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Women Supporting Women
Sarah Lawson

Soroptimist International of Oakdale, also known as SIO, is a big part of my life. A month ago, I passed the one-year mark since joining this inspiring organization and I have loved every minute of it. But this past week I got the amazing opportunity of being installed as a new board member for the first time. We had this beautiful installation luncheon where we got to do the installation ceremony for the next set of board members as well as the president elect, vice president and president for the next fiscal year which, for us, starts in July.

I never thought that I would have the chance to join the board since I barely passed my one-year mark, but I think around January I had the thought that I really wanted to help in more ways than one and dive in deeper to the Soroptimist world. I am so excited to see what I can bring to the board as we round the corner into a new year.

What really locked in the deal for me was attending my first Soroptimist International conference in the beginning of June for three days in Visalia. Including myself, we had 10 members from SI Oakdale go and it was eye-opening. I got to learn so much more about what Soroptimist is and meet other club members from all over California. Not only did I get a better understanding of the organization, but I also got to be part of a panel for one of the breakout sessions. Fellow Soroptimist member Kayleigh Gilbert and I got to be two out of the four people on the panel, representing some of the next generation members from Oakdale, and were joined by two awesome ladies, Jodi and Erin, who were there representing SI Amador County and SI Silicon Valley. The conference was so fun; I cannot wait until next year. Making new friends, listening to guest speakers and just growing a deeper bond with my fellow SIO members was something that I will never forget.

When I came back from that conference, I knew that I was 100 percent ready to present my interest in taking a seat on the board. And now that my seat is official, I am so excited to see what this year has in store.

Sadly, before joining SIO, I did not really know what Soroptimist was and now that I do, I wish that I had known about it way sooner. I feel like everyone should know what SIO is and all they do for the community. The group is so important to not only the community but to other women who are trying to find their way through life and maybe don’t have that supporting pack of other women to back them up. It is a family; it is a group of people that have been through all stages of life that will support you, have your back and be there for you through it all. I love each member of SIO and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Besides this column being about my experience with SIO I want to just make sure that I add, if there are any women who are reading this, and are feeling lost on their path of life or maybe just want a place to belong, please know that you are not alone and I want to encourage you to reach out and come to an SIO meeting as a guest and see what we are all about. We would love to have you join us.

I hope everyone is having a good week and I want to remind you that you matter, you are special, you have a purpose, you are light and most importantly you are loved.


Sarah Lawson is a former staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to contribute a regular column.