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Soroptimists celebrate 40 years in Marysville


Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON Recipients of award recognition or scholarships at the Marysville Soroptimists award dinner on May 8. From left, Ruby Award winner Wendy Grove, Living Your Dreams recipients Sandi Lee, Teresa Ray Sanders, Fay Samiei and Violet Richardson Award winner Mahek Sharma.

The Soroptimist Club of Marysville celebrated 40 years in the city working to benefit local women and girls during their May 8 awards dinner.

Past and current members gathered at the Marysville Opera House to talk about the club and its work.

Soroptimist is an international service club whose primary goal is to benefit women.

The Marysville club does that in a variety of ways.

Current Soroptimist member Maude Bennett, who has been a member since 1982, remembers projects in her early days like helping to sponsor a D.A.R.E. counselor for local schools and being involved in Marysville Parks and Recreation projects.

The scholarship program is also something that the Soroptimists have held for many decades now.

"In 1984 I remember we gave three $500 scholarships to girls who were graduating, so you can see how much that has changed from now," said Bennett.

Last year the club gave out 11 $1,500 scholarships.

Nancy Schaut, a current member of the club, was one of the early recipients of those scholarships.

"When I was in high school and I was getting ready to go to college, I applied for a scholarship from Soroptimist," she said.

"I was awarded a scholarship, so I've been a huge fan of Soroptimist for at least 30 years," she said.

Members also tried to help during their meetings by collecting donations for clothes banks or other programs there.

"Even if we're at our social events we're still actively doing something for the community, which I think is great," said Rosie Reynaud, a current Soroptimist member.

Club members give their time, as well, in a number of projects.

Reynaud remembered a pen pal program that the club used to participate in.

"We were assigned a child at Liberty school and they would read a book and then write a letter discussing that book," Reynaud said.

"It was neat helping them enjoy reading," she said.

Volunteer opportunities are a big part of the club.

"The thing that struck me right away about Soroptimists is that it is a connector to all the volunteer opportunities in the Marysville area and greater I-5 corridor," said Carolyn Clark, who has been with the Soroptimists for five years.

Clark said she has enjoyed helping build a mentoring program at Cedarcrest Middle School for at-risk middle school girls.

"During that time they formed close bonds and gave these girls a safe place to share their dreams, their joys, their disappointments and fears, and it turned out to be a really meaningful time for the girls," she said.

They've partnered with the YMCA to expand the program and are looking to bring it elsewhere if possible.

"We have had requests by school counselors and parents to start another group at Marysville Middle School, as well as one at the high school," said Clark.

Adelaide El Zein is a recent addition to the Marysville club, but has also enjoyed her time there.

"I joined last year. I had never heard of Soroptimists before," she said.

"I'm new to the area and wanted to start getting involved in the community and start making friends. This has been a great year and so far I have been able to do both of those," she said.

Alice Demmig is a former Marysville Soroptimist member and one of the charter members.

"It has changed a lot, but I have truly enjoyed being a Soroptimist. At this point in time I am no longer a member, but it has always been a very good club," she said.

The club began 40 years ago when the Everett Soroptimist Club wanted to sponsor a new club in Marysville.

"They decided to sponsor a club in Marysville so their senior members were running around Marysville trying to get members," said Demmig.

She said it was a struggle to get the new club off the ground.

"Our first meeting, as I remember, was in the Moose Lodge and the Moose Lodge was really not a good place for ladies, between the cigarette smell and the booze from the night before," she joked.

Fundraising was one of the tougher projects to get rolling, said Demmig.

"I know that when the club first started they were selling fruitcakes. Well, we've come a long way from fruitcakes," said Foy Cordner, current member for the club.

Cordner said that the Soroptimists have done a variety of activities including craft shows and selling candy.

Currently their biggest fundraiser tends to be their October auction.

"It's just a really fun evening for everyone and people get to walk away with some great stuff while supporting our programs," said Schaut.

Schaut said the auction grew over the years to the point it had outgrown its original location.

"I couldn't believe how the ladies fit all the stuff and people into that area," she said. "We outgrew that venue and have been at the Medallion Hotel ever since."

For more information about the local club go to their new website at or their Facebook page at


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