[image] Soroptimist International of Watsonville
PO Box 442
Watsonville, California 95077
For more information e-mail us.

Valley Heights
925 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville
Mondays at 12:15 P.M.

Soroptimist International was founded in October l921 in Oakland, California and is the world's largest classified service organization for professional and business women. Violet Richardson Ward was the founding President - a physical education teacher and coach at U.C. Berkeley who fought for parity for women educators. Soon after the founding of that first club, several other clubs were formed in California - San Francisco in l922, Los Angeles 1922, Sacramento in 1923, Long Beach in l924, San Jose in l924 and in l928 Stockton, and Berkeley. The San Jose Club chartered the Watsonville Club, the 28th club in the Federation. Clubs were formed in England, Scotland, France, Italy and Holland.

Watsonville's official chartering was held on November 3, 1928 during an exquisite dinner party at the Resetar Hotel. A total of 28 charter members were inducted and Pearl McFarlane was installed as Charter President. Lorraine Scott, for whom our largest scholarship is named, served that year as Corresponding Secretary. She served as Club President in 1940.

In the Club's December 1929 Bulletin, President Pearl congratulated the members who had decorated and lighted the city plaza fountain for the holidays under the leadership of First Vice President Edith Stanovich. In the 1930's Soroptimists helped finance a Rescue truck for the fire department and started the youth scholarship tradition that was financed by the annual barn dance. The club established a friendship link with the Hamilton, Scotland club in l932.

The mission of Soroptimist International and its member clubs is " to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world". Watsonville Soroptimists have continued its scholarship program tradition including the Lorraine Scott Scholarship - a $20,000 award given to a graduating Watsonville High School female so that she can attain her college degree. Additional scholarships are awarded to young women graduating from other Pajaro Valley High Schools.

Soroptimist's signature project, the "Woman's Opportunity Award", aids head of household women to enter or reenter the job market by providing cash awards to assist with their education and training needs. The "Violet Richardson Award" recognizes young women between the ages of 14 to 17 years for their community volunteer efforts. Cash awards are given for the young woman's volunteer effort and a contribution is given to the non-profit agency for which she volunteers.

Notable Soroptimist programs also include the annual "Saturday of Service" project, that is world-wide throughout our organization, and provides hands-on service to local community organizations. For the past few years, Watsonville Soroptimists' have focused on projects and services to the Pajaro Valley Shelter for Women and Children, including improving the shelter itself as well as providing a "spa day" for the women living there. Another community project is the "Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence" which places emphasize on the issue within the workplace. Shelter and domestic hot-line information is produced and placed in workplace restrooms. The "Making a Difference for Women Award" recognizes a local community woman who improves the lives of women and girls through her own professional or volunteer efforts.

To support our various programs and projects, Watsonville Soroptimists sponsor a number of fundraising events including the annual Autumn Boutique, the sale of the Club's cookbook, See's Candy Sales and the Spring Forty-niner football season ticket drawing.

Soroptimist International of Watsonville continues to seek new members who also wish to make a difference in the lives of women and girls. The club meets weekly on Mondays for business and program meetings. Soroptimist International of Watsonville hosts several "recruitment events" throughout the year. We urge you to investigate how membership in Soroptimist can enhance your friendships, assist with your own professional growth and leadership development; and how with a sense of unity and purpose work with others to achieve common goals in service to our community.