Club website: SIVW.ca
Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore chartered in May, 2010 and gave its first Live Your Dream: Education and Training Award for Women Award the following Spring. Our first award was $350 to one recipient. In 2018, SIVW will be awarding three Live Your Dream Awards, each $1500. And new for 2018, we will provide an in-house award, titled Give Her Wings. This award will go to a woman with no dependents who is pursuing her education. We borrowed the name from SI Tri Cities club.
Hundreds of women benefit from Anney’s Closet each year, as they visit the free store and select household items to turn their small empty spaces into homes. Clients are referred to us through nearly 40 social service agencies. Anney’s Closet free store began in 2011, when an award recipient needed everything towards the tiny home she shared with her toddler son. Our members pooled resources and were able to bring her several truck loads of household items including a futon, bedding, table, cookware and a printer. We felt great about helping her, but it didn’t gel into a program until the following year when we were amassing items towards a yard sale. A local self-storage facility, West Shore U Lock Mini Storage, stepped up with an offer to house Anney’s Closet for free. The rest is history. Today the lockers provided serve as a ‘store’ merchandised for shopping, along with additional lockers for storage, sorting and collection.
Imagining Possibilities is an annual one-day conference for young women aged 15-25 and 125 young women each year benefit from getting fired up about their potential and their future. We began Imagining Possibilities, our club’s version of the Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program, in 2012.
Each Christmas, former Anney’s Closet clients, whose names have been drawn from a basket, benefit from Christmas hampers. And new for 2018, the hampers will expand to benefit a second group of women in June, when Food Banks are generally low on supplies.
Stella’s Suppers provided 37 seniors with a lovely evening of a catered meal, entertainment and new friendships. Our first dinner in August 2017 benefitted elderly people in our community and was named after our Stella, who brought us the idea. We have big plans for this program and will grow the program in the years ahead.
And on the international level, we are proud to have been an integral part of helping a club go into production of women’s sanitary supplies in Masaka, Uganda. We’ve supported a young woman’s educational goals in Makanya, Tanzania, and we regularly lend to women entrepreneurs throughout the world through Kiva.org
In order to fund our programs, we hold an annual gala fundraiser, Flavour of Chocolate. This elegant evening is a chef competition, serving savoury chocolate dishes for our guests. Tickets have sold out well in advance of each of our first three events. We present our awards at Flavour of Chocolate each year.
We meet the first and third Wednesday each month from 6:15 to 8:00 pm in the Community Meeting Space at Sands Chapel, 317 Goldstream Avenue in Colwood. The venue is provided courtesy of our member Julie, who allows us meeting space for our meetings and social events.