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Service Projects...
(click on pictures to enlarge)


Alex Caisse Park Gazebo
For the past several years, members have decorated the Alex Caisse Park Gazebo located on Route 195 in Willimantic for Memorial Day and the Christmas holidays. In addition to the decorations, we have planted bushes and while there decorating, try to spruce up the area around the gazebo. Click here to see some pictures.

Backpacks for the Domestic Violence Shelter
For the past several years, our club has filling backpacks with school supplies which are then donated to the children of our local domestic violence shelter.

Camp Horizons


Several members have adopted a cabin, Elaine's Place,  at Camp Horizons which involves cleaning and sprucing up. We plant annuals, rake, mulch and keep the camp looking beautiful.



Domestic Violence Program
Our club has been actively involved with helping the Domestic Violence Shelter for over 20 years. Every year we make toiletry baskets for the shelter containing wash cloths, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush and other personal items women need when they leave an abusive situation. For the past several years, we have also made sure they had a food basket for the Thanksgiving holiday. In April, 2000 we awarded them the Advancing Women Into The New Millennium $2,000 grant. With this grant, they were able to produce and distribute an awareness video. In 2001 we again awarded them a $500 grant to continue with their awareness project. We have also paid for the printing of their awareness brochure which is printed in both English and Spanish. The Domestic Violence Program was a partner in our Heart to Heart Charity Ball 2013 Fundraiser.

Food Baskets & Toiletry Baskets:
Every year, Soroptimists gather at a member's house to assemble Thanksgiving Baskets and toiletry baskets. The food baskets are donated to a family in the following towns: Chaplin, Coventry, Hampton, Lebanon, Mansfield and Windham. A food basket and all the toiletry baskets were donated to the local Domestic Violence Shelter. We also donated a basket to The Salvation Army. In addition to all the canned goods, fruit, stuffing, coffee, biscuit mixes, pies, rolls and lots more, each food basket contained a gift certificate to a local supermarket. All the items for the food and toiletry baskets are donated by our members. Check out the Photo Albums Page to see pictures of this event.

Food Share:
Members bring canned goods and/or non-perishable items to our monthly business meetings for our food share service project. These items are donated to one of the local area food pantries each month.

Next Step Program:
Improving Job Opportunities while Promoting Safety
The primary goal of this project is to provide women residing in a Department of Corrections work-release halfway house called Next Step Cottage, with the opportunity to seek, obtain, and maintain legal employment, thereby successfully re-entering society post-incarceration. The program is part of Perception Programs, Inc. The women who reside at Next Step work to overcome barriers to employment.  Our financial support allows these women to successfully cast a broader net in their job seeking by providing the funds for the documentation and transportation when needed. 

Club members teach the women job interviewing skills, resume writing, and dressing for
success.  Our facilitated sessions address preparing for job interviews and building self-esteem.  We are able to facilitate having the women think about what qualities they have that make them employable, identifying strengths and weakness regarding successful job interviews, completing job applications, as well as giving them “dressing for success” practice and engaging in personal enrichment activities.

We help to provide appropriate attire for job interviews through the local clothing closet and Soroptimist personal donations. Our club also provides funds for gift cards for personal care products. A grant from our Northeastern Region has provided funds for haircuts and manicures.

The impact upon women’s lives through this simple project is immense. For many women, this will be the first time they have been legally employed. A woman’s sense of self-worth, her self-esteem and her ability to be safe is increased when she is able to provide for herself and does not need to depend on someone else for income. By obtaining employment the women will have increased their chances for successful reintegration into society post-incarceration. The ability to find and secure safe housing is increased with sustainable employment. The opportunity to re-unite with her children is increased when a woman has a legal income and secure housing.

The Soroptimist International of Willimantic has supported this project since 2008, expending $17,500.00 in grants to Next Step Cottage including $12,000 received from Soroptimist International of the Americas. Without our support, this highly successful program for women would be a bare-bones Department of Corrections funded facility that would not be able to provide the extras needed to ensure that the women who go through their doors become and remain productive members of society. 

Relay for Life
For the past several years, our club has been a Copper donor for the Relay for Life with a $500 donation from our club. Members from our club participate on the planning committee and are a true asset to the planning of this terrific community event. Club members help to register survivors and set up the survivor luncheon. Our booth at the relay also serves as the information booth for the event.

This year's event is being held Oct. 18-19, 2014. Soroptimist of Willimantic has a team participating in the Relay for Life of Greater Windham ~ Soroptimist Striders! The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in the community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. Because cancer never sleeps, the relay is an overnight event for 24 hours. Anyone can participate in Relay For Life. Friends, families, neighbors, classmates ~ all are welcome. No matter who you are, there's a place for you at Relay. Thanks to Relay participants, we are creating a world with more birthdays where cancer can’t claim another year of anyone’s life. This year's Relay for Life is being held on Saturday, October 18, 2014 with opening ceremonies beginning at 11:00am. It will run for 24 hours ending on Sunday, October 19, 2014. The relay will be held at the ECSU Sports Complex located at 1 Mansfield City Road, Mansfield, CT.

Please consider joining our Relay Team and Sign Up Today! You can also easily make an online donation to support our team or even purchase a Luminaria at this link.

 

 

Safe Choices Workshop
Since 2006, Soroptimist International of Willimantic has sponsored a free workshop for girls to help young women make safe choices in their everyday lives. Freshmen High School Girls from area schools are invited to attend. Transportation is paid for by our club to transport the girls from their high schools to the workshop. The day normally starts at 9:15am with the girls being provided with informational packets on contemporary teen issues. Through out the morning, there are several speakers on many topics including healthy behaviors, finance, internet safety, nutrition, drug and alcohol abuse and personal safety. A pizza and salad lunch is then provided. Gift certificates and other items donated by local businesses and Soroptimist members provide door prizes for the girls. At the conclusion of the workshop, the girls are then transported back to their high schools.

Special Olympics:
Several members volunteer for the Special Olympics Swim Meet held annually in March. On the evening before the swim meet, members help with set-up and on the morning of the event, members are responsible for the registration of volunteers. We also pay for sponsorship and our logo is on the volunteer shirts and in the ads.

Walk of Life Endowment Fund:
The Walk of Life Endowment Fund was established by Soroptimist International of the Americas Northeastern Region. This fund will provide a legacy for the maintenance and upkeep of the Walk of Life in Walnut Hill Park to preserve this tribute to those who have been touched by breast cancer.

About the Walk of Life:
The first Walk of Life for breast cancer in the nation, sponsored by the Northeastern Region of Soroptimist International of the Americas is located at Walnut Hill Park, New Britain, CT. This location was chosen because it is the site of the Connecticut Race in the Park. There are many walkways in Walnut Hill Park but none more beautiful than the Walk of Life. The 780 foot brick walkway is a commemoration to breast cancer victims, survivors and their families. Some simply reveal a name, others a message.

Members of Soroptimist International of the Northeastern Region initiated the project in 1996 through the efforts of past Soroptimist Governor Rosemarie Burton, a breast cancer survivor herself.

The walkway, which is six feet wide, is located behind the park's Darius Miller music shell and follows the finish line for the Connecticut Race in the Park.

Area businesses and the bricklayers union have donated many of the services needed to complete the project.
 


Women for Women International:
We are proud that our Willimantic club has sponsored a woman survivor of war through Women for Women International since 2005.

Women for Women International provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies.

Vision Statement
Women for Women International envisions a world where no one is abused, poor, illiterate or marginalized; where members of communities have full and equal participation in the processes that ensure their health, well-being and economic independence; and where everyone has the freedom to define the scope of their life, their future and strive to achieve their full potential.

Sponsoring a Woman
The Sponsorship Program is a direct, personal and hands-on approach to supporting women survivors of war as they move from victims to survivors to active citizens engaged in rebuilding their lives and communities. Sponsorship offers a constructive, dignified way for a woman to regain control of her life. This program helps bridge isolation and alleviates the suffering often experienced by survivors of war and violence.

As a sponsor, we pledge to contribute $27 per month to support one individual woman in a year long program of vocational and technical skills training, rights awareness and leadership education. Our support provides the tools and resources our sister needs to rebuild her life after war. Our monthly contributions will also help our sister to obtain basic necessities for her family, like food, clean water, and medicine; to pay school-related expenses for her children; to use the funds as seed capital to start an income-generating project. Perhaps more importantly, our letters provide an emotional lifeline to a woman who may have otherwise lost everything.

The following is a bit of information about the women we have sponsored through Women for Women International:

Our Current Sister:

Arzo
lives in Afghanistan. She is married with 7 children. She will graduate in 2015.

Our Past Sisters:

Ghotai lives in Afghanistan and is single. She began the program in August, 2013 and graduated in July, 2014.

Salima G. B. lives in Afghanistan and graduated at the end of August, 2013.

Hafiza B. was born in 1981. She is married and has a daughter. She started her program in April, 2010 and lives in Bosnia. We sponsored Hafiza from April, 2010 to March, 2011.

Hafiza M was born in 1966. She is married and has 3 children. She started her program in August, 2009 and lives in Bosnia. We sponsored Hafiza from August, 2009 to March, 2010.

Ljilja C was born in 1979. She is married and has 4 children. She started her program in April, 2009 and lives in Bosnia. We sponsored Ljila from April, 2009 to June, 2009.

Beatrice O was born in 1973. She is married and has 7 children. She started her program in April, 2008 and lives in Nigeria. We sponsored Beatrice from April, 2008 to April, 2009.

Harira B was born in 1974. She is married and has 4 children. She started her program in April, 2007 and lives in Nigeria. We sponsored Harira from April, 2007 to March, 2008.

Gladys O was born in 1965. She is widowed and has no children. She started her program in April, 2006 and lives in Nigeria. We sponsored Gladys from April, 2006 to March, 2007.

Mirzeta K was born in 1962. She is married and has no children. She started her program in April, 2005 and lives in Bosnia. We sponsored Mirzeta from April, 2005 to April, 2006.
 



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