The girls who participated in the first Every Girl Counts in a couple of years hold up the stockings they decorated for residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility at MCH. The Soroptimists were all smiles after a successful meeting. (Photo by Mary-Justine Lanyon)
SOROPTIMISTS INTERNATIONAL RIM OF THE WORLD
Decorated stockings will bring holiday cheer to residents
By Mary-Justine Lanyon
After a hiatus of more than two years forced by the pandemic, members of Soroptimists International Rim of the World (SIROW) were able to meet with girls at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School for their Every Girl Counts program.
Eleven years ago, SIROW members introduced the leadership program Every Girl Counts at MPH. The goal was to help sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls “learn more about themselves, help in building community awareness, discuss coming of age issues, prepare for high school and help them stay focused on a positive path for the rest of their lives.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 30, seven SIROW members met with nine sixth- and seventh-grade girls.
“We like to have fun,” coordinator Elaine Tipton told the girls, “work on projects, have fun, eat good food, have fun.”
Before they started on that day’s project, the girls enjoyed some pizza while they heard about two famous women: Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, an activist for education and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate; and Amelia Earhart, who was a trail blazer as there were not many women pilots when she took to the air.
Their project was to decorate stockings for residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility at Mountains Community Hospital. Each stocking already had a resident’s name written on it. The girls applied holiday-themed stickers and then filled gift bags with items the residents had asked to receive – body wash, socks, deodorant, combs and brushes, lip balm, playing cards, lotion, tea, cookies and little plush animals.
Cheri Altmeyer, the activities director at the SNF, had given the residents a list of possible items and the residents circled what they wanted.
The girls were then free to make beaded bracelets for themselves. Some of the beads had letters on them so the girls spelled out things like “Be Kind,” “Hope” and “Smile.”
As this session of Every Girl Counts came to an end, Tipton told the girls she can’t wait to see the residents’ faces when they get these gifts.
“You’ve made their holiday special,” she said.
Future topics to be covered at Every Girl Counts will include safety, Healthy Me (dealing with stress, yoga, hygiene) and high school prep.
The Soroptimists hope more girls at MPH will join them. Applications, which must be signed by a parent or guardian, are available in the school office and at the security desk.