For over 89 years, Soroptimist International of Vancouver has been committed to improving the lives of women and girls locally and internationally. The name Soroptimist means “best for women.” A group of professional women, Soroptimists are women at their best helping other women to be their best.
Chartered in 1926. [History]
SI Vancouver was chartered in 1926. It was the first Soroptimist club chartered in Canada. The Vancouver club has benefited from the support of a number of dynamic women who have worked constantly to make a difference for girls and women in our community and internationally.
Projects supported by Soroptimist International of Vancouver:
Vancouver Second Mile Society (VSMS) – a drop in centre for Seniors on the Downtown Eastside that has been providing, for over 50 years, inexpensive meals, a safe place to go, programs and information to the seniors who attend. There are 4 outreach coffee and tea programs that give Seniors the opportunity to socialize with one another in their hotels. – one on the downtown eastside, one Chineses seniors outreach and two on the downtown south side.
The mandate of VSMS is to improve the quality of life for seniors and people with disabilities living in SRO (single room occupancy) hotels, rooming houses and low-income housing.
The Vancouver Soroptimist Club has supported the Society since it began. Members have served on the Board of Directors, provided funding for kitchen appliances, painted the centre and tried to support the centre whenever there is a need.
- Starting in 1960, we began operating social housing to assist low-income senior women.
- We own and operate two social housing projects, such as Southwynd Place which we co-own with the Kiwanis Club of Vancouver and we independently own a 21 suite building at 546 W 13th Ave, Vancouver.
- Soroptimist Housing Committees oversee both of these properties.
During the 1970’s Soroptimist of Vancouver built a 20 unit residence for low income seniors on W. 13th Ave near Cambie and in partnership with Kiwanis of Vancouver built a 90 unit residence for low income seniors at 8080 Yukon Street. SIVancouver members continue to be involved in the management and maintenance of both buildings. These buildings are available to qualified applicants as vacancies arise.
Queen Alexandra School programs
Everyday Soroptimist of Vancouver provides the funding for a ‘healthy recess snack program’ for the children in Kindergarten to Grade 7. To support Literacy, in December the club provides book bags (handmade by members) filled with Snuggly reading buddies and a book to all K-Grade 2 children. The children have been thrilled to receive a book they can keep for their very own.
- We provide bags of toiletries and other essentials for sex workers who stop in at WISH Drop-in Centre Society located in the Downtown Eastside.
- We support ASK (Arbutus, Shaughnessy, and Kerrisdale) Friendship Centre.
- We support Vancouver Second Mile Society in the Downtown Eastside.
- We provided a van to the Lion’s Club to transport disabled people.