ARLINGTON — Only once every 12 years does an area conference of Soroptimist International convene in Marysville or Arlington, since the Marysville chapter is but one of 12 in the area.
To that end, Soroptimist members reflected on how they’ve adapted their strategies to benefit the lives of women and girls.
Oak Harbor’s Sue Riney, secretary and treasurer for the Northwest Region, was joined by Marysville President Linda Clay at the Gleneagle Golf Course in Arlington Feb. 27.
Riney admitted that Soroptimist, like many service organizations, is seeing its membership grow older, which has inspired the group to relax membership requirements.
Where once you had to be a woman who owned her own business to join, now it’s acceptable simply to believe in the Soroptimist mission.
That mission continues to dispense financial awards to women who serve as the heads of households, and who are weathering personal turmoils ranging from divorce to abuse, that they can further their educations and expand career opportunities.
To engage younger generations, Soroptimist has made such programs available online through LiveYourDream.org.
The group also hopes that programs such as “Dream It, Be It” will prepare young women for forms of sexual discrimination that are not yet part of the past.
“There are still differences in how boys and girls are treated, whether it’s in employment, media portrayals or who winds up taking care of family members as they get older,” Riney said. “It can be eye-opening for young women who haven’t yet realized that they still have less opportunities than their male counterparts.”
Clay noted that the Marysville chapter had retained its focus on human trafficking, but shifted from educating the public, through community forums, to aiding the victims.
To that end, Marysville Soroptimists raised more than $1,000 for Peoria Home at the meeting.
“To make sure they don’t go back to that life, we need to give them life skills and resources, so they can take the next steps,” Clay said.
Clay estimated Peoria Home could cost as much as $500,000 to build, equip and staff, which she hopes will happen by fall of 2018.