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Soroptimist International of Central Alberta to host Women’s Day event in Blackfalds


Members of the Soroptimist International of Central Alberta are gearing up for the annual Women’s Day event on March 9 at the Blackfalds Community Centre.

The packed slate of events runs from 1 — 4:30 p.m.

“We invite everyone to attend with their mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, co-workers, and BFFs! Come celebrate International Women’s Day with us where we will be presenting the winners of the Live Your Dream awards, the Violet Richardson awards, and the Ruby Award – For Women Helping Women,” noted a release.

This year’s theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, said Sherri Smith, the club’s president.

Other highlights include an international fashion show, desserts, and refreshments.

Tickets are $20 each and are available on Eventbrite.

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta is part of a worldwide organization that provides women and girls access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.

“Because of the awards that we give away to women and girls, we try to make this an actual celebration day where they can come to receive their awards, and they can bring along their families and friends to see them receive their awards as well,” said Smith, who has been with the club since 1995.

“It’s a special day to celebrate.”

Smith also pointed out that one of the event’s key features — the international fashion show — is also a true highlight. It will be a chance to chat with the fashion show participants about their own home countries and learn more about the many connections to International Women’s Day around the world.

“There are some countries where it’s a day off for women! So it’s celebrated differently across the world,” she said.

“This year, the governor of our western Canada region has also asked each of the clubs to highlight a woman from the past who has received one of our awards and to tell (those gathered) where they are now.

“We’ve got a lot of women in our community who have been past award winners, and we feel such pride when we see what they are doing now.

“It’s amazing to see where they go. In the past, we have also had some of them tell us a bit about how it felt to win the award. They say it wasn’t just about the money they received, but the recognition they experienced. That they were chosen, and that somebody thought highly of them so that they would receive an award. It’s heartwarming to hear that.”

The Ruby Award also offers a meaningful way to honour women in the community.

“There are a lot of unsung heroes out there, and it’s nice to recognize them,” she said.

Meanwhile, the local club is involved with a range of causes which run the gamut from Central Alberta Purple Light Nights (a domestic violence awareness program), and the Period Promise program to the The Power of a Girl conference which was held this past October.

“We helped to start the Period Promise School Pilot program in Red Deer,” explained Smith.

“In 2021, we secured a grant from the Red Deer Community Foundation and partnered with the United Way. Our organizations launched the school pilot and outfitted four schools in the Red Deer public school district with menstrual products.

“We did a 15-month pilot of that, and we collected data,” she said, adding that just a couple of months after launching the pilot, the provincial government announced more funding for more schools in Alberta to benefit from the program.

“We didn’t think our advocacy efforts were going to happen that fast.”

The award-winning program ended up landing national attention.

“Not all schools are funded yet (for this), but hopefully one day they will be. It’s a movement that is growing, and it started here in Central Alberta — something we are pretty proud of.”

As to the coming event, donations of menstrual products will also be collected at the door for the Period Promise campaign.

For Smith, there couldn’t be a more fitting organization to pour her passion into.

“It just naturally fits with everything that I believe in,” she said.

“With the Soroptimists, because it’s so worldwide, you get exposed to all the issues that happen with women all over the world. You find out ways to help.

“Education is also one of the main (focuses), and it’s very important to educate women and girls because so many things can change if they are educated,” she said.

”That’s one of the main passions behind the awards that we give, and it’s behind everything that we do.”

For more information, email, or contact Sherri Smith at 403-391-7912.

The club can also be followed on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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