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May  2011Vol 2, Issue 9
SI Los Angeles NEWS 
Fellowship with a purpose!

Jeri Durham                          

 Dear SILA Sisters,  


We have had a whirlwind month!  It began with our May 4 meeting during which we inducted two new members, Jessica Washington and Bev Johnson.  It was a lovely evening at Taix, with Daphyne Howell from 1736 providing us information on the current status of the shelter and its clients.  It is always a treat to have her attend our meetings.  If you can support the 1736 Family Crisis Center Day at the Races on June 18, please do so.  I forwarded to you all the flyer.  It would be good if we have a presence at this activity.  On May 18, our own Sheila Tatum presented an overview of the Spring Conference which was held May 13-15 in Carlsbad.  Sheila did a fabulous job as co-chair of this event with Desert Coast Region and it was a great success.  The setting was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly, the program was fulfilling and the vendors were supreme.  I bought a hat from one of the vendors which won in a hat contest at another event this past weekend!! Many thanks to our faithful SI vendor, Hazel's Bags


Our June 1 meeting is our final Board/Business meeting.  All committee chairs should be prepared with end of the year reports.  This includes the awards committees, finance committee, etc.  These reports must be accepted by the body and received as part of our minutes.  Please be prepared.  On June 15 we will be installing new officers and Board members for 2011-2012 and may induct some new members.  Both meetings will be at Taix Restaurant.  Hope to see you all there.  Let's have a great turnout. 


President Jeri

Dates to Remember




Wed. 6/1 6:00pm: Annual Business Meeting at Taix

Wed. 6/15 6:00pm: Installation and Induction at Taix

Sun-Thurs 7/10-14: SI Convention in Montreal, Canada

Saturday. 7/30: Planning Retreat at Hollenbeck Palms


In This Issue
Second Step Shelter Helps Women and Children
A Successful Joint Spring Conference
Meet Our New Members
Remembrance of Past Members: Mildred Lillie
Keren Taylor's Continued Success with WriteGirls
Summer Planning Retreat
Member News: Mary Porter
Quick Links

2010-2011 Board
President:  Jeri Durham
1st VP (Programs): Ginger Cole
2nd VP (W&M):  Carole Oglesby
Secretary:  Joyce Jacob
Treasurer:  Janet Elliott
Directors 2009-11: Barbara Jury
             and Irene Recendez
Directors 2010-12: Karen Johnson                Dona Lawrie
Contact Information


For more information about SILA or this Newsletter, please contact:


President Jeri Durham at or 626-826-2224


Editor Janet Elliott at or 310-809-2438; Asst. Editor Ann Read at or 626-919-9202

Second Step Shelter Helps Women and Children                   by Joyce Jacob


1736 Family Crisis Center


At the May 4th meeting, Daphyne Howell from 1736 Family Crisis Center gave SILA members an update on 1736's programs for women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. In particular, Daphyne talked about 1736's Second Step Shelter which is located in two houses owned by SILA and leased to 1736 for $1 per year.  Currently, the Second Step Shelter houses 33 clients with 21 children including three newborns.


The process for the clients to receive 1736's services may start with a call during the night to the National Hot Line for Domestic Violence. The main concern is to make sure the family is safe (they may need to stay in a motel). 1736 is the only agency in LA to take families with teenage sons. They can be a challenge! They often come in angry and need to work closely with a Case Manager.


Once accepted, the family must follow strict protocols, for example no drugs or alcohol. To insure the safety of all families, incoming residents cannot give out the shelter address or contact their abuser.


The strength of 1736 is the Second Step Program which includes helping clients by assessing their needs and assisting with education, training, and job placement. There is a case manager for every client. At 1736's head office, there are computers for client use, a legal department and a Family

Day at the Races


Resource Center. Clients are allowed to stay in the Second Step Shelter as long as one year. It is a big moment when a woman and her children graduate to be on their own. The biggest need at that time is to provide them with linens and household goods as a family care package.  Members Barbara Jury and DeAnna Blaylock have been called on several times to help provide these items.


Want to help 1736? Consider attending (or just donating to) their upcoming Day at the Races  on June18.  All proceeds benefit the 1736 Family Crisis Center.  Click here for more information.

A Successful Joint Spring Conference


Spring Conference 2011At the meeting on May 18th, Conference Chair Sheila Tatum reported to the club on the first joint spring conference held for both the Desert Coast and Camino Real Regions on May 13-15.  More than 400 women attended. Representatives from SILA included President Jeri, President-Elect Ginger, Secretary Joyce, 30-year member Annie Bodden, and Chair Sheila. Annie was recognized for her 30 years of membership, Irene Recendez for 5 years, and Joan Johnson, Karen Johnson and Emily Dell as Distinguished Soroptimists. The three day conference included the Soroptimist Leadership Academy, a memorial service for recently deceased Soroptimists (former SILA members Jackie Johns and Joan Tancredi were remembered), recognition of regional winners of the Women's Opportunity Award, Violet Richardson Award, and Ruby Award, speakers from Soroptimist International of the Americas, and invitations to the Fall District Workshop in Montebello on October 22, 2011 and next year's Camino Real Region Spring Conference in Long Beach on April 20-22, 2012.

Meet Our New Members



Bev JohnsonAfter graduating from South Pasadena High School, Bev Johnson spent two years at Occidental College, then graduated from USC with a BS in Physical Education. She also earned an MS degree from Smith College and had almost completed her PhD program at USC when she reconsidered her priorities and decided to moved on.


She taught 3 years at Claremont High School, and 30 years at Pasadena City College. Bev served as President of the United States Field Hockey Association, was on the Board of Directors of the Pan American Hockey Federation and Chair of the Coaching and Development Committee for 7 years. She is currently active in youth development and on the International Hockey Federation Coaching and Youth Development Committee.


Bev is an avid outdoor photographer, golfer, quilter, lover of classical music, a beginning birder and interested in native plants. She has a cabin in June Lake, not far from Joan Johnson's, and loves to fish, hike and 4 wheel drive all summer. She also has a park model in Apache Junction, AZ, for winter vacations.


She was the first U.S. woman to serve as tournament director at a major international field hockey tournament and did several International Federation and Pan American tournaments. She now travels with a small group to each World Cup, World Cup Qualifier, Olympic Tournament and Olympic Qualifier to watch the women's U.S. National field hockey team play. The group is called the "Golden Girls" by the US team.  Bev now serves as a volunteer for all major women's hockey tournaments in the US.



Jessica Washington
Jessica Washington

Jessica Washington grew up in LA and has known member Sheila Tatum for over 50 years, remembering attending ballet classes together in Junior High School.  She graduated from Manual Arts High School and then University of Redlands with a BS in accounting.  After years of helping doctors clean up their billings and training their staffs, she and her husband of 47 years started their own business Patients Unlimited Marketing Consultants (PUMC).  Their company helps cosmetic surgeons convert inquiries into consultations and surgeries.  When the internet became big in the 1990's, PUMC initiated the first plastic surgery referral website in the country and over the past 15 years, have hosted over 200 plastic surgeons' websites and assisted them in the design, structure and effectiveness of these sites.


Jessica is known during the day in her business as "Lou Haggerty" - drawn from her full name, Jessica Louise Haggerty Washington, and adopted when they first started their business to avoid both the appearance of being a "mom & pop" business and any aversion clients may have to dealing with a woman.


Jessica and her husband have a son (deceased in 2000), a daughter in San Diego and eight grandchildren. She loves gardening, mainly growing vegetables, citrus, and avocados on their 1/3 acre in Gardena. Although right now she and her husband are having a competition growing Gerber Daisies: whose will do better? - those in the ground or in pots!



Ann Read
Ann Read

Ann Read grew up in Santa Ana and has an M.A. and B.A. from Chapman University.  Ann spent 32 years at Fullerton College as a tennis specialist, 20 of those years as coach of the women's tennis team.  After retiring from coaching, she had the opportunity to teach online to Russian college students via Cal State University Los Angeles.  That experience led to teaching a live TV telecourse which the college used after her retirement.


The 14 years since retiring have been spent gardening (indoor and outdoors), crafts (from stained glass to mosaics), as well as short term projects such as beaded flowers and making costume jewelry.  Weekly activities include two sessions of contract bridge in Arcadia with partner and long-time friend Karen Johnson and casual golf with Karen.  Most weeks include a day trip to the mountains around Idyllwild, where she has a small house and enjoys hiking with her dog Lucy.


And then there is lots of time on the computer: games, email, shopping, and now a new challenge - taking on the SILA Newsletter!



Diane Vernon
Diane Vernon

Diane Vernon has lived in the San Fernando Valley since the age of 9. She graduated from Queen of Angels School of Nursing when she was barely 20 years old and then went on to work there in what was the first Intensive Care Unit in Los Angeles.  "What a difference time and technology have made in the field of Critical Care!" she says.  While working in the ICU, she finished her BSN at LA State College and later got a Master's Degree in Nursing from UCLA.  In 1969, she joined the faculty in the School of Nursing at Cal State University Los Angeles which permitted her involvement in the best of both academia and nursing, taking Clinical Nursing students into clinical settings in numerous hospitals in LA and the San Gabriel and San Fernando Valleys. 


Another passion while at CSULA was academic advisement.  She went from being Director of the School of Nursing's advisement program to being Director of the University's Advisement Office (for all its undeclared majors) and head of its Peer Mentoring Program for first time freshmen.


She has an adopted daughter who lives with her family in Lancaster, 4 wonderful grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and 7 brothers and sisters.  After fully retiring in 2006, she now loves spending time at Mammoth in the summer and enjoys fishing and hiking in the mountains with her dogs. She also enjoys photography, feeding and watching the birds in her yard and cooking.



Remembrance of Past Members: Mildred L. Lillie


Located two blocks from the Music Center and City Hall, the Los Angeles County

Mildred Lillie Building

LA County Law Library has long been recognized as the "gem in the crown" of California's 58 county law libraries and is considered to be the finest public law library in the United States.


Law Library was re-named the Mildred L. Lillie building in 2003. An impressive honor for one of our past members, Justice Mildred Lillie (1915-2002).  Mildred held the distinction in California of serving the longest as an appellate judge (44 years) and judicial officer (56 years).


Quite a journey for a woman whose first job was working in a local San Joaquin Valley cannery during the Great Depression. Later she worked a number of part-time jobs to earn her way through U.C. Berkeley undergraduate and law school.


 After law school and two years of private practice, Mildred rapidly moved up the judicial ladder:


  • In 1947, Governor Earl Warren appointed her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court.
  • In 1949, Warren moved her up to the California Superior Court,
  • In 1958 Governor Goodwin Knight appointed her to the Court of Appeals,
  • And in 1984, Governor George Deukmejian namedher Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, where she remained until retirement in October of 2002. 
Mildred L. Lillie
Presiding Justice, Court of Appeals

Her success almost resulted in an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court when President Richard Nixon considered naming her as the first woman justice. The American Bar Association evaluation committee did not approve and the seat was eventually filled by William Rehnquist. Some felt the evaluation committee did not feel it was time to have a woman on that high court.  Mildred lived to see Sandra Day O'Connor (a former Soroptimist from SI Phoenix) achieve that milestone.


Before her death, Justice Lillie witnessed the evolution of women into the law profession. "Today more than 50% of the students in our nation's law schools are women and I have watched with pride the upsurge of women in the profession.  Sadly," she noted, "sexism is alive and well in many law firms that still tend to relegate woman to minor 

Mildred Lillie-Eleanor Roosevelt
Mildred Lillie and First Lady

positions or less important work."




Characterized as "the most revered and accomplished jurist in the history of the State of California", the Los Angeles County Law Library building named the Mildred L. Lillie building is a fitting tribute.





Keren Taylor's Continued Success with WriteGirls

Some of SILA members may remember Keren Taylor as SILA's Woman of Distinction Award winner in 2006. More recently, Keren won the 2012 Ruby Award from Soroptimist International of Alhambra, San Gabriel, and San Marino.

Keren Taylor
Keren Taylor, Executive Director and Mentor

Since 2006, Keren has expanded her impressive WriteGirl program, which was developed to mentor, inspire, and equip high school girls with creative writing skills. To quote Keren, "Here in the world of WriteGirl, we are all about giving girls and women the space, time and permission to speak up, speak out, write it down, and let their unique voices loose."


Since its inception, the WriteGirl program has had a 100% success rate in helping girls to graduate from high school and then go on to college. A few of Keren's success stories:

  • Lovely Umayam is in Washington, D.C. working on nuclear nonproliferation policy. 
  •  Anna Liu, as a recent member of the California bar, is trying her first case in federal court this week. 
  • Alma Castrejon is continuing her national advocacy for immigration reform while completing her master's thesis
  • Lena Brooks is preparing for graduation from UC Berkeley.
  • Jamillah Mena is completing her first year at Dartmouth.
  • Glenda Garcia is preparing for her upcoming year in Thailand as a Fulbright scholar.
  • Ariel Edwards-Levy is completing a journalism internship in Washington, D.C.

According to Keren, the most rewarding aspect of the program is to witness the change in the girls who participate. "It's amazing to see a girl enter WriteGirl as shy and withdrawn, or perhaps outgoing but a bit awkward, and see her in only a few months make an amazing transformation into a self-assured, well-spoken young woman. "


As one of the mentors said, "I wish they would have had a program like this when I was in school!"  So would many of us!



Summer Planning Retreat

Members: Mark your calendars!  The date for the Summer Planning Retreat has been decided:  Saturday, July 30 in the conference room at Barbara Jury's Hollenbeck Palms.  This is the opportunity to set our objectives and make plans for the next Soroptimist year.  Watch for more details to come.  
Member News:  Mary Porter

Mary PorterFormer member Mary Porter is alive and well, as she says, "living in the wilds of Northern Nevada."  Mary was an active medical malpractice trial lawyer in Glendale while she was a member of SILA but moved with her husband, Mike, to Gardnerville, Nevada.  She continued her law practice part time but, as of this year, is now officially fully retired.  She's active in the Republican Party and was sent by Douglas County as a representative to the Nevada State Central Committee. Nevada is one of the few states that use a caucus process instead of primary elections to vote for presidential candidates and she's most proud of preparing rules to allow overseas military personnel to participate in their local caucuses. She is still very involved with her son and daughter and 6 grandchildren, even though all of them live in Southern California.  Long-time SILA members will remember when she brought 2 year old Ashley to a SILA meeting the day Candice was born.  Ashley (now 16!) and Candice drove up to visit over Easter!  Long-time members also fondly remember Mary dressed as a saloon girl at one of our fundraisers.  Here's a current picture of Mary hamming it up as Dolly in "Vivacious Vixens of Vaudeville," a scholarship fundraiser staged by the Douglas County Republican Women.  Isn't it nice to know some things never change!