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Soroptimist Report: What club members do outside the club

Ashland has many fine service clubs that make important contributions to other organizations and individuals in all corners of our community. These clubs include the American Association of University Women, Elks, Kiwanis, Masons, Lions, Rotary, and Soroptimist International of Ashland (SIA).

The work of these clubs is based on their specific missions, but clearly many club members contribute beyond their clubs, as individuals or as part of their affiliation with other organizations. Here are a few highlights of the valuable contributions our SIA members make beyond our club to enhance the quality of life in Ashland, the Rogue Valley, and around the world.

Three of our current members volunteer as Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children at CASA of Jackson County. Mavis Cloutier (SIA member since 1978) has been a CASA for 10 years and received the 2018 Jackson County Community Service Award in April. Janie Burcart (SIA member since 2014) has served as a CASA for four years and Carol Page (Soroptimist member since 2000) for two years.

Southern Oregon Friends of Hospice recently opened the Holmes Park House in Medford. This is the first residential care facility providing hospice services in Southern Oregon. Carolyn Johnson (SIA member since 1987), a retired registered nurse and her husband, Bruce Johnson, a retired doctor, have been instrumental in the successful $4 million capital campaign that brought this wonderful project to fruition.

Kathy Garrett-Canape (Soroptimist member since 1983) has led the countywide Kid Spree program since 1989. This annual program provides free school clothes to about 180 low-income children in the Rogue Valley each fall. In May 2014, Kathy received the Jackson County Board of Commissioner’s Volunteer of the Month Award.

Pat Acklin (an SIA member since 1990) served as a member of the Ashland City Council for 14 years. As a community activist and now a Southern Oregon University Emeritus Professor of Geography, Pat has served on numerous nonprofit boards. She recently completed 12 years of service, including two terms as president, on the board of the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.

Susan Moen (an SIA member since 2012) is the founding Executive Director of the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). This organization provides free, compassionate medical care and free support groups for sexual assault survivors, as well as K-12 sexual violence prevention programs in local schools.

Body Basics and Beyond is an innovative program for girls developed by Karen O’Dougherty (SIA member since 2015). It is designed to help parents bridge the communication gap that often starts to widen as our daughters grow up. Body Basics normalizes the puberty experience by providing a safe place for girls to learn about, and share their feelings, excitement, and fears about this time of life.

Joy Dobson Way, a retired registered nurse (and SIA member since 2009), is completing a two-year term as president of the Ashland Community Hospital Foundation Board. The foundation is an independent nonprofit organization devoted to maintaining the excellence of our local Asante hospital.

One of our millennial members, Maddie Elder (SIA member since 2016) made two one-week humanitarian trips to Haiti with a health care group from Georgia before she graduated from SOU in June 2018. Prior to her trips, Maddie purchased hard-to-obtain basic supplies with grants from two Soroptimist Clubs. She then transported, organized, and distributed these supplies in country and assisted health professionals to provide clinic care and basic health education.

Finally, Chris Christensen (Soroptimist member since 1985) has recently been elected Soroptimist District 2 Secretary. SIA is fortunate to have one of our members involved in Soroptimist governance beyond our local club.

You can see from these few notable examples from just one club that service club members in our community do not limit themselves to one club or organization. They have a habit of contributing their time, talents, and treasure to our community in many valuable ways. So if you are a service club member or you are contributing to our community in some other way, thank you for your efforts. Our high quality of community life in Ashland would not be the same without you!

Soroptimist Report appears quarterly in the Tidings. For more, go to www.soroptimistrv.org/siashland.html, or contact SIA President Colleen Chambers by email at cocarson@hotmail.com.

In front from left are Pat Acklin, Kathy Garrett Canape and Karen O’ Dougherty. In back are Joy Dobson Way, Carolyn Johnson, Mavis Cloutier, Janie Burcart and Chris Christensen. (Photo by Hannah Christensen)