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Courtesy photo
From left, Kay Brown and Kathy Barrett, SI Medford; Kathy Garrett-Canape, SI Ashland; Werner Moritz and Kristin Moritz, SI Osnabruck (Germany); Chris Christensen, SI Ashland; Arlis Duncan and Marjorie Williamson, SI North Valley; and Joy Dobson-Way, SI Ashland.

Soroptimist Report: Local group uses global reach to improve lives of women

Soroptimist International of Ashland kicked off the summer hiatus from weekly meetings with the annual installation of officers on June 11. The event was held in the elegant Stardust Lounge at Ashland Hills Inn with entertainment provided by the Gayle Wilson Trio. President Janie Burcart presided until the gavel was passed to new President Colleen Chambers. The Installing Officer was Kathy King from SI Klamath Falls who also serves as secretary/treasurer of the Board of Directors of Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA).

Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA) currently has about 30,000 members in 20 countries and territories (North and South America and the Pacific Rim). SIA’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs that lead to social and economic empowerment. SIA’s main program, Live Your Dream Education and Training Awards for Women, has disbursed about $30 million to almost 20,000 women since 1972.

SIA is a part of the worldwide Soroptimist International which includes more than 3,000 clubs in 127 countries and territories, all working to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls in their communities and beyond. Soroptimist International works with international networks and partners, such as the United Nations and its agencies, the Commonwealth, and the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), to ensure that the needs of women and girls are represented in global policy and agenda-setting.

SI represents the voices of more than 80,000 Soroptimist members at the U.N. via General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Recently Soroptimist International of Ashland and other local clubs played host to Kirstin Moritz of Soroptimist International of Osnabruck in Germany. Ms. Moritz was traveling around the United States with her husband, Werner Moritz, visiting with Soroptimist clubs. Their journey began in Washington, D.C,, extended south down the East Coast, west across the country and north up the West Coast towards Seattle where she was to meet with more clubs in the Puget Sound area. A long tradition among Soroptimist clubs is the Grant of Friendship which provides opportunities to meet with clubs in other countries and reach out in friendship.

Opportunities such as this bring members of this International organization together for a common cause. Members of SI Medford, and SI North Valley joined members from SI Ashland for a fun evening with Kristin and Werner. At the end of the evening, Kristin encouraged members to visit her in Germany.

The principle activity of SI Ashland during the summer hiatus from meetings is the operation of the pillow and blanket rental service at OSF’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre. Each able-bodied Soroptimist works seven evenings at the Festival booth to earn funds to support programs for women and girls. Half of the proceeds are donated to OSF to support their FAIR Program (Fellowships, Apprenticeships, Internships and Residencies).

If you are interested in additional information about Soroptimist International of Ashland, see our website at www.soroptimistrv.org/siashland.html or contact President Colleen Chambers at 775-297-6582.

Soroptimist Report appears quarterly in the Tidings.

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