The La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) believes in, and raises funds for, the AAUW’s mission of advancing equity and for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research According to Diane Owens, President of AAUW California, in 2019, the AAUW Fund awarded $4 million dollars nationally to 259 women for grants, fellowships, and community projects from donations received from AAUW branches and interest money from endowments.
The AAUW Fund also allocates $100,000 annually to fund and support Legal Advocacy cases for women who are seeking judicial redress for cases such as unequal pay, sexual harassment, and sexual discrimination in the workplace and in educational institutions and activities.
The members of the La Palma-Cerritos AUUW contribute funds annually to the AAUW Fund to support Grants, and Fellowships for graduate women, and to support Legal Advocacy for women and girls. The branch raised funds locally to award scholarships to outstanding women at Cerritos College who plan to attend a college or university, and also raised funds to send middle school girls to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Tech Tek Camps at Whittier College sponsored by AAUW CA during the summer.
Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 virus, Scholarships Awards at Cerritos College and all the Tech Trek Camps in California were cancelled in 2020 and may also be cancelled in 2021. Members are hopeful that scholarships at Cerritos College and Tech Trek Camperships will be awarded in the future. Since the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW members have not been able to have in-person meetings, they have been holding branch and Interest Group meetings though Zoom, with the assistance of Zoom Coordinator, Tobi Balma. Branch members keep mentally stimulated and continue to interact socially through three of the branch’s Interest Groups: Great Decisions, Cover to Cover, and a new Zoom for Fun Members Group.
Great Decisions interest group sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA} and is the oldest organization devoted to education and world affairs. The FPA’s motto is “An informed public is an educated public,” and believes America should not frame foreign policy goals to meet global challenges without citizens knowledgeable in international affairs. With the Great Decisions, the FPA provides an annual national discussion program focusing on eight major foreign policy issues presented in an FPA-prepared book and a DVD and is open to members. There is a fee for the discussion book and the DVD. The Great Decisions group currently meets virtually on the last Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Members who wish to join the group can contact group leader Dorothy Edwards at 714-995-1148 for more information.
Cover to Cover was started over 30 years ago because many members liked to read and discuss and share the books they read with others. At first, the group leader selected books from the best-seller fiction, non-fiction, or biographical books lists. Now, members select the books to read and take charge of the discussions.
The Cover to Cover book discussion group meets on the second Thursday of the month. Group leader Thea Siegel starts the virtual Zoom meetings with social visits at 6:30 p.m. and book discussions at 7:00 p.m. The Cover to Cover group will be discussing The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead in September, and Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson in October. For more information about the Cover to Cover Group and books selected for the remainder of the year, contact group leader Thea Siegel at 562-926-3667.
Zoom for Fun with Members is a new Interest group designed for members to have fun and enjoy just getting to know each other better and share ideas for what they could do during this quarantine period due to the COVID 19 virus. Co-Membership VP’s Joan Flax and Diane Merrick will be in charge of the Zoom for Fun with Members group and will schedule virtual meetings as long as meetings in-person are not allowed. For members who would like to join the Zoom for Fun group, contact Joan Flax at 562-860-0642.
The La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the AAUW invites persons who have an associate or higher degree from an accredited college or university to join the AAUW and welcomes new people to join the branch’s Interest Groups. When in-person gatherings are approved, the branch’s longest existing Gourmet Group for couples will be re-activated with Joan Flax and Gail Ross as group leaders. Interested persons who wish to join the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW can contact Membership Co-VP’s Joan Flax at 562-860-0642 or Diane Merrick at 562-594-4129.