Soroptimists travel to Taiwan for convention
By Arizona Republic
Leatha Martin, newly-elected president of Soroptimist International Valley of the Sun, a women's service club based in the Northwest Valley, and Alice Wells of Phoenix, president of Soroptimist International of the Americas, recently attended the 40th Biennial Convention in Taipei, Taiwan. This year's convention attracted 269 members from the United States. More than 1,690 SIA members attended from 15 countries.
Wells is a charter member of SI of the Kachinas in Phoenix, and owns her own consulting business. Martin is owner of Cimarron Day Spa in Sun City Grand, and is the founder of Touch of Hope, an annual event that has raised more than $44,000 for local charities over the last three years. Both women are heavily involved in personal volunteer projects that focus on women and girls throughout the Valley.
Soroptimist is an international women's organization for business and professional women. It is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. The theme of the Taiwan convention was "Sharing Good Fortune." The idea of being thankful for your good fortune and passing that along to others in need is a central tenet of the Soroptimist experience.
Soroptimists work in their local communities on projects that improve social and economic conditions for women and girls. The Valley of the Sun club voted to provide funding for projects that touched their hearts, then proceeded to support them in a big way. This year, the club proudly distributed more than $55,000 to Phoenix-area organizations and supported international programs. An installment check of $20,000, part of a five-year commitment of $100,000, was awarded to Interfaith Community Care in a recent ceremony that also supported Helping Hands for Single Moms, West Valley Child Crisis Center, Shoebox Ministry, Sojourner Center, Sun Valley Lodge, and Eve's Place.
This year SI Valley of the Sun recognized Carly Crain, Kathy Lawson, and Jennifer Metro, three local women, for their volunteerism in the community. The Valley of the Sun club also joined forces with Credit Union West and Sun City Rotary Club to award a scholarship to a local woman to encourage her to continue her vocational education training. As part of the club's international focus, the club continues to support the Cerro Gordo School in Penonome, Republic of Panama. Several of the award recipients were present during a recent ceremony to share their inspirational stories.
Other programs sponsored by Soroptimist International of the Americas include:
• Soroptimists STOP Trafficking, a project that raises awareness about the sexual trafficking of women and girls, and seeks to encourage citizens, lawmakers and service providers to focus on this global problem.
• Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award, a program that recognizes girls' volunteer efforts.
• Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award, a recognition program for women who help other women and girls.
• Soroptimist Club Grants for women and girls, cash grants for innovative Soroptimist club projects.
For more information, visit www.SIValleyoftheSun.net. The Valley of the Sun club meets Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Coyote Lakes Community Center, Coyote Lakes Parkway, Surprise. It welcomes guests and is actively seeking women who wish to join them.
The club also raises money for the community through the Soroptimist Thrift Shop, 10705 W. Peoria Ave., Sun City. Tax-deductible donations are accepted for sale by the store Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Info: 623-972-8008.