Fall Area Meeting

The Fall Area Meeting this year was hosted by SI Humber, Credit Valleys and Brampton on Saturday October 18. It was a packed agenda with speakers from SIA Headquarters, including an inspiring workshop with SIA President Alice Wells. Leontyne Anglin, the SIA Membership Director, conducted a hands-on presentation on how to match the needs of the clubs with the skills and interests of it’s members.

One of the after noon speakers was Clare Freeman, Executive Director of Interval House and Making A Difference for Women winner for the Eastern Canada Region. Her heart felt story was emotionally charged as she explained her life story and the challenges she faced on her path.

Clare’s story was supported by Alfredo Marroquin from the Ontario Domestic Violence Initiative: Neighbours Friends and Family. His presentation and 15-minute documentary provided critical information about how neighbours, friends and families are impacted by woman abuse and illustrated the importance of community-based strategies for ending woman abuse.

There were so many opportunities to support other clubs – diabetic jam, raffle tickets, handmade note cards. We raised $180 on a draw on a 20″ strand of 5.5mm Akoya pearls from Japan. Congratulations to the winner, MaryLynn Koekkoek from SI Peterborough, and thank you Sandy Gray for being so prepared and making the Hallowe’en earrings and pins.

40th SIA Biennial Convention: Taipei, Taiwan

The SIA 40th Biennial Convention was held on July 16-19, 2008 at Taipei International Convention Center and Grand Hyatt, Taipei, Taiwan. The theme of this convention was “Sharing Good Fortune,” which encouraged members to be thankful for what they have and to pass their good fortune on to women in need.

Alison Levine served as keynote speaker. Team captain for the first American Women’s Mount Everest expedition, Alison shared lessons she learned while climbing the world’s highest peaks. Many of Alison’s experiences on the mountain became tenets she now follows at work, such as daring to move backwards in order to go forward, and making sure fear does not dictate decisions. She also shared the power of partnering, portraying a positive attitude as a leader, and asking questions in order to achieve goals. Hear an excerpt from her talk >>

Some Encouraging Statistics:
This past year, 773 clubs participated in the Violet Richardson Award, and gave nearly $300,000 to girls and $130,000 in donations to the girls’ volunteer organizations, totaling $430,000.

Making a Difference for Women Award recognizes women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls. This year’s recipient, Anne Ream of Chicago, Illinois, was also in attendance to accept the finalist award — a $5,000 donation to The Voices and Faces Project, the organization Anne founded in 2003. Its mission is to give a voice and face to rape survivors, offering a sense of solidarity and possibility to those who have lived through abuse, while raising awareness of how this human rights and public health issue impacts victims, families and communities.

New 2008/09 SIA Board of Directors

New SIA 2008/09 Board of Directors

Soroptimist is doing such important work, and to be recognized by your organization is indeed humbling,” Anne said. “It is good to be in the company of an international community of women who believe that we can, and must, work collectively to make the world a more fair, just, and safe place for women and girls.”

Special Thanks
Shirley McCoy attended on our behalf this year and there were 1700 members at the convention and 778 of them had attended convention for the first time. Shirley wrote us to say “Taipei was very busy with sooooo many people and motor scooters everywhere. It was an experience of a life time.”

Shirley also very kindly bought each of our club member the new SIA pin with our the new logo. We are very grateful for her generosity!

Spring Conference in St. Catherine’s

Spring confernce this year was the 76th annual and hosted by SI Stoney Creek-Niagara and held in St. Catherine’s.

We as SI – DAF won 4 (yes four!!!) awards: Highest Conference Attendance (as a percentage), Recruitment Award, Retention Award and the coveted Rose Bowl!!!  The Rose Bowl is for the greatest percentage in membership increase from March 2007 to March 2008.  We all should be proud for sharing our passion for Soroptimist with our friends, and truly being the little engine that could!!

Also, Brooke donated a basket that was raffled at the Spring Conference and raised $ 585. Way to go ladies…

18th SI Convention: Glasgow, Scotland

Shirley McCoy attended conference this year from 29 July to 2 August 2007 in Glasgow, Scotland and there were over 1,500 Soroptimists who attended. Six white doves flew over the attendees as they ‘Stood for Peace’ in a 30-minute vigil on the last day.

Peace Vigil

Peace Vigil

The 136 flags of member countries formed a ring of delegates in white shirts for Peace. Words and poems of peace were read by leading Soroptimists who then heard peace campaigner and author Satish Kumar say:

  • Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope, from fear to trust, from hate to love and from war to peace.
  • Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.
  • Seek love, compassion, unity, beauty in our lives

Towards the end of the vigil, President Lynn, Immediate Past President Joan and the Presidents of the four Federations each released a dove from a white casket as a symbol of peace. It was very emotional for all present!

The conference also showcased the new SI tartan that was specially designed for the occasion, but is officially recognized by the Scottish Tartans Authority. The wool colours incorporate ancient blue, dark mauve (purple), black, white and dark gold (orange).

Official Soroptimist tartan

Official Soroptimist tartan