Soroptimists mark 60th

Jenny McKean, Liz Bailey, Ann Cook and Beverley O'Meara prepare to celebrate Soroptimist International Geelong's 60th anniversary. (Louisa Jones) 217658_03

By Luke Voogt

Soroptimist International Geelong opened up a new world of friendship for Ann Cook after she moved to Ocean Grove.

“We didn’t know anyone except our daughter but I’ve made lots of friends through Soroptimist,” the group’s current president said.

After four years, Ann is a “very new” member of Soroptimist Geelong, which celebrates its 60th anniversary next week.

The three longest-serving Geelong Soroptimists have more than 120 years between them.

A friend from Girl Guides recommended Ann join the group, she said.

“It’s very similar, without the youth aspect, to Girl Guides, which I’ve been part of for 65 years.”

The Soroptimists sought to empower women through international, national and local projects and campaigns, Ann said.

“We’re very active with those less fortunate than ourselves.”

The group provides scholarships to girls at North Geelong Secondary College and refugee women studying English at Gordon TAFE.

During COVID-19 the group has continued its conversation sessions with the women to discover their backgrounds and help them learn English.

While Ann has missed monthly film screenings and face-to-face meetings, the Soroptimists have stayed social with virtual wine and cheese nights and other online events.

They are also donating food to Drysdale Food Bank and St Mary’s Parish pantry, running a toy drive for Bellarine Kinship Carers and creating ‘literacy bags’ for disadvantaged primary school students.

The group will hold an online information session next Tuesday at 7pm for its ‘recruiting month’.

“We’re inviting as many people as we can to join us to learn a little bit about Soroptimism,” Ann said.