The Soroptimist Meet is a Pacific Swimming Short Course C/B/A+ Meet. It is a large meet hosting over 20 teams from around the Redwood Empire and the North Bay Area. 359 swimmers participated in this year's meet, from elementary-school age up to high school.
Sugary beverages are the largest single source of calories in the American diet. Greater sugary beverage consumption is associated with weight gain, obesity and diabetes. The average person in the U.S. drank 45 gallons of sugary beverages in 2009. In Mendocino County 55.7% of
adults and adolescents and 42.7% of 5th, 7th and 9th graders are overweight or obese.
Increased access to more healthful beverages is important for reducing sugary beverage consumption and decreasing the prevalence of chronic diseases in Mendocino County. Therefore, Mendocino County Public Health Prevention and Planning hosted the Infused Water Contest to promote the healthiest and most beneficial beverage available - WATER.
Soroptimist International of Ukiah (SI Ukiah) presented donations of more than $3,500 to local organizations at our annual Community Giving Luncheon. Organization representatives expressed their gratitude for the support from SI Ukiah and presented information to the club about the services they provide and how their portion of the club's annual giving supports their programs.
Project Sanctuary Executive Director, Dina Polkinghorne, was unable to attend, but expressed her appreciation to SI Ukiah as an instrumental partner of their transition program for victims of domestic violence. "Soroptimists are incredibly supportive of the work we do at Project Sanctuary and the vulnerable survivors we work with", said Dina.
CASA of Mendocino and Lake Counties Executive Director, Sheryn Hildebrand, expressed appreciation for the donation which will be put to good use to reproduce curriculum manuals used to train Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers. The training provides volunteers the ability to look after the best interests and advocate on behalf of local children to help the courts make better decisions.
"Without the help of SI Ukiah and other civic organizations, businesses and private donations, the Miss Mendocino County program would not be able to help young women continue their education", said Verna Jacobs, Miss Mendocino County Executive Director. This year alone, two young women will attend UC colleges, two will attend private universities, five will attend Mendocino Community College and one will be furthering her education in a trade school.
The Cancer Resource Center Executive Director, Sara O’Donnell and Support Services Manager, Nancy Johnson shared that their portion of SI Ukiah’s annual giving will be dedicated to the Women’s Cancer Support Group in Ukiah. This fundamental caring circle provides support to a number of women with varying stages of cancer. CRCMC provides services free of charge to support, educate and guide women, men and children through diagnosis and treatment.
Donna Ford, Program Director for the Ukiah Senior Center Lunch Bunch touched the hearts of SI Ukiah members as she shared stories which highlighted the importance of this program to many Seniors in our community. The Lunch Bunch provides a welcoming place for isolated seniors and those with disabilities to spend time socializing over lunch with peers. It also provides much needed respite for family members who are often the primary caregivers.
Ukiah Valley Association for Habilitation (UVAH) Executive Director, Pam Jensen expressed her appreciation for SI Ukiah’s sponsorship of their annual golf tournament. Proceeds are used to help people with disabilities meet their full potential as individuals and productive citizens in our community. UVAH provides a wide range of services, a supportive environment, educates and involves the community in an effort to integrate people with disabilities into community life.
Ukiah Dolphins Swim Team Treasurer, Laura Xerogeanes and Board Member, Shelley Barrett expressed their appreciation of the ongoing volunteerism and donations from SI Ukiah in support of the young swimmers who have participated in the Annual Ukiah Soroptimist Invitational Swim Meet since 1956.
Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah Chief Professional Officer, Liz Elmore thanked SI Ukiah for the donation made during the Ukiah Daily Journal Fund Drive, allowing the contribution to be doubled through a corporate match. Every day the Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah strives to improve the lives of children by implementing self-esteem, courage, and positive values through their many educational programs. The SMART Girls program nurtures the qualities that are proven to lead to success in life.
Soroptimist International of Ukiah would like to express appreciation to Valley Sawyer, niece of club member Julie Sawyer, for initiating the social media campaign to bring the innovative film, Girl Rising, to the Ukiah Stadium 6 Theater. Our members felt a deep connection to this film which so closely supports our focus to improve the status of women and girls in our local community and worldwide. Two hundred fifty-eight people purchased tickets to attend the April 17th screening. A portion of ticket sales will go to support girls' programs around the world through the 10X10 Fund for Girls' Education.
Through the stories of nine extraordinary girls in nine countries, this film showcases the strength of the human spirit and the power of education. Each girl was paired with a renowned writer from her native country to help tell her story. These girls are just nine of the 66 million girls worldwide who share the dream of attending school. They want most to be students, to learn. And now, by sharing their personal journeys, they have become teachers.
Soroptimist International of Ukiah members enjoyed dinner at the North State Cafe before attending the the film screening.
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the Children’s Action Committee of Mendocino County held its annual Outreach Walk in Ukiah, Willits and Covelo. SI Ukiah President, Katie Kight and Vice President, Willow Anderson participated in the Ukiah Outreach Walk on behalf of the club.
Volunteers from the community joined together to visit local businesses to raise awareness about child abuse and child safety in Mendocino County. The walkers passed out colorful posters and blue pinwheels, the national symbol for child abuse prevention. This was a time to recognize that we each play a part in promoting the well-being of children and families in our community.
Saturday of Service is held annually to provide the opportunity for Soroptimists from all over the world to join together on one day to carry out service projects that improve the lives of women and girls. NCO HandsOn Volunteer Network connected SI Ukiah with a very nice lady in need of assistance with yard and house work. The perfect way to start the weekend!
Julie Sawyer, Service Committee Chair and Katie Kight, President, presented the Ukiah Senior Center Lunch Bunch with a very much appreciated monetary contribution.
The Lunch Bunch provides a social activity for Ukiah seniors and a much needed break for caregivers, spouses and children. It is a welcoming place for isolated seniors and those with disabilities to spend time with their peers. The delicious lunch is provided by Zack's Catering. In addition to lunch, seniors enjoy guided activities, arts and crafts, gentle movement and more.
For additional information about The Lunch Bunch, contact Donna Ford RN, Lunch Bunch Director by phone: 462-4343 ext.121 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Soroptimist International of Ukiah is pleased to provide support to the Miss Mendocino Scholaship Program to help young women further their education.
Katie Kight, SI Ukiah President and Verna Jacobs, Miss Mendocino Executive Director.
Ukiah Daily Journal
The Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort is in full swing at Carl Purdy Hall. Treasurer Tim Knudsen is setting up rows and rows of boxes, over 700 of them, all waiting to be filled with family holiday dinners; Steve Perin, board president, and Nancy Miller, secretary, are sitting behind a long table running the operation; Jan Tipton and Julie Knudsen, co-chairs of the toy committee, are working the floor; 13 prisoners from Chamberlain Creek are wrapping and sorting gifts, marking and building boxes and doing what needs to be done; and Sparky, the Knudsens' partially paralyzed blue healer, shepherd, pit bull mix scoots himself along the floor on his hindquarters, happily greeting any newcomer who enters the building. They started on Wednesday, the 12th, and will work every day until the 24th when the food and toys will be delivered to 750 families in the Ukiah Valley. On the 26th and 27th they will return to re-box any leftover presents and put them in storage for next year. Their storage unit costs $800 a year and they are hoping to find someone who can donate a facility to save them this yearly expense.
The south half of the hall is taken up with tables filled with toys both on top and underneath. There are sections specifically designated for teen boys, teen girls, models, cars, puzzles, books, dolls, arts and crafts, school supplies, games, action figures, bikes and Barbie and infant dolls. Miller does all the data processing for the families. She starts in the beginning of October and sends paperwork to the school districts for every child in school. The kids receive the papers and return them to their teachers. Miller picks them up from the district offices and puts all the information into her computer. They try to honor specific requests whenever possible -- everything from tea sets to blankets to coats to an MP3 player. If a family requests clothes or a bicycle they try to deliver it. One child requested a printer, and retired school teacher and volunteer Karen Bone hit the mall early on Black Friday and bought one.
Miller says, "We have a young girl whose family's home was completely destroyed by a fire; they lost all their pets. She wanted a guinea pig and one of my nieces has a female with babies. So she will get one of them and Rainbow Ag will supply the cage and food. We have disabled children and we get hold of the parents to find out what they want. Last year we were able to supply a three- seated stroller for a family."
Miller explains the gift-giving opportunities presented at Mendo Lake Credit Union and Redwood Credit Union. "In the lobby of each is a tree with tags that have the names of kids and gifts they want. If you want to sponsor someone, find a tag with gift items that you would like to purchase, buy the toys, and give them to someone at the credit union. They will bring them to us."
Tipton and Knudsen, toy chairwomen, work year round to make sure there are enough toys for needy children in the valley. Their ongoing work begins the day after Christmas when they start shopping the aisles for sales for specialized items like teen make up and nail polish kits that are only available during the season. Then they will store them for next year.
Volunteer representatives from Ukiah High, the LDS Church, Kiwanis, Ukiah Soroptimists and Ukiah Rotary come to help and this particular day finds Crew 3 from Chamberlain Conservation Camp busily moving around the building and processing toys.
Captain Tony Grim says of his crew that they like doing this, seeing kids getting presents, and they are excited about being able to help out. Tipton says about them, "We love these guys; they are wonderful. They do what needs to be done and they do it right.
Knudsen arranges food for the volunteers and is happy to say that the following businesses graciously donate: Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, Ukiah Garden Café, Schats Bakery, Ci's Grill, Club Calpella, Little Caesar's Pizza, Poppa Murphy's, and Asia Grand Buffet.
Perin says, "We probably have about 3,000 or 4,000 toys here right now. In a normal day we see somewhere between 40 to 100 volunteers and when the place gets humming we have over 150 people helping. We come in about 8 or 9 in the morning and depending on the day sometimes stay until 8 or 9 at night. If you want to help, just show up; we will find something for you to do. We will be here every day until the 24th when we do the deliveries for which we also need help."
Where do they get the resources for all of this? "People walk in and give us money," says Miller. "We received $1,000 from an anonymous donor. One woman came in and we told her we needed bike helmets. She went out and about an hour later returned with 20 of them. People drive to Santa Rosa to get good deals on toys to bring here. The two local Rotary clubs adopt kids; the leadership class at Ukiah High has adopted 26 families; all the branches of the Savings Bank have barrels to receive donations; the Beauty College has a barrel as well as Little Caesar's Pizza. Ukiah Unified and Potter Valley Unified School Districts have canned food drives and we will pick their donations up on the 17th."
"The two toy runs will bring toys here on Saturday and Sunday. The North Bay Bikers will meet at the Water Trough on Saturday at 12 noon and will ride here, rain or shine, en masse, with their deliveries. On Sunday, Bill Nash, who has been working with us for years, helps to organize the Ukiah Toy Run and they will bring donations and toys on Sunday."
Tipton, with a two-headed dinosaur in one hand and a triceratops in the other, does whatever needs to be done. She supervises volunteers, answers questions, organizes the toy tables and directs people. She works and talks. "We shop all year for this and our major shopping is from the 26th on into January when we can get 50 percent to 75 percent off. We do bunko fundraisers year round held at the Senior Center."
The boxes for each family will be filled with non-perishable canned goods, potatoes, boxed stuffing, apples from Gowan's and miscellaneous foods. They purchase most of the perishables and have 700 frozen turkeys on order from Costco. Jim Mulheren will drive his truck to Santa Rosa on the 23rd to pick them up and on the morning of the 24th they will be boxed and delivered. They start going out at 8:30 in the morning and continue delivering until the last one is out; some years they finish at 2 in the afternoon and some years they go as late as 7 in the evening.