Monday, August 19, 2002

SOROPTIMISTS EXPLOIT CHIMPANZEE AND AUCTION PUPPY FOR CHARITY

American Beauty of a Fund-raiser
Soroptimists display national pride and raise money for SCV charities
8/18/2002
Diana Sevanian Vitality Editor

[Photo] Don Fleming escorts Bella the Chimp to annual Soroptimist Auction

The spirit of patriotism and philanthropy filled the Valencia Hyatt on Aug. 10 when Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita held their 27th Annual Charity Auction, “Spirit of America.” Approximately $75,000 was raised, funds that will have a positive impact on many citizens of this community....

Chartered in 1974, Soroptimist International of Santa Clarita is part of Soroptimist International, a world-wide organization comprised of professional businesswomen from a variety of vocations, all united through service projects designed to advance human rights and the status of women....

To assuage the audience for [Astronaut Buzz] Aldrin’s absence, another “astronaut” was sent in his place — an aluminum cloth-suited chimpanzee named Bella. Escorted into the ballroom by Don Fleming and playfully touted as the first chimp in space, the friendly, affectionate primate is actually a trained gal who works in the entertainment field and has never been to the outer limits. Celebrated space traveler or not, the chimp was a hit with the crowd and even shared a few kisses with Soroptimist Monika Bucknall and attendee Charlotte Kleeman.
“I have always wanted to kiss a monkey!” shouted an exuberant Kleeman. “This is wonderful! I kissed a camel in Israel and now this!”...

It was puppy love at first sight when Joel and Judy Cox saw the eight-week-old lab go up for bid (donated by veterinarian Dr. Lisa Pope, a Friend of Soroptimist). When their tidy bid of $1,350 bought the adorable pooch, they swiftly named her “Liberty.” (How appropriate for having adopted her at “Spirit of America!)

... Members of Soroptimist adhere to the conviction that by joining other women and engaging in awareness, advocacy and action in the service of their community and society, they can make the world a better place for humankind. Soroptimist clubs promote health, education, environmental consciousness, economic and social development, and international goodwill and understanding....