980s. However, another significant service club, Soroptimist International, is not as well-known by the public. Founded in 1921, SI served almost as a female counterpart to Rotary; SI is a nonprofit organization for professional women that aims to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities around the world. Their main focus is giving young women education and resources that can help them be successful. Currently, there are 76,000 Soroptimist clubs in over 120 countries.

The name Soroptimist means “best for women,” which is an ideal the club stands for wholeheartedly. The local clubs participate in the Dream Programs of Soroptimist, which are Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women and Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls. These programs empower women and girls socially and economically by ensuring that they have access to education and the training necessary for them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. The Live Your Dream program is specifically for women who are the primary breadwinners in their families, have financial need, and are enrolled in school. Dream It, Be It is a newer addition that began last year. Soroptimist invests in programs that create sustainable, measurable change for women and girls. Moreover, the clubs also participate in local projects like mentoring women in domestic violence shelters, providing help services like mammograms to low-income women, and working to end sex trafficking. Local clubs also have specific focuses depending on the country and location. Clubs also participate in international programs depending on their individual funds.

For example, the Soroptimist International Chino Hills/Inland Empire club in California worked for years with anti-human trafficking organizations like C.A.S.E. to put on a local event called the West End Walk Against Human Trafficking. The goal of this event was to raise the community’s awareness of the human slave trade by educating people about preventative measures and how to get involved with groups that help victims. With their extensive organizational work, Chino Hills Soroptimist helped bring together community organizations, high school clubs, and local politicians, like Congressman Ed Royce and Assemblyman Curt Hagman, together to make this event a success.

Maria Rivera, the Vice President of Programs of the Chino Hills club, described in an interview some other major projects and activities the club does. Through the program Dream it, Be it, the Chino Hills club joined together with the Soroptimist of Chino Valley club to work with girls from Buena Vista Continuation High School. Some girls are at Buena Vista because they need help catching up and they return to their home schools once their grades have improved. Other girls there are either pregnant or have children in day care. Every month, a group of professional women from the Soroptimist club come to the school and talk with the girls in small sessions.

“Each session focuses on a different topic, like how to dress for success, how to qualify your goals, analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, and how to make short-term goals that will help accomplish an overall long-term goal. This program is career-oriented and empowers girls to strive for education after high school,” said Rivera.

The program was created last year, and the club uses input from the girls in innovating the curriculum. Two girls act as advisors and tell organizers which topics were the most popular and helpful. The advisors at Buena Vista are also very accommodating to the Soroptimist members; the program has become so popular with the students that now the mentors have more time with them. Every year, one of the girls wins an award as well. The current goal is to bring more young professionals to the program.

Another project that only the Chino Hills club does is a career day for sixth graders from a low-income school in Montclair. There is one specifically for girls and one for boys. The career day functions almost like speed-dating; the boys are paired with professional men and the girls with career women. The children ask the adults any questions they want, making the program more personal and interactive. The career day for boys, however, is more focused on teaching the boys to respect women and to stand against standards of toxic masculinity. This program has been going on for about five years.

Soroptimist International of the Americas also has another signature project called the Saturday of Service, which is on the first Saturday of March; this date was chosen because it is closer to International Women’s Day. This year the Chino Hills club might have a showing of the film Sold for the Saturday of Service, in order to focus more on fighting human trafficking.

“Another movie showing we are going to do at the Chino Hills Library is the movie The Chosen. It’s a 20 minute documentary about two girls from middle class families and how they get sucked into the world of human trafficking. This film is much more relatable to the Chino Hills community and demographics; we might do this in January before the West End Walk Against Human Trafficking,” said Rivera.

Because Soroptimist is a nonprofit organization, to subsidize the club they have different fundraisers. One of the signature fundraisers is a painting party that is coming up on September 23. The club has to raise money for the Dream Programs and also the scholarships they have for girls from Chino Hills High School and Ayala High School. The recipients are chosen not just by their grades, but mainly because of their volunteer work in the community.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Nordstrom's Biggest Sale Has The Most Legendary Deals On Luxury Beauty Brands We've Ever Seen

Counting down the days to the Chanel box set gracing my front door.

I oftentimes (excessively) use the excuse of my job as a writer to justify my excessive spending habits.

I needed the new Huda Beauty palette before anyone else in the name of journalistic integrity. It was my job to test out the new Francis Kurkdjian fragrance to make sure I could tell people whether or not it was truly worth the splurge (it was).

Keep Reading... Show less

Listen, you can do whatever you want with your free time. It's yours to spend and you have free range. However, I hope you recognize that there are a ton of proactive things you can do right now instead of stalking your man's ex – yes, I know you do it becuase we are all guilty of it.

Take this time to research your privilege. There are always new things to learn and ways to deepen your understanding of yourself, this world, and your surroundings. We live in a multi-dimensional, ever-changing society that needs your help and your time. By that, I mean there are so many layers to each and every one of us, and with our physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional selves, we can create real, positive change.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less

I remember the days where closet drinking before going to a party or bar was part of the night's itinerary. It was a requirement to have a good buzz flowing before calling the Uber to take you to that bar where you see everyone from your high school at. The pregames were the best part of the night, but it wasn't ever because of the alcohol, it was because of the atmosphere and those who were in it. The number of times I've heard "Wait, why aren't you drinking tonight? C'mon, get drunk with us" is endless, but think about it. Where were you when you were asked that? You were at the goddamn pregame and being there doesn't mean you need to be ripping shots. Being social doesn't require alcohol.

I asked 20 people how they cut back on alcohol while still being social.

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you are quarantining away from your significant other because of coronavirus or separated by the country lines at this time, it's fair to say that long-distance relationships are tough no matter what. However, there are ways to show love from a distance whether that's through daily FaceTime calls, cute Snapchats, or sexy pics sent to them on their phone. You can brighten up their day even more with some of these unique gifts that can fit any price range and a variety of interests.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, no one needs to be reminded that the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in the U.S. Frankly, this is because we have all collectively decided not to do the one simple thing that was asked of us and wear a mask.

I could make this a very boring article, and berate you with facts and statistics and the importance of wearing a mask, but I have opted against that for both of our sakes. Instead, I will attempt to reach you in another way. You might not care about a disapproving look from me, but from Nick Miller? Maybe that will be enough to change your mind.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments