Oak­dale-River­bank-Escalon AAUW Con­tin­ues To Pro­mote Young Women

Escalon Times - - NEWS - By TERESA HAM­MOND tham­mond@oak­dale­leader.com

Com­mu­nity mem­bers of the tri-city area (Oak­dale, River­bank, Escalon) and be­yond have an op­por­tu­nity to spice up their day on Sun­day, Oct. 11and en­joy a lit­tle bit of Cuba.

“This event is our sole source of in­come,” said Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Univer­sity Women Oak­daleRiver­bank-Escalon vet­eran mem­ber Cly­dora Hip­pler.

AAUW ORE branch will host its an­nual fundraiser at the Gene Bianchi Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, Oak­dale, be­gin­ning at 4 p.m. on Oct. 11. Tick­ets are $25 each and pro­ceeds will ben­e­fit the ser­vice club’s Tech Trek Schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents.

Hip­pler de­scribed a Cuban-themed event com­plete with a chef demon­stra­tion of Cuban foods, hors d’oeu­vres, Eth­nic and Cuban danc­ing, as well as silent and live auc­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Tech Trek is a science and math camp hosted each sum­mer on the Fresno State Cam­pus. Each year the ser­vice club se­lects 10 sev­enth grade young women from the three com­mu­ni­ties to at­tend at no ex­pense to the fam­i­lies.

“This one is my baby, I’m most proud of it,” Hip­pler said of the STEM (Science, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math) based sum­mer camp, “be­cause it has turned into some­thing hu­mon­gous with the girls and men­tor­ing.”

Hip­pler has been a mem­ber of the ser­vice group for close to 50 years, cit­ing the group as both di­verse, as well as proac­tive.

“I just clicked with these women,” she said of her early years as a mem­ber. “They’re just su­per, su­per women. They care about peo­ple.”

‘Women em­pow­er­ing women’ an adage and phrase now al­most cliché as it is used on ad cam­paigns, in­spi­ra­tional quotes and song lyrics, yet it is a mis­sion far from new to the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Univer­sity Women.

His­tor­i­cally the group was founded in 1881 by a group of col­lege ed­u­cated women with a goal of en­cour­ag­ing ed­u­ca­tion and eq­uity for women. Close to 80 years later, Oak­dale or­ga­nized its own branch, which later ex­panded to in­clude the cities of River­bank and Escalon. This would be­come AAUW ORE, a ser­vice club of tric­ity women with a com­mon goal of of­fer­ing op­por­tu­nity and bet­ter­ment in young girls’ lives. To date there are 140 branches of AAUW in the state of Cal­i­for­nia alone.

“When I found this branch, I held onto them and haven’t let go since,” Hip­pler said of the friends gained and lives changed since the start of her mem­ber­ship. “We have lots of pas­sion. We’re here to help girls.”

The long term mem­ber also noted the evo­lu­tion of the group from its ini­tial found­ing of Univer­sity-ed­u­cated women to present day.

“Now we take JC grad­u­ates, col­lege stu­dents. We’re very in­clu­sive,” she said of branch mem­ber­ship.

In ad­di­tion to the Tech Trek Math and Science Camp for Girls, the AAUW ORE Branch also par­tic­i­pates in the Eleanor Stem Allen Me­mo­rial Speech Trek con­test. That’s a pro­ject to pro­mote un­der­stand­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion of gen­der-eq­uity is­sues among high school stu­dents. Through re­search and proper prepa­ra­tion the pro­gram pro­motes the value of public speak­ing as a life and lead­er­ship skill.

Ac­cord­ing to branch pub­lic­ity chair­per­son Sharon Haw­ley-Crum, Ph.D., the AAUW ORE Branch awards one $4,000 col­lege schol­ar­ship and one $1,000 Ju­nior Col­lege/Tech­ni­cal Schol­ar­ship each year. High School se­nior Tech Trek alum from the tri-city area are el­i­gi­ble to ap­ply. To date, past re­cip­i­ents have earned de­grees from vary­ing cam­puses in­clud­ing UC Davis, CSU Hum­boldt, CSU Sacra­mento and UOP.

The branch mem­bers also men­tor the Tech Trek re­cip­i­ents through­out their ed­u­ca­tional ca­reer.

“They’ll do any­thing for us and we’ll do it for them,” Hip­pler said. “It’s grown into this. We need to help these girls and then we fol­low them when they’re in col­lege.”

Rec­og­niz­ing the need to ex­pose youth to col­lege cam­puses and op­por­tu­nity early on, the AAUW ORE Branch also of­fers field trips to their Tech Trek re­cip­i­ents. Trips have in­cluded the Sacra­mento State, Fresno State and UC Davis cam­puses.

“Most of our trips are at least 15 girls,” she said. “What­ever cars we need, we put them in them.

“It’s a very big job, but I love ev­ery sec­ond of it.”

PHOTO CON­TRIB­UTED

A rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the mem­bers of the Amer­i­can Univer­sity Women Oak­daleRiver­bank-Escalon Branch. The tri-city branch will host its an­nual fundraiser ben­e­fit­ting

the Tech Trek Science and Math Sum­mer Camp on Sun­day, Oct. 11 at Gene Bianchi Com­mu­nity Cen­ter, Oak­dale. The Cuban themed event be­gins at 4 p.m. Tick­ets are $25

each. For tick­ets call 847-0271.

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