Whether behind the scenes, right out there in front, or in the middle of a Sunday's New York Times, Soroptimist International and the local club right here in Downey is continually, day in and day out, throughout the year, moving forward with their mission to make a difference in women and children's lives; one service project, one fundraiser, one meeting, and one member at a time.Since the new term started in September, 2009, with Patricia Kotze as president, the Downey club has had several mentionable accomplishments to achieve their goal of the 2009-2010 commitments. There is always the continued search to recruit new, dedicated members, and the club's first Annual Chili Cook-off Fundraiser with, at the time, judges: Mario Guerra, mayor of Downey; Diane Martinez, mayor of Paramount; and Downey Chamber president, Robert Zavala. The event was a community success, produced a new club record in ticket sales, and exceeded the goals for fundraising. The members of the club have helped to build the new Downey Habitat for Humanity house, which was recently dedicated; participated with the Optimist Club of Downey, headed by President Bob Winningham, in working at the Pumpkin Patch event (sponsored by the city of Downey); provided the special education students at Alameda Elementary School with gifts and Santa Claus memories (portrayed by Sam Mathis, Optimist member) at Christmastime; provided basic grooming essentials, sweatshirts, and socks for 140 residents at Bell Manor; and assisted the Sertoma Club and brought fruit baskets to the elderly at the Soroptimist Village in Norwalk. Additionally, the club members completed their Keep Downey Beautiful street cleanup on Downey Avenue and adopted two families during the holidays through the Exchange Club and a local church, collecting and raising funds for both. Yesterday, the club held one of its signature awards breakfasts and honored three women in the community who are head of households, have financial hardship, and are looking to return to school and further their educations. Valentine's Day will be celebrated with a service project at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center for the patients and the children receiving care. On March 13, the club will hold its annual yard sale, and later in the month will hold its second signature awards breakfast, honoring certain women in the community with the Women of Distinction and Ruby Awards. Finally, on April 16, the well known, fabulous casino fund raising event will be held. This year's casino theme will be "Going on a Safari." The concentration to raise more scholarship dollars is needed more today than ever before due to the economy and rise in higher vocational and general education costs. The club will be once again looking for community and corporate sponsorship involvement to make this event the best ever - because the more the Downey Soroptimist raises, the more scholarships to our local students can be given out before the end of the school year. The casino night fundraiser will be followed by the Student Scholarship Breakfast awards presentation in May. As we end the first month of 2010, the Soroptimist Club of Downey is asking for more involvement from its community, so as a community and the best one around, we can give back and truly make a difference. Patricia Kotze is the current President of Soroptimist International of Downey and is president and managing partner at Diversified Risk Management, Inc., located in Downey. She is also a board member for the Downey Chamber of Commerce.
********** Published: February 5, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 42