About Soroptimist International

“Improving The Lives Of Women And Girls In Local Communities And Throughout The World.”

YWCA 2019 Women of Distinction nominees. Soroptimists are in the middle row, 3rd, 4th and 5th from the right: Helen Otrosina, Marion Cavasin and Pat McNeice.

What Is Soroptimist International?

The word Soroptimist was coined from two Latin words, “soror” and “optima” which loosely translates as “best for women”.

The organization was started in Oakland, California, in 1921.

Today Soroptimist International headquarters are located in Cambridge, England and is comprised of four federations with approximately 100,000 members in about 120 countries.

Who Is A Soroptimist?

Soroptimists are women of all ages, professions, cultures and ethnic groups.

The common thread that connects all Soroptimists is their desire to make a difference for others through volunteer service.

The Soroptimist International of


Our club was chartered on November 3, 1979 with 32 members joining, under the name of Soroptimist International of Hamilton-Wentworth. S.I. Toronto was our sponsor. The ceremony was held at the Faculty Club of McMaster University.

We meet and work

We meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 4:30 PM on Zoom during the Pandemic

Meeting before the pandemic

Meeting during the pandemic

A Welcome from our President

Welcome! Thank you for visiting our site! Our group is made up of women from Hamilton, Burlington and the surrounding areas. Ultimately, our goal as a volunteer organization is to make a difference in the lives of women and girls who face challenges as they strive to improve their lives and that of their family through education. Each year and with that purpose, we have organized fundraising events such as the Hamilton Public Library Book Sale or the Toonie Auction. The proceeds from these events have enabled us to fund programs and initiatives relating to our mandate. Being a member of Soroptimist also offers the benefits of friendship and personal fulfilment. We gratefully accept donations which are tax deductible, as we are a charitable organisation. We hope to see you soon – at a meeting or at one of our events throughout the year

– Danielle McKirgan

Our Purpose

We are committed to do what we can to improve the lives of women and girls in our community and around the world.

Soroptimist International of Hamilton-Burlington

was chartered on November 3, 1979. We are one of several clubs within Eastern Canada Region and part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, the largest of the four federations within Soroptimist International.

We work in committees to create programs, provide grants and organize fundraisers with the goal of helping women and girls in our local community of Hamilton and Burlington. We achieve this by supporting the following programs and organisations: Live your Dream (LYD), Education and Training Awards for Women, which is also our signature program; Young Women Empowered (YWE); Regina’s Place of Good Shepherd Hamilton; City Kidz Hamilton; Out of the Cold; Hamilton Public Library Summer Reading, and Carole Anne’s Place of YWCA . We also help internationally alongside the Stephen Lewis Foundation, Umoyo Girls School in Africa. We are committed to equality, social justice, and inclusiveness in the workplace and in society in general, to ending domestic violence, stopping human trafficking, and preserving our environment.

More About Us

You can find more information about our history, our activities, our values:

From our PowerPoint: Click Here to Download
From our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoroptimistInternationalOfHamiltonBurlington/
SI Hamilton-Burlington is part of the Eastern Canada Region (ECR), https://www.ecsoroptimist.org/)
under the umbrella of SI of the Americas (SIA), https://www.soroptimistinternational.org/about-us/our-federations/sia


Who Are We?

We are women from the community. We come from different professions and backgrounds, but we are united in our commitment to the well being of women and girls.

Our Pledge

We are Soroptimist committed to the sincerity of friendship, the joy of achievement, the dignity of service, the integrity of profession, the love of country. We will put forth our greatest efforts to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.

Contact Us

Meetings for our club are held on the second Wednesday of each month. During the Pandemic, meetings continue to take place, albeit on ZOOM.

Our Board And Our Responsibilities

Danielle McKirgan

–President, Public Awareness

Theresa Randles

–Past President, Membership, Live Your Dream Awards, Advisor, Partnerships

Margaret MacRae

–Past-president, Program co-chair, Events, Advisor

Pat McNeice

–Program co-chair, President’s Appeal, International Communication, Midwifery Program.

Deborah Polkinghorn

–Treasurer, Fundraising Chair, Events.

Maroussia Ahmed

–Recording secretary, Community relations, Website updates

Helen Otrosina

–Secretary, Archives, Coordinator of meetings,Events

Sylvia Thomson

–Goodwill & Fellowship, Events

Millie Panton

–International Communications, Advisor

Trisha Gunpath

–Facebook Design and Maintenance, Canada Help Fundraising

Doreen Horbach

–Events, Fundraising, Advisor

Marion Cavassin

–Communications, Advisor

Marilyn Husted


Carol French



Networking and partnering with community-based organisations and internationally

Our members participate in community events and give presentations to various clubs and organisations to bring awareness about SI Hamilton-Burlington, share information and establish collaborative linkages.

In October 2018 and 2019 Maroussia Ahmed held an information booth on SI Hamilton-Burlington at the annual Gandhi Peace Festival.

Maroussia Ahmed at the Gandhi Peace Festival with Noelie Sankara’s, a supporter.

In 2018, Pat McNeice visited our SI twin club in Fukuyama, Japan, and met with a Soroptimist leader, Noriko Grace Doi..
In February 2019 , Margaret McRrea and Theresa Randles gave a talk to the Rotary Club of Burlington at the Burlington library.
In 2019, Mary Anne Peters, Coordinator, Programs for Newcomers, Community Partnerships and Learning, and Zarema Mammadova, Newcomers Employment Advisor, Mohawk College, invited then President Theresa Randles to talk about our club.
In August 2019, SI Hamilton-Burlington organized a community information meeting in Maroussia’s home. A pot luck dinner was shared with invited community representatives:

An evening of exchange with community leaders

Sarah Wayland, a Senior Project Manager represented the  Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council..http://www.hamiltonimmigration.ca/contact-us

– Rosemary Aswani, represented the Immigrant Working Center (formerly the Immigrant Women’s Centre) “IWC is a leader in providing settlement services in Hamilton, welcoming new Canadians and supporting their full social, civic and economic participation in their new city”.https://iwchamilton.ca/about/

– Leo Johnson and Joana Fejzaj represented Empowerment Squared “At Empowerment Squared, our commitment is to ensure that marginalized, newcomer, and refugee youth are given the opportunity to succeed in school regardless of their past experiences and family’s economic status”. https://empowermentsquared.org/about-us/

Maroussia Ahmed’s sent a letter to SI America (SIA) about anti-Black racism, which also affects women and girls, quoting Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Her letter was posted on the SIA Facebook. Maya Angelou :“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud. Do not complain. Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution. I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other human beings”. Toni Morrison: “There is no such thing as race. None. There is just a human race – scientifically, anthropologically. Racism is a construct, a social construct… it has a social function, racism”.

Participation at Local and International Conferences (Spring Conference, ECR Spring and Fall conferences, Leadership conferences, SI Quadrennial International Convention in  Kuala Lumpur )

Whenever possible, delegates from our club participate in local and international SI conferences

In July 2019, Millie Panton participated in the Kuala Lumpur Soroptimist Quadrennial International Convention . Upon her return, she shared gifts with our members and reported on her exciting experience.

The next international gathering of SI will take place in Dublin in 2022. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=431472817439536

In 2019, Past President Theresa attended the Leadership event at the Conestoga College in Kitchener-Waterloo

In 2020 , President Danielle McKirgan attended the ECR Spring conference via Zoom

In December 2018Pat McNeice informed us that the money collected for the President’s Appeal, went towards the funding of the program Women, Water, Leadership, in Bulgaria, Malaysia and Kenya.

In the Media…

In 2019, Pat McNeice  sent the  article published in the Hamilton Community Foundation Legacy on SI Hamilton-Burlington to the SI magazine “Best for Women”(LINK) Best for Women E-Newsletter – soroptimist.org

“Best for Women serves as the organization’s fully digital e-newsletter and is the primary communication vehicle for members. It includes communication from leadership, things to know, Dream Program information and more! Each issue is sent to all members in their respective language.”


In 2020, Danielle McKirgan’s letter to the editor was published in the Hamilton Spectator , emphasizing our contribution to the well- being of young mothers and their children in the Young Women Empowered program from the Good Shepherd Regina’s Place


Achievements :

Every year, members select the meaningful contribution of a “Soroptimist of the Year”.

Soroptimists of the year Theresa Randles is congratulated by past recipient Margaret MacRae.

Making friends while helping others! Doreen, Deborah and Faye

On the occasion of her 80th birthday and long years of service to SI Hamilton-Burlington, Marion Cavasin presented Millie Panton with a gift from Soroptimist International. Pat McNeice and Helen Otrosina congratulated her on behalf of our club.

Awards and Citations

YWCA 2019 Women of Distinction nominees. Soroptimists are in the middle row, 3rd, 4th and 5th from the right: Helen Otrosina, Marion Cavasin and Pat McNeice.

2019,  YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. SI Hamilton-Burlington  was proud to be nominated. Pat McNeice, Marion Cavassin and Helen Otrosina represented our club at the ceremony (Row 2: 3rd, 4th and 5th).

A letter of congratulations sent by Mayor Eisenberger on the occasion of our club’s  nomination was forwarded to Pat Mc Neice

Close to 70 women are being recognized for their contributions to the community by the YWCA Hamilton. The 66 women and seven local businesses — in nine award categories — were honoured Thursday evening during a reception at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

“The Women of Distinction Awards are nationally recognized as one of the most prestigious awards for women. YWCAs from across Canada join in the celebration each year, honouring the achievements of women across the country,” the organization said in a press release. https://www.thespec.com//news/hamilton-region/2019/01/24/hamilton-s-women-of-distinction-nominees-announced.html 

On December 12 2019, Good Shepherd’s  Chief Development Officer, presented a plaque to SI Hamilton-Burlington in recognition of its generous contributions over the years. President Theresa Randles gratefully accepted the plaque on behalf of the club.


YWCA 2019 Women of Distinction nominees. Soroptimists are in the middle row, 3rd, 4th and 5th from the right: Helen Otrosina, Marion Cavasin and Pat McNeice.

Making friends while helping others! Doreen, Deborah and Faye.

Are You Interested In Helping Or Joining Soroptimist International Of Hamilton-Burlington?

If you are interested in becoming a member or a supporter of the Soroptimist International of Hamilton-Burlington, information is available by emailing: sihamilton.burlington@soroptimist.net You can also fill a short form to indicate the level of participation you wish to offer, and send it as an attachment to the above address:


S. I. Hamilton-Burlington
P.O. Box 89013 
Westdale Shopper’s Drug Mart
991 King St W
Hamilton, ON L8S 1K9
Email: sihamilton.burlington@soroptimist.net