SP Soroptimists: Professional women’s organization benefits many causes

December 15, 2006
Santa Paula News

Desiry Cisneros and Michelle Amey have something good in common: both were awarded prestigious Soroptimist International of Santa Paula prizes.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesDesiry Cisneros and Michelle Amey have something good in common: both were awarded prestigious Soroptimist International of Santa Paula prizes. Cisneros was awarded the SISP Scholarship, while Amey garnered the Women’s Opportunity Award.The Women’s Opportunity Award is just that, offering women the opportunity to continue their education and/or job training that can benefit not only their career choice but also their household income. “The opportunity grant,” started in 1972, offers women the chance to “cultivate new skills,” often after overcoming “daunting challenges,” said SISP President Donna Stewart. Each applicant for the award is reviewed by a panel of SISP members who decide just which woman - and recipients are often those who are the sole support for their children - receives the grant.Soroptimist International of Santa Paula, now in its 76th year celebrating philanthropy by “Women for Women,” is a “worldwide organization of women in management and professions, working through service projects to enhance human rights and the status of women,” noted Stewart. Aside from the scholarship and grant programs, SISP has also donated funding to help end domestic violence through Interface Children, Family Services and the Coalition to End Domestic/Sexual Violence.Literacy and education are also on the SISP list, evident by their contributions to the Blanchard Community Library Summer Reading Program and FLAIR. Hospice/Home Support Group of Santa Clara Valley and the River Valley Club, the area’s first such day program for adults, have also been targeted by SISP’s generosity.
The Isbell Middle School Washington, D.C. History Trip, the Santa Paula Community Services Easter Egg Hunt and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley have also benefited from the interest of SISP.Soroptimist International of Santa Paula has also donated funds to Hurricane Katrina Relief, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, the Jim Knight Memorial Golf Tournament, and Project Independence: Women Survivors of War.“Heart disease is another pet project,” and in recent months Santa Paula Soroptimists walked Main Street urging merchants to donate to the American Heart Association. “We raised about $400 in just one afternoon,” said Stewart.Soroptimist also makes available and distributes breast cancer self-exam shower hangers, and purple cards offering domestic violence hot line information. Domestic violence is not just limited to the home, noted Stewart, “as it can follow the victim to work...” and is a leading cause of workplace violence.County of Ventura Probation Agency Volunteer Coordinator Gail Paap is aware of SISP’s generosity: greeting cards made by juveniles in the Justice Steven Perren Detention Center are sold by SISP, works that are “very beautiful,” said Stewart.

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