Logo

Search for 'AAUW' returned 4 results

Now and Then – ‘Cheers to 50 Years’

| Community | May 31, 2018

There were times, seated at a table at the Valencia Hyatt Hotel, when it was hard not to flash back to different tables in different rooms at similar events held so many years earlier.

Pat Kelley, Betty Granger, Diane Kreyenhagen and Ollie Bruins, my tablemates at the American Association of University Women’s 50th anniversary celebration, were all talking about their many activities as members, and, except for the white in their hair, it could have been 1968, 1972, 1985, or 1999, any of a number of years leading up to this May 19, 2018 event.

It was a special day for Pat, Betty, and Diane, who were being honored as founding members, and Ollie, who was celebrating her 60th year as a member, having transferred into the local group from another branch.

As president of the branch in 1973, I reminisced with the others while guests gathered at the tables set up for a ceremony themed “Cheers to 50 Years.” We talked about the many different ways we interspersed study groups on current social issues with fun-loving hobbies and excursions.

One of the most popular memories was the 1970s Gourmet Group. Chair Roseann Krane researched countries like France, Italy, Russia, Lebanon, and China then put together booklets featuring the countries’ histories and the recipes of their signature dishes. Members often had to leave the SCV to find specialty markets that carried the ingredients needed for the meals. The resulting feasts (which often required 24-hour preparations) were sumptuous 8-course dinners accompanied by before and after cocktails, and complementary wines with each course (and long walks afterwards to walk off the calories and the alcohol).

Some AAUW activities have not changed over the years, including the annual membership brunch, the fellowship and local scholarship awards, a commitment to the Placerita Nature Center (founding member Diane Kreyenhagen is a former president of the Center’s docent program); a Women in History presentation (past president Jane Adams once portrayed a young woman who disguised herself as a boy to serve in the Union Army), and the candidate forums. But the emphasis on college and vocational fairs of the past has been superseded by a Women’s Conference (in conjunction with College of the Canyons) and a program dedicated to showcasing women’s accomplishments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

(Since 1998, the national organization has promoted Tech Trek, a program for middle school girls that features weeklong science camp experiences at different universities to promote STEM. The SCV group believes that programs like the Tech Trek Science Camps have changed the status quo of young women locally and across the country, connecting them with peers and mentors in the sciences).

While the lunch guests visited, current president Stephanie Dietrich, installing officer Rebecca Corona-Nickerson, and fellow board members put the finishing touches on Saturday’s ceremonial program. Lynda McClellan artfully arranged the cupcakes she baked commemorating the event; Barbara Oliver adjusted the sparkling gold table decorations; and Robin Clough kept busy taking pictures of the members and special guests, including the SCV’s elected representatives who had congratulatory plaques to present.

With mom Sue smiling proudly in the audience, City Councilman Cameron Smyth told the group, “I have a special history with AAUW. I was one of the toddlers in the branch’s first Kiddy Group.”

Besides honoring its founding members, Stephanie had praise for 2018 Humanities Scholarship winner, Christina Arias, and AAUW Virginia Prager-Elford Elementary Education Scholarship Endowment winner, Jacob Sikich. A number of other awards were highlighted during the afternoon and the event ended with the installation of incoming president Marianne Bakic and her board.

Those serving on the “Cheers for 50 Years” committee included Kelly Burke, Louise Schultz, Rose Drye, Michael Dietrich, Sonja Wendt, Gene Dorio, Val Jones, Phyllis Dozier, Betsy Swallow, Gloria Ruiz, Elaine Garcia, Debbie Harris, Linda Metz, and Dot Toral.

AAUW was founded nationally in 1881 to promote education and equity for young girls and women through advocacy, philanthropy, and research. Today the organization boasts a nationwide network of over 100,000 members and donors, and the SCV branch is one of 1,000.

For more information, one may visit the website: santaclaritavalley-ca.aauw.net.

Women in History: Costumed portrayals of historical women

| Sand Canyon Journal | April 16, 2018

Every year, PTA members at multiple schools create theatrical presentations that take kids back in time in honor of “Women in History Month.” Approximately six volunteers – usually mothers of students – appear in costumes, portraying real life women from American history.

But when a local woman takes the stage at her child’s school to recognize the achievements of a historical female, she may not realize she bears a striking resemblance to the woman she portrays: Like her character, she is taking her place in history (of the school, at least), while also making a notable achievement – capturing the imaginations of hundreds of elementary school students.

Schools in the Sulphur Springs School District all have the opportunity to take part in the program. The local chapter of the American Association of University Women decides the theme and selects the female icons to be portrayed each year, and the rest is up to the individual schools. Each site works on its own to choose presenters, create scripts, and gather costumes and props. Leona Cox Community School will hold the presentations in April this year, while volunteers at Sulphur Springs Community School performed for the kids in March.

This is the second year that Sabrina Randall was the program coordinator at Sulphur Springs. It used to be handled by Sue Hoefflin, who retired after 20 years teaching in the district.

“I was honored to be asked to coordinate Women in History because it’s an opportunity to introduce students to historical icons they don’t often get exposure to, if ever,” Randall said. “Women in History is also essential in the realization that success in any field isn’t gender or race biased. It also opens up the realization that there are multiple careers out there and how subjects students are learning in school right now can lead to their chance to enter some of the same fields as any of the icons we portray in Women in History.”

This was Tina Roberts’ second year portraying a woman in history at Sulphur Springs.
“It was just a blast, so I was happy to do it again,” said Roberts, who impersonated the wife of John F. Kennedy last year. “I put on a wig and really had the kids fooled. They really thought it was Jackie Kennedy come to life.”

In addition to the information AAUW provided last year, Roberts added her own research and created a large poster board with a timeline.

“I wanted to emphasize her as a woman, rather than the wife of Kennedy, to point out that she was an editor, and educated, and didn’t just sit on her laurels as a person in a privileged lifestyle,” said Roberts, who pulled off the look with a scarf and sunglasses. “She could’ve come off more as a debutante than a contributing person.”

This year, Roberts’ character was naturalist Joy Adamson, perhaps known best as the author of the book “Born Free.” She and her husband, George Adamson, who was a wildlife warden, lived in Kenya. They took an orphaned lion cub, Elsa, and domesticated her, but eventually realized the animal had to be set free.

“They had to reintroduce her into the wild, which hadn’t been done before,” Roberts said. “They had to teach her to be wild again.”

Joy Adamson spent much of her life serving causes associated with wildlife.

“She became an advocate for animals,” Roberts said. “She wanted to make people understand that they have personalities, they’re not just food and game.”
Roberts dressed in safari pants and set the stage with a stuffed lion and gourd art from her home, plus played the movie’s title song, “Born Free” on her computer. Recently elected recording secretary in PTA, Roberts is the mother of two children at Sulphur Springs – a son in fourth grade and a daughter in sixth grade. She is also the chair of the school’s Founders Day celebration.

“I’m impressed, in this day and age, with so much electronics, so many distractions, and about 60 kids … they were all just staring and asking questions and so engaged,” Roberts said. “It was so unexpected that you’d get that out of kids all day long.”

The volunteers who take a Women in History role year after year rarely have acting experience, just a desire to learn and pass the information onto the kids.

“I’m not an actor by any means and I felt so interested in learning about this woman,” Roberts said. “It was a great way to learn about somebody. Another woman, Rebekah Child, who did Rosalind Franklin – she did such a great job. She had to teach the kids about DNA! It’s fun to see what women come up with, as a mom and presenter.”

Randall is heading up the program at Sulphur Springs, but hasn’t participated as a presenter yet, mostly because of the enthusiasm of women around her.

“We have so many outstanding parent volunteers at Sulphur Springs who immediately come forward to portray an icon the minute roles become announced,” she said.

The other Women in History icons this year were astronaut Peggy Whitson, engineer Ellen Swallow Richards, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, and NASA research scientist Katherine Johnson.

Non Profit and Hero of the Week – American Association of University Women/Diane Bartley

| SC Living | January 26, 2018

By Sonja Wendt

Can you imagine a place where girls can fall in love with science or technology? The American Association of University Women, or AAUW, has been sending seventh grade girls to week-long science camps since 1998. Called Tech Trek, the camps focus on hands-on learning designed to help campers find their passions in STEM subjects, which are science, technology, engineering and math.

Studies show that interest in science, technology, and math wane after middle school, but Tech Trek changes all that. The top girls are nominated by their seventh grade science teachers, then complete a rigorous application process. Girls selected are those with strong interests in science and the result is magical! The camps are jam-packed with learning from morning to night and take place at Southern California universities, including Whitter College, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of California, Irvine, and California State University, Fresno. At each campus, over 60 girls are assigned to core learning groups such as Marine Biology, Forensics, Cybersecurity, or Rocketry. In the evenings they learn about the college application process or making an emulsion under the guidance of a chemist and keynote presenter. Field trips can include a trip to the Endeavor Space Shuttle with an engineer who helped build the rocket engines or to a cadaver lab at USC. The Tech Trek camp fuels the sparks of science and technology in these girls and inspires them to follow their dreams.

AAUW works with sponsors and conducts fundraising all year. The girls’ families are charged just $50 to attend, but the cost per camper is about $1,000. The Santa Clarita AAUW chapter plans to raise funds to allow 26 SCV girls to attend Tech Trek camp this year.

The main fundraising event is the Book Lovers Luncheon on Saturday, February 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the award-winning TPC Valencia Oaks Grille. Enjoy a delicious lunch and keynote presentations by authors Natashia Deon and Deen Ferrell. Ms. Deon is author of the critically acclaimed novel, “Grace,” and a 2017 NAACP Image Award nominee. Mr. Ferrell is the author of the award-winning series, “Cryptic Spaces” and screenplay “More Bull Than Dozer.” Cost is $65 per person, and 100 percent of net proceeds go to fund the cost of the Tech Trek camp. Simply contact Diane Bartley at dianebartley6@gmail.com to reserve your place.

The AAUW Santa Clarita chapter also awards an annual Humanities Scholarship and a Book Scholarship at College of the Canyons. The non-profit group also sponsors the popular Women in History event in April at local schools, where volunteers bring history to life by portraying influential women on stage.

The chapter celebrates its 50th Anniversary in May and is seeking past members to help celebrate. AAUW welcomes new members (both women and men), and additional sponsors and funding. Contact Ms. Bartley or Sonja Wendt at steinwendt@aol.com for more information.

Hero of the Week

Diane Bartley is a hero to many young girls who now have the confidence to pursue their dreams in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. She is my hero, too.

Diane has been an advocate for STEM education and careers, and an advocate for women her entire adult life. In 1994, she saw an advertisement for a kids’ science and math conference sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She was intrigued, so she decided to explore. When she did, she was introduced to AAUW’s Santa Clarita chapter and some amazing women and mentors who wanted to make a difference for girls in STEM education. Diane became involved in helping to organize the annual science and math conference.

In 1998, AAUW began a hands-on free summer camp program called Tech Trek. Through this program, top seventh grade science students, who are nominated by their teachers and complete a rigorous application process, are selected to attend. The camps, held at Southern California universities, allow the girls to attend daily science or math classes and field trips. They live in the dorms, so they get the full university experience and interact with women who model a high degree of science, math, or computer expertise in their daily lives. It results in young women who have the self-confidence and interest to pursue a science or technology education. Studies show that after seventh grade it becomes tricky when new distractions enter into the lives of young students, but that girls’ interest in STEM subjects can be sustained if they are exposed to the careers available to women in science and technology today.

This is where Diane comes in. After joining AAUW, she became immediately involved in supporting, first, the Science and Math Conference, then its successor, Tech Trek. She has held a number of positions in the chapter, including two terms as president. But, her heart is in supporting Tech Trek and for many years has been the lead on this program. This is a big job which involves not only overseeing the selection process for the participants, but also year-long fundraising of the $1,000 tuition per girl.

Diane says, “Just seeing the difference in the girls from the awards ceremony in the spring to the ‘Welcome Home’ party in the fall is so worth it. Girls who were shy and hesitant have blossomed by fall. Their self-esteem has grown by leaps and bounds.”

Of course, Diane will tell you it takes many volunteers to make the program successful, including her mentor, Jane Hanson; head of the selection process, Ginny Gregor; grant writer, MJ West; and co-chair of the Book Lovers Luncheon fundraiser, Dianne Millkin. There are a host of others who help. Then, of course, there are the girls themselves who help by writing personal thank you notes to the sponsors. These heartwarming notes about their personal experiences reflect the girls’ growth and continuing thirst for knowledge.

Once Tech Trekkers return home, they are invited to periodic field trips to businesses and opportunities to interact with women in STEM careers. These trips and mini-reunions allow the girls to re-fuel their interests and fine-tune their career paths. Diane leads this effort too. In all, the SCV chapter of AAUW has supported 175 girls since its inception.

Kudos to Diane for her interest, passion, and perseverance in keeping this program going. Diane, you have made a difference in dozens of lives. You are my hero!

If you are interested in joining AAUW to help, attending the Book Lovers’ Luncheon on February 3, or in providing financial support, contact Sonja Wendt at steinwendt@aol.com.

Robinson Ranch is Venue for Zonta’s Women in Service Awards

| Canyon Country Magazine | March 15, 2017

Canyon Country is well represented this year at the Zonta Club’s annual Women in Service Celebration. Two nominees are residents on this side of the Santa Clarita Valley, and so is the event location: Robinson Ranch Golf Clubhouse.

Olive Bruins and Janice Murray are two of the 21 community volunteers who have been nominated by local non-profit organizations to be honored at the event. Friends and members of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley will gather on Saturday, April 8 for a buffet brunch, and tickets are available for members of the public as well.

The first 50-year member of the Santa Clarita Valley AAUW (American Association of University Women), Olive “Olly” Bruins has actually been in the non-profit longer than that.

“At University of Maine our dean of women was on the national board of AAUW,” Bruins explained. “When we became seniors she made sure we all got a card to AAUW. … Eventually, I had it in the back of my mind. When I moved to Whittier they had a branch, so I joined.”

After graduation, Bruins taught first in Maine, and then in New York State. When she visited a former classmate in California, she liked it so much she applied for a job – and got it. After teaching in Bellflower and Norwalk, she moved to Santa Clarita and became an instructor at Arroyo Seco Junior High School until a position opened at the high school level. Bruins retired from the English department at Saugus High School after approximately a decade and a half.

At the local chapter of AAUW, she held various positions, including vice-president in charge of membership and was corresponding secretary at least 10 years. “I don’t know how many times I’ve done hospitality,” she said. “I helped out wherever I could.”

Her teaching career kept her busy, but she still found time to contribute. “I believe in everything (AAUW) does because, of course, it’s a very strong advocate for women and girls, and for equality,” Bruins said. “One of the outstanding things we do is to send girls to Tech Trek – that’s such a wonderful program. They go away to various colleges and universities for a week for a program that introduces them to science and math. … And we are, of course, hoping they move into those areas, because let’s face it, that’s where the jobs are.”

Olive Bruins

Janice Murray was nominated for the award by Circle of Hope, a charity dedicated to providing emotional, financial and educational support to those diagnosed with cancer in the Santa Clarita Valley. Murray serves on the executive board of COH.

“My mother and older sister who survived breast cancer are my motivation,” Murray said, “(and) my passion for helping women going through their battle with cancer.”

Working as host of “Non-Profit Spotlight” on KHTS AM-1220, Murray interfaces regularly with many of the charities she has been involved with as a volunteer. She was active at the Canyon Country Pinecrest School for more than eight years, which included chairing the auction/raffle during the Fall Festival, and managing the collection and accounting of all monies for the American Heart Association’s Jump For Heart and Hoops for Heart campaigns.

At Sulphur Springs Community School she read Dr. Seuss stories to first graders during the Read Across America campaign, and she was one of the founding members of the Community Advisory Committee for the development of the College of the Canyons Canyon Country campus, where she is still active.

“My parents and my Catholic upbringing drives my volunteerism!” Murray said. “My family of seven grew up in Watts, and my parents put five children through Catholic school on one salary! I always saw them helping out (and) volunteering at the school (and) church. I grew up with the understanding that we were very blessed and should help others less fortunate than ourselves.”

This is Murray’s first time nominated for the Women in Service award. “I feel so very honored to be among such a group of women much more deserving than me!” she said.

In addition to brunch, the event includes prize drawings, a marketplace featuring vendors whose merchandise supports women’s causes, and presentation of all 21 nominees and their nominating organizations. At the end of the program one of the honorees will be named the 2017 Carmen Sarro Community Service Award winner, representing outstanding service to her organization, to the community as a whole, and to Zonta’s goal of improving the lives of women and girls. The award is named for the late Carmen Sarro, a longtime Zonta member whose wide range of community service epitomized the well-rounded community volunteer.

Janice Murray

Tickets to the event are $45 per person if postmarked and paid before March 20, and $50 thereafter; March 27 is the final reservation deadline. Actual nominees are guests of Zonta. Payment can be made online at www.scvzonta.org/women-in-service or by a check made payable to Zonta Club of SCV Foundation and mailed to event co-chair Mary Ree at the address on the reservation form.

Welcome to
Santa Clarita Free Classifieds!

Free classified ads for SCV.

Use the search box above to find what you need or click here to start selling.

See the Print Version Here

Get the Santa Clarita Gazette sent to your inbox

* indicates required
No announcement available or all announcement expired.