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Up to the task

by Donna Sealy

Tammy Bryan (centre front row) with other club members.

Tammy Bryan (centre front row) with other club members.

If you ask Tammy Bryan why she likes Soroptimist International make sure you have more than a minute.

No, she will not talk your ears off, but it is hard to miss the commitment and the interest resonating in her voice.

Tammy is the President of Soroptimist International, a position she took up earlier this month and she is up to the task.

“One of the things that I really like about it is the sisterhood. As a result of being a member of my club I have made fabulous friends of all ages, women who are like sisters to me, women who are like mothers to me and who are almost like daughters to me,” she said before bursting into laughing.

“That’s one of the fantastic things about it,” she said in an interview with Barbados TODAY.

Like other career women, Tammy said you have to find the balance between family life and being part of a voluntary organisation, It is not the easiest task but she tries.

She is heartened by the effect that their work has on people.

The members of the club mentor the wards of the Government Industrial School at Barrow’s in St. Lucy which is something that most of the young girls enjoy.

That project is called Project Horizon.

“They will tell you how much they appreciate the fact that you come to spend two hours with them on a Saturday or when we do a Christmas party and give them gifts. The effect that has, to know that you’ve made someone happy and that you’ve touched another person’s life and it really hasn’t taken much from you.

“It’s the giving back and the fact that we can provide accommodation to seniors in our community and they don’t have to worry about whether they can pay their rent next month or not because the amount is not market value, it’s a manageable amount in terms of their pension.

“…[It is the fact that] you can provide activities where seniors can come on a daily basis, have a meal, do some exercising, interact with other seniors and go back home and not be a burden on anyone. They get out of the house and they’re still active, they can do a course. Knowing that I’m a part of all of that, that’s what I really like,” Tammy said.

The activities she mentioned are done at the Hildegarde Weekes Activity Centre which is a part of the Soroptimist Village in Eden Lodge, St. Michael.

She is passionate about the seniors and their well being and believes that they must cared for and not shunted aside.

It was Madam Justice Jacqueline Cornelius who introduced her to Soroptimistism. She recalled being taken to a membership meeting where prospective members learn more about it and are interviewed to determine their worthiness.

“They were retirees, some mature women, one or two young ones and the reason for that traditionally is that women who were at the top of their profession became members of the Soroptimist Club.

“By the time woman reach the top of their profession, they are advanced in age, not as in 70 or 80, back then you tended to find them over 50. Society has changed since then and our club has changed. When you look at the membership profile of our club, you will see a much younger woman,” she said.

She explained there was a practical reason for the age of the club and noted that today it was a good mix.

Even though they are “always trying to get members” the president said she didn’t want numbers, but people who were willing to work hard.

The Purple Tear Project of the club is dear to all members as they seek to raise awareness about human trafficking and domestic violence. They also focus on the rights – protection and securing – of women and girls.

Every third Monday in the month, you can find Tammy calling her club to order.

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