It was 32 years ago that a cluster of teen suicides rocked the community. Four promising lives ended in a suicide pact.
The Soroptimists — a collection of business and professional women brought together by the desire to serve the community — stepped up. They made a significant donation to help Manteca Unified secure on-campus counselors from Valley Community Counseling Services.
Support of teen crisis counseling in Manteca schools has become the club’s marquee project. To date, they have contributed more than $340,000 to the effort. It has paid dividends in keeping teens from losing their lives when dark thoughts overwhelm them.
The club presented their latest donation — a $5,000 check — at a recent Manteca Unified School District board meeting.
“Soroptimist International of Manteca is a dynamic group of women who care about making the world a better place for women and girls,” noted Manteca Unified community outreach coordinator Victoria Brunn.
School officials have credited the teen crisis counselors for substantially reducing the potential for young people to make decisions that could result in negative consequences to their academic performance, future career paths, their health and lives.
Helping support the teen counseling services in the schools is just a part of what the service club does.
They provide well over $10,000 in scholarships — including seven $1,000 scholarships that go to each of the district’s five comprehensive high schools and two alternative schools. Support of the teen counseling is No. 2 on their list after scholarships followed by supporting the Boys & Girls Club and then other community endeavors such as the HOPE Family Shelters.
And the help they lend goes beyond money. At least nine times a year club members participate in hands-on projects helping those at the shelters.
The Soroptimists’ biggest fundraiser of the year — a Holiday Affair — takes place at the Bank of Stockton on a Wednesday evening in December. It has become a social tradition in Manteca during the Christmas season since it was started 40 years ago. The $75 ticket covers entry into the drawing as well as finger foods for two guests.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org