“When women and girls are educated, they have choices, they have power and they have options for themselves and their families.”
It’s a powerful message from Chilliwack Soroptimist Cari Moore and at the heart of one of the community’s longest-standing community organizations.
Founded in 1935, Chilliwack Soroptimist is part of a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.
Global view with a local focus
While the organization has a global outlook, local members keep an eye firmly focused on supporting women here in the Fraser Valley. “We’re bringing those Soroptimist goals to the local level,” explains April Neave, who like many of her fellow Soroptimists, joined the organization as a way to give back and connect with other like-minded women.
“It’s an opportunity to really stay connected to my community and to have real hands-on involvement in making a difference in people’s lives,” Neave says, noting that money fundraised locally stays in the community, from a local high school student bursary to two initiatives helping women achieve their dreams.
“That’s where my passion is,” says Neave, who came to the Chilliwack Soroptimists more than six years ago. “I was a judge for the awards and it really hit home to me that I could make more of a difference by becoming involved.”
Live your dream
The group’s Dream program has two key components:
• Live Your Dream: Career and Education Award for Women – Presented to a local woman already registered in a post-secondary education program, with at least one dependant, this award gives women who are the primary source of financial support for their families the resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects. The winner can then vie for a Western Canada region award and even a North-American-wide award.
• Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls – This free, one-day conference helps local girls 11 to 17 years old build the skills to pursue their dream career. Girls work with club members and professional women, and each has the opportunity to have an ongoing professional mentor in the career field of their choice.
Learn more and get involved!
Learn more about these and other initiatives at a Sept. 26 meet and greet, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fraser Room in Chilliwack’s Coast Hotel. Following a short overview of the Soroptimists’ work and the Dream program – including a chance to hear from this year’s award-winner – networking and door prizes follow.
The group gathers on the third Wednesday of the month for a 90-minute meeting at the Rendezvous Restaurant, and works together on fun annual events like Pajamas and Pearls, a popular “girls’ night out” event for the community, in addition to the Dreams program.
Mothers and daughters, sisters, friends co-workers … “we really encourage people to come check us out,” Moore says. “Everyone is welcome!”
Learn more at chilliwacksoroptimist.org