Spring News From Whitefish Soroptimist

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Soroptimist International of Whitefish | Box 1843 | Whitefish, MT

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President’s Message

Happy Spring! 

As my tenure as SI Whitefish President comes to an end, I look back and realize all the significant changes this club has gone through over the past year, and all the good work we have done for our local and global communities.  Along with the hard work, though, we’ve had plenty of fun times, too!

Our Events Committee really went above and beyond at our social meetings. We played tons of games such as Price is Right, bowling, “beer” pong and had awesome theme nights such as Mardi Gras, Halloween, and Groovy 70’s. What a great way to get to know our fellow Soroptimist sisters in a fun and lively atmosphere!

Our hard work has paid off in the form of going all electronic with our communications, including reports, agendas, and meeting minutes, as well as with our Treasurer accounting duties.

We have seen our committee chairwomen come together for common goals and put forth strong organization and work with their committee members.

Our Thrift Haus continues providing both a great shopping option for our community, and generating the funds for all of our programs.

Our Soroptimist International of Americas signature programs of Live Your Dream and  Dream It Be It had stellar success this year.

LYD awarded a total of $12,000 to eight highly deserving women, and our DIBI program impacted 14 Whitefish High School girls’ lives.

We awarded a total of $27,500 in college scholarships to our local young people and also contributed $10,000 to our Club Giving program, which goes to funding our global Dream programs which help improve the lives of women and girls around the world through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.

All-in-all, I’m happy and satisfied with our success and with our contributions to our community at large and well as our own Soroptimist sisterhood.

Have a great summer and I hope to see everyone at the End Of Year BBQ. 

Sincerely, Jen

Jennifer Fugatt
, President / 
Soroptimist International, Whitefish

NW Region Conference

The One Hundred First Region Conference for the Northwest Region was held at Skamania Lodge April 25th-28th.

It was a weekend filled with learning, inspiration and friends for the nine of us that were in attendance.

The big goal of SIA is to invest in the dreams of 500,000 women and girls (not children) through access to education. By affording women and girls opportunities to be empowered and educated, we are enabling them to make a difference in their own lives.

Our Club is extremely fortunate that we can give BIG to the signature programs which include LYD, DIBI and our own SI Whitefish Scholarships.

I am excited for this next year. We are making a difference!
– Bonnie

SI Whitefish member, Rachel G. is wearing our fancy hat creation as part of the conference festivities. 

Human Trafficking Committee

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock signed into law on Thursday the second of two bills passed by the Montana Legislature aimed at combating sex trafficking.

HB 749, carried by Rep. Daniel Zolnikov, R-Billings, provides $519,815 to establish a two-person human trafficking enforcement team with the Montana Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

The move represents the first time Montana has had state-level law enforcement dedicated to human trafficking cases. Currently, one federal agent with the FBI works full-time on the problem.

Bonnie Baker, Alana Darling and Diane Yarus, representing Soroptimist International of Whitefish has recieved $2,500 Grant from the Altria Group with Montana Attorney General Tim Fox in Helena Montana,  Department of Justice – Photo credit: MT Dept. of Justice

Members of Soroptimist International of Whitefish were in Helena May 7th in support of their work to combat Human Trafficking.  The organization has been working closely with Attorney General Tim Fox since 2012 to improve Montana’s laws and prevention efforts.  They were honored to receive a $2500 grant from the Altria Group to continue their awareness and professional training programs.

This year the funds helped bring a national expert on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Peter Qualliotine for a three city accredited and community training program.  Peter has worked with victims of sex trafficking and prostitution for over 20 years and shared his insights on dealing with the primary driver of this crime, the sex buyer.  He conducted a half day training for law enforcement and social service providers in Kalispell, Missoula and Billings.

He  presented a shorter overview for community members in each city as well; in all over 500 people attended his unique training.  To learn more about his work visit: endingexploitation.com.

Later in the day the trio were invited to join the bill signing of SB 147 with Governor Bullock and Sen. Margaret MacDonald along with Stephanie Baucus and Tara Bradford, leaders of community based anti-trafficking Task Forces in Yellowstone and Billings.  Yarus coordinates the Flathead County Human Trafficking Task Force and testified in support of SB 147.

This important bill improves our current human trafficking laws in many areas by expanding our definition of prostitution to combat illicit massage parlors that are often fronts for trafficking.  It also changes the definition of consent and adds human trafficking to the list of violent crimes.

The Human Trafficking Committee of SI Whitefish donated $500 to SIA Northwestern Region to support the Imagine Life Without Violence Program during the annual April conference held in Stevenson, WA.

Whitefish Soroptimists give $36,000 in scholarships

Whitefish Soroptimists International presented $36,000 in scholarship and grant money to Flathead area students on April 22 during a dinner.

Both award categories listed were increased from previous years to benefit more students with career goals in service to others.

The Soroptimist “Live Your Dream” awards provide cash grants to women who are working to better their lives through additional schooling and skills training. Eligible women are the primary financial providers for themselves and their dependents and are attending an undergraduate degree program or a vocational skills training program.

News from the Thrift Haus

Dear Fellow Soroptimists!

Kathy B and Jen G have been honored to serve our club in the capacity of Thrift Haus Chairs. We were grateful for the Thrift Haus Committee and their tireless work to keep the store up and running.

Everyone who gives their time at the store is appreciated, we are so lucky to have so many ladies with unique skill sets!!

Let’s not forget the store is open all summer and sorting takes no holiday. Please sign up for a shift, every little bit helps.

Let’s have a fun summer & party on!!!  Kathy & Jen

End of Season Party

Soroptimist Pledge

I pledge allegiance to Soroptimist
And to the ideals for which it stands;
The sincerity of friendship,
The joy of achievement,
The dignity of service,
The integrity of profession,
The love of country.
I will put forth my greatest effort
To promote, uphold and defend these ideals
For a larger fellowship in home,
in society, in business,
For country and for God.

Need more information about Soroptimist International? Visit their website at http://www.soroptimist.org

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