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Soroptimist International of Los Angeles

Growing our membership to increase our service

February-March 2014Vol 5, Issue 6





How fast the beginning of 2014 has started. The Holidays seem to have just ended and we have reached March already.  The early February meeting was most informative with Hanna Mora, Development Associate, from the Downtown Women's Center as the speaker. Our own Joan Johnson made us think about physical activity for the young people in our own lives and the community at another meeting. March speakers are Liz Marizian, Camino Real District 2 Director and Chatiera Ray, Fund Development Coordinator, Clothes the Deal.


On Valentine's Day we had our outstanding Reading is FUNdamental experience at Hollywood Primary Center School under the direction of our own Dona Lawrie, Principal of the school. March 5th we will collect clothing for Clothes the Deal, the organization providing clothing for clients preparing for job interviews. Three days later we prepare breakfast at the Downtown Women's Center and take donations of clothing for their clients and slightly used items for their boutique.


Our major event, the annual Fundraising and Awards Luncheon caps March on the 29th at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.  All SILA members are busily preparing for the grand event with planning and organizing.


Thank you for your hard work. I know the event will be a real success with all the effort and some new changes to make the afternoon even more fun and interesting for all attending.

President Bev 

In This Issue
Make Note of These Dates
An Invitation to a Great Event
A FUNdamental SILA Activity
Update on DWC
Member Updates
Quick Links

2013-2014 Board


President: Bev Johnson
1st VP (Programs): Joyce Jacob
2nd VP (W&M): Jessica Washington
Secretary: Daphyne Howell
Treasurer: Teresa Harvey
Director 2012-14: Diane Vernon
Director 2013-15: Julie Mairs
Contact Information


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


President Bev Johnson at or 818-563-3775.
Editor Janet Elliott at or 310-809-2438; Co-Editor Ann Read at or 626-919-9202

Make Note of These Dates



Wednesday, March 5, 6-8pm: Program Meeting at Taix Restaurant. Speaker Liz Marizian, CRR District 2 Director. Bring donations of job interviewing clothes for women and men for Clothes the Deal


Saturday, March 8: Kitchen Duty! Preparing breakfast for homeless women at the Downtown Women's Center


Wednesday, March 19, 6-8pm: Program Meeting at Taix Restaurant. Speaker Chatiera Ray for Clothes the Deal.


Saturday, March 29: Gala Awards Luncheon and Silent Auction at the Los Angeles Athletic Club 

An Invitation to a Great Event                                          

SILA Pays It Forward
Planning is in full swing for this year's Annual Awards Luncheon and Silent Auction. It will be held on Saturday, March 29, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. As always, it will feature a wonderful reception and silent auction, great food and entertainment, and will honor the winners of the SILA Graduate Fellowship, Women's Opportunity Award, Violet Richardson Award and Soroptimist Ruby Award. This year's activities also includes a raffle for a 32" flat screen TV. SILA's 2014 Ruby Award Honoree is Lisa Watson, CEO of the Downtown Women's Center.
RSVP by March 19. Tickets are $75 each. Click here to see a full copy of the invitation.
A FUNdamental SILA Activity                                        by Joyce Jacob


SILA had a great day at Hollywood Primary Center on Friday, February 14th - Valentine's Day.


We were greeted by our own SILA Member, Dr. Dona Lawrie, Principal. Hollywood Primary Center is a Kindergarten through 3rd Grade school. The children are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack. Many of the children stay until 6pm.


Everyone at the school was ready for the special program called Reading is FUNdamental. The students were allowed to wear party dresses and every classroom was prepared to present Valentines and flowers to each SILA Member. We were special!


Each class from 3rd grade to transition kindergarten came into the decorated school library and walked around the tables where age appropriate books were displayed. Each student could pick out a book to take home.  SILA Members sat behind the tables to help the students decide what book they would like.


Some had difficulty making choices. They reminded of me shopping when I need to look at everything before deciding. The second graders took the longest - they all wanted chapter books. The fastest in making a decision were the kindergarten transition classes. What joy on our part to see the students looking at their books and sharing their choices with their friends.


Dona and her faculty are outstanding role models for their students in providing an excellent program. SILA donated $800 toward this program. A big thanks to everyone that participated at the school: Ann, Jeri, Pam, Dona, Sheila, Joyce, Bev and Teresa.












Update on DWC                                                          by Joyce Jacob                            




Hanna Mora, a representative for our 2014 Ruby Award Winner, Lisa Watson, CEO Downtown Women's Center (DWC), came to speak at our SILA Program Meeting on February 5, 2014 at Taix Restaurant. Hannah is Development Associate at DWC and she gave an outstanding presentation and update on DWC. She also said how very honored DWC was to be selected as SILA Ruby Award Winner.


Hanna's role is to oversee numerous aspects of fundraising and coordination of a number of benefits and events. She has only been with DWC since September but has seen growth and forward movement for the women in the shelter, especially regarding community interest and support.


The DWC was founded in 1978 and is now reaching 4300 women per year. It is the only organization in Los Angeles exclusively dedicated to addressing the immediate and long-term needs of women overcoming poverty and homelessness on downtown's Skid Row.


Their approach provides a wrap-around service which includes basic needs, housing, health and well-being where women can receive mammograms, education and job readiness training.


The average age of women as residents is 50 years old and there is a waiting list to obtain an apartment. On an average day there are over 200 women that drop in to the Day Center for basic needs, healthcare and education. 90,000 meals were served last year. The research shows that 95% of the women who go through these programs do not return to homelessness.


At present, there are also two MADE by DWC social enterprises - a resale boutique and café. You can sample their great food and go shopping at their downtown location at 438 S. San Pedro Street. Click here for more info.

Member Updates      


Did you read about Joyce Jacob in Steve Lopez's column in the Los Angeles Times? Her efforts to conserve the much neglected statue of Florence Nightingale which has stood in Lincoln Park since 1937 were featured in his column on February 8. Publicity by this popular columnist frequently results in community action. Read the full column here. Way to go, Joyce! 



Family and friends from across the country gathered to celebrate the 100th birthday of member Sheila Tatum's mother--Vanessa Mary Morgan Reid, seen here with Sheila and her sister, Catherine McCall.  Vanessa is the eldest of 13 children.  She was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Colorado Springs, CO.  She was one of the first African Americans accepted at Colorado College on the prestigious Sachs scholarship.  Vanessa was a pre-school assistant teacher and worked for the State of California Department of Health - Medical Unit.  She was an active volunteer in her community.  She still is an avid reader and sings every day in her wonderful alto voice.