Soroptimists fight back against domestic violence

Fifty women in Sequim are making a difference here and around the world.

Soroptimists International of

Sequim, founded in 1947, participates in many aspects of community life as part of its mission to improve the lives of women and girls.

"We wanted more of a signature product," said Rose Jaeger, president of the Sequim group, "because Soroptimists does a lot of things.

"Domestic violence was one that everybody was excited about."

A club survey in May revealed that domestic violence had touched every member, either directly or through a friend or loved one.

The club's monthly meeting programs this year focus on various aspects of the problem, including support for families living in shelter housing, the national "Just Yell Fire" campaign teaching girls to fight back when threatened with assault or abduction, and a panel discussion on human trafficking.

'Enforced exercise'

Jaeger and her husband, Tim, moved to Sequim six years ago and opened Henery's Garden Center. The move signaled a career change for both of them.

"It's nice to have enforced exercise," Jaeger said.

"It's nice to work outside, to build things."

Jaeger worked as a volunteer coordinator for a nonprofit agency that provided transitional housing to homeless families in Puyallup, before moving to Sequim. The work satisfied what Jaeger calls her "caring, nurturing bent."

"It would be nice to see a facility, a shelter for domestic violence victims" in Sequim, she said. In the short term, the club will adopt a shelter family for a year. "We're just getting that off the ground."

'Best for women'

Although she had been active in other service organizations before coming to Sequim, Jaeger said she did not know Soroptimists existed. The international service organization for business and professional women was founded in 1921 and the name means "best for women."

After considering various options during her first year in Sequim, she could see that Soroptimists was doing things she wanted to be involved in.

"If you help women, they can help kids, and if you help kids, they grow up to be better citizens," she said.

The Sequim club sponsors more than $10,000 in scholarships annually, besides recognizing a "Girl of the Month" at Sequim High School. They contribute to CareNet, Girl Scouts, Women of Chiapas, and many other projects and organizations. They operate a free local medical loan closet, providing wheelchairs, bathtub seats, scooters and other supplies to help people with medical needs.

Gala Garden Show

The club's annual Gala Garden Show, held in March at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club, is its primary fundraiser. Club members sell See's Candy during the holidays and year-round at Pacific Mist Books at 121 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

"We have a new event this year," Jaeger said. Just ahead of the holiday rush, on Saturday, Nov. 7, the club will host "Party-Party" featuring more than 20 vendors of goods usually sold at home parties.

More information on Soroptimists can be found on the Sequim club's Web site, or by contacting Rose Jaeger at 681-3507.

Reach Sandra Frykholm at

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