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Soroptimists donate $311,500 over 25 years for teen counseling
Manteca Soroptimists Betty Ingell, left, and Danette Jarred hold a facsimile check for $9,000 at the Tuesday night Manteca Unified Board of Trustees meeting. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

Since 1989, Soroptimist International of Manteca every year has donated thousands of dollars to Manteca Unified School District. To date, the total is $311,500 – and counting.

The service club’s latest donation of $9,000 was presented at the Tuesday night Board of Trustees meeting, with Soroptimist president Danette Jarred and former Manteca Unified employee Betty Ingell presenting the symbolic facsimile check. Representing the club in the presentation as well were former club presidents and current members Dorothy Indelicato and Sharon Cunial.

All the money goes to the club’s marquee project – crisis counseling for at-risk students in the district which is administered through Manteca Unified’s Health Services department. Receiving the check at the board meeting was Health Services Director Caroline Thibodeau, herself a member of the Soroptimist.

“We’re thrilled that Manteca Unified recognizes that there are students who need a lot of support to learn,” said Ingell, Thibodeau’s predecessor as Health Services director, during the presentation.

With the donation from Manteca Soroptimist, the school district can provide additional counseling support for at-risk students especially in the wake of severe budget cuts in recent years that practically decimated the number of counselors on staff. Crime news in recent days involving young children brought home the need for these counseling services for at-risk youth, Thibodeau said before the check presentation. What happens to these students affect everyone in the school district, she said.

Money donated by the service club comes from fund-raisers, notably the group’s annual Holiday Affair in December before Christmas.