The first Soroptimist club was formed in 1921 by a group of 80 women in Oakland, Alameda County, California. The name “Soroptimist” is a coined word which came from two Latin words that mean the “best for women.” Our first President was Violet Richardson Ward. Since then our organization has grown internationally with clubs world-wide.
Soroptimists today continue the work begun by the founding members. The main goal of Soroptimist clubs is to fulfill their Mission Statement which is; “Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.” Projects are carefully chosen in each community to address challenges unique to today’s women and girls. Sample club projects worldwide include: providing minority women with routine medical care; mentoring young women to give volunteer service to their schools and community; funding and volunteering at domestic violence shelters, sponsoring career development programs for teen mothers; tutoring women in literacy and basic job skills.
Soroptimist clubs also participate in programs developed by Soroptimist International of the Americas. The major service project of Soroptimist International of the Americas is the “Women’s Opportunity Award,” which provides cash grants for head of household women seeking to improve their economic situation through additional education and training. A sampling of other service programs include the “Violet Richardson Award,” which honors teen aged girls who participate in volunteerism, and the “Making a Difference for Women Award,” which honors a woman who’s work makes a positive difference in the lives of women and girls in her community.
Soroptimist is a recognized authority on matters that women world-wide, value most. To meet this goal, Soroptimist uses it’s international voice as we advocate on behalf of women’s issues by using our official status with the United Nations.
Won’t you join Soroptimist soon? Membership will provide you with an enriching atmosphere to develop lasting friendships, while we experience satisfaction as we improve our communities and the lives of women and girls.
Soroptimist of Los Banos
Soroptimist International of Los Banos belongs to Soroptimist International of the Americas,one of the four Federations that make up Soroptimist International. We are a part of District III in California’s Sierra Pacific Region. We welcome new members who would like to work as a group to make our community and world a better place for women and girls.
Our service projects include the sponsorship of an “S” Club at Los Banos High School where students are encouraged to embrace volunteerism, good citizenship and women and girl-focused community service projects. An annual “Live Your Dream,Girl’s Self Esteem Conference,” for junior high school girls, is also sponsored by our local Soroptimist club. This event features speakers and topics that focus on building good self esteem in girls. Other Conference topics include healthy lifestyles, appropriate teen make-up, teen bullying and teen human trafficking. Each March the club joins Soroptimists from all over the world in “Saturday of Service” where Soroptimists work on projects which serve women and girls in their communities. Past Saturday of Service events in Los Banos featured visiting a local convalescent home, feeding the homeless and donating items to the Valley Crisis center’s domestic violence agency. Many scholarships and monetary awards are given by the club each year to deserving recipients.
In order to support our service projects and awards, our local club holds several fund-raising events. In the past some fund raising events have been a Victorian Tea, a Wine,Cheese and food tasting event featuring Celebrity Chefs, a Dicken’s Craft Faire and the annual Holiday See’s Candy sales event.