May Branch Meeting and WOW program to feature Mercy Ships Nurses by Linda Patterson


Our May Branch program will feature Katie Wolf, R.N., and Mollie Van Parys, R.N., two Sacramento nurses who will talk about their volunteer efforts with Mercy Ships in Madagascar. Mercy Ships is an international charity operating a hospital ship that provides free lifesaving surgeries for people who live in places where medical care is nearly non-existent.

In Madagascar, access to medical care is beyond the reach of many people. In addition to the high expense of medical care relative to the average Malagasy income, the prevalence of trained medical professionals remains extremely low. In 2010, Madagascar had an average of three hospital beds per 10,000 people and a total of 3,150 doctors, 5,661 nurses, 385 community health workers, 175 pharmacists and 57 dentists for a population of 22 million people.

Currently at port in Madagascar, Mercy Ships provides extensive surgeries, outpatient care, hospice services, and agricultural and healthcare education for the community.

Katie Wolf works as a Burn ICU nurse at the UC Davis Medical Center and volunteered as an ICU nurse on the ship in March-April 2015.  Mollie Van Parys is a Preop/PACU nurse with Greater Sacramento Surgery Center and volunteered as a PACU nurse on the ship in November-December 2015. Mollie and Katie will be discussing not only their volunteer experience but sharing some prominent issues for the women of Madagascar.

Come join us on May 7, 2016 at 2 p.m. at the Rancho Cordova Library, 9845 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento, to learn about Mercy Ships and Madagascar from these local nurses.

To register for free, visit EventBrite by clicking the orange Register Now button

Eventbrite - AAUW Sacramento May Branch Meeting & WOW Presents Mercy Ships Nurses

or send an email to Dawn Boyd at

Also on the program is the Installation of the Sacramento Branch Board of Directors for 2016-17.

President’s Message by Nancy McCabe

President Nancy McCabe

President Nancy McCabe

I attended the California State AAUW Convention in mid-April and received lots of good information. As there were four workshops given at four different times, I could only learn so much! I attended two workshops on leadership, one on program, and one on membership. Certainly the largest take away from the membership workshop is that it growing membership is the responsibility of all members, not just the membership chairs. There are so many opportunities that each of us has to meet potential members in the course of our daily lives. Do you belong to a religious organization? An alumni association? A civic group? A neighborhood association? Have neighbors? Have family?

One way to introduce AAUW to potential members is by telling them that it is the oldest women’s empowerment association in the country. Tell them what we are, not what we are not. Time and attention span is wasted going into how we aren’t all university professors. Probably anyone who knows me wouldn’t have to ask that! Talk about Speech Trek and how that promotes leadership skills. Tech Trek introduces 13-year-old girls to STEM occupations and the possibility of attending college. This is actually life changing. We give college scholarships to women ages 25 and older who need financial assistance in order to complete college. Our national organization awards grants and fellowships to women to enable them to complete degrees and advance their careers or reenter the workforce. AAUW provides nearly $4 million in funding each year to women scholars and community projects that benefit girls and women. Since 1888, we’ve awarded more than $100 million to these women.

How can you not be totally proud of what each of us contributes to and want to share this information with other women? Invite a friend to a meeting and point out that membership is a bargain if she joins at that meeting. Who can resist a bargain?


Challenges to Our Voting Rights by Jo Reiken

voting rightsIn 2016, 17 states will have new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election, ranging from new strict photo ID requirements and early voting cutbacks to voter registration restrictions.

This came about as a result of the 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby County v Holden, which found Section 4(b) of the 1965 Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act required pre-clearance measures for 15 states with a history of discrimination against minority voters, which required federal approval of any voting rule changes in these states. Section 4(b) of the VRA specifically named the 15 states that were subject to the requirements of Section 5. The Supreme Court held that although the constraints made sense in the 1960s and 1970s, Section 4(b) imposes burdens that are no longer responsive to the current voting conditions in the 15 named states.

As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, states can now pass controversial voting rights changes without federal government oversight. Of the 15 states named in Section 4(b) of the VRA, at least nine of these states have now enacted stricter voting rights laws saying these new restrictions are necessary to reduce the risk of voter fraud, (statistics show there is virtually no risk of voter fraud as only one in 5 million votes have been found to be fraudulently cast) or to save money.

Opponents to these new laws feel the tighter voting requirements are intentionally directed at minorities, voters of lower income and those living in rural areas. There are also longer voting lines, which leads to lower voter turnout. Of the 11 states with the highest African American voter turnout in 2008, seven states have new voter restrictions in place. Of the 12 states with the largest Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010, nine states passed laws making it harder to vote.

In 2015, Congress introduced the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015, which would once again require states with a history of voting discrimination to get advanced federal government approval for voting changes they propose to make. This bill is still pending.

Congratulations to our 2015 Branch Named Gift Honorees! by Marty McKnew & Donna Holmes

For all that you do for our branch

For all that you do for our branch

In December 2012, we established the Sacramento Branch 100th Anniversary Research & Project Grant. Since then, six members have supported the grant each year, helping us reach over 50 percent of our goal by December 2015. Marty and I are two of the six. The other four, with board approval, are being honored for their consistent support. Rather than tell you about these wonderful ladies, we choose to interview them about the grant.

Our winners are Kathleen Asay, Marilyn Orrick, Hedda Smithson and Gloria Yost.

This year you are being honored as a named gift recipient because of your annual support of the Sacramento Branch 100th Anniversary R & P Grant since its inception. Will you tell us why you made this a part of your charitable giving each year?

Kathy: “I have always supported AAUW Funds since I became a member and particularly appreciate the opportunity to support a fund that honors the branch and people I know. I was Funds Director in Fullerton and started a Research & Project grant for Fullerton’s 50 year anniversary, completed long ago.”

Marilyn: “I think it is important to the aims and goals of this organization.”

Hedda: “Because I can and because AAUW changed my life. One example is my book group. We read and discuss the coolest books that I would not have read otherwise.”

Gloria: “Because I believe in the AAUW mission of helping women and girls.”

How important is this anniversary to our Branch and to you?

Kathy: “Very significant to me in that it says AAUW has been here, not just on the East Coast, serving members and the community for a long time.”

Marilyn: “The 100th anniversary is a very significant number. It signifies that this branch is a sustainable and vital contributing part of our community.”

Hedda: “Having been involved with presentations about history, I feel we need to celebrate. I remember hearing about and seeing in the history center old directories where the members were listed by their husband’s names, e.g., Mrs. Thomas Smithson – the woman’s name was not mentioned!”

Gloria: “Our branch’s 100th anniversary is a milestone we should be proud of and celebrate.”

What do you feel has been your most important contribution to the branch during your time as a member?

Kathy: “Starting the couples dining out group, now in its ninth year. I chaired the first six years. It’s been great for getting to know other members and their husbands. I also believe in going to branch meetings.”

Marilyn: “I used to be on the leadership training team for the State (2 or 3 to a team). We traveled to branches and provided leadership training specifically tailored to the branch needs. Self discovery was a big part of it.”

Hedda: “Being president more than once, helping and advising as needed. I am a support person for whatever is happening now.”

Gloria: “My willingness to take a leadership role.” (Editorial comment: This is so true!)

MEMBERSHIP MATTERS by Shirley Wheeler and Pat Winkle, Membership Co-Directors

Please join us in welcoming the following new AAUW members:

NANCY CORNELIUS has been a national member of AAUW. She received her BA in Journalism and her MS in Education (Counseling) from California State University, Sacramento. She works part-time managing a real estate property. Nancy lives in Sacramento.

MARIA VASQUEZ is an e-student affiliate of our branch. She attends California State University, Sacramento, where she is majoring in Civil Engineering. Maria also works part-time for the California Energy Commission as a student assistant.


Please renew your AAUW annual dues by June 1.

Remember, everyone is on the Membership Committee. Refer a friend today!

Tech Trek Receives Soroptimist Grant by Izzy Brookshire

The Soroptimists of North Sacramento have awarded the Sacramento AAUW Branch an $850 scholarship grant for one of our “Trekkers” to attend camp this summer. The organization is made up of professional women who encourage other women in their careers. The North Sacramento chapter awards small grants each year that fall within their mission of helping women and girls. We are grateful for their support and see this as another partnership with organizations in the community. One of our newest members, Jo Reiken, who has a history of working with Tech Trek, represented us at the Soroptimist awards luncheon last month and spoke on behalf of our branch and the program. Thank you, Jo!

Exploring Our Interest Groups-Fun and Games by Cherril Peabody

All dressed for board games fun! Dawn Boyd, Lisa Carpenter, Nanette Ng, Alice Bauer

All dressed for board games fun! Dawn Boyd, Lisa Carpenter, Nanette Ng, Alice Bauer

Our AAUW branch members like to play games!  We have five interest groups that feature games of various kinds. Two of the groups play board games, another plays Scrabble, and two others play Bridge.

Anne Rhodes is the chair of the two board game groups. One meets in the afternoon and the other meets in the evening, both at her home.  Spouses and significant others are welcome to participate in these groups. Both groups would welcome new members. For more information, contact Anne at or 916-692-5075.

Vivian Counts chairs the Scrabble group, which meets at her home on the last Monday afternoon of the month. Attendees play one or two other players, so there are usually several games going on at once. More Scrabble players would be welcome in this group, too. To find out more about it, contact Vivian at or 916-483-8827.

The Bridge for Fun group is chaired by Jane Reinmuth. The members meet on the first Tuesday afternoon of each month. Margot Leidig chairs the Chicago Bridge group, which meets on the fourth Wednesday morning of the month. Neither group has any openings currently for regular players.

Annual Authors Luncheon on April 30, 2016 by Linda Patterson

“The Perils and Pleasures of a Writing Life”
Featuring Guest Speaker Marilyn Reynolds

April 30, 2016, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Frasinetti’s Winery and Restaurant
7395 Frasinetti Road, Sacramento

Wine Tasting & Check-in 11 AM – 11:30 AM
Lunch Served at 11:30 AM
$24.00 per person (additional service fee if registering online here with EventBrite).
Eventbrite - AAUW Sacramento 2016 Authors Luncheon with Marilyn Reynolds

As an English teacher and reading specialist working with teens in crises at a southern California

Writer Marilyn Reynolds

Writer Marilyn Reynolds

alternative high school, Marilyn Reynolds had difficulty finding books that interested her at-risk students. Why not try writing something they might actually want to read? Her efforts ultimately led to the ten popular books of realistic teen fiction that now comprise the “True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High.” Reynolds is also the author of a book for educators, I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers, which is based on her thirty years of classroom experiences. Her most recent book is a collection of essays, Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH. She remains actively involved with at-risk teens by writing with incarcerated youth, and through author visits with middle and high school students. She also provides teacher training workshops and is often a featured speaker at education-related conferences. Reynolds lives a quiet life in Sacramento, near the American River. She is currently at work on Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part, and also on Over 80 and I Don’t Mean MPH.

Buffet Lunch includes salad, chicken marsala, rigatoni pasta with red meat sauce, vegetarian penne pasta, seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit, baguettes, rolls, coffee and tea.
Reserve online  via the orange “Register Now” button or by sending a check made out to AAUW Sacramento to Dawn Boyd.  Please contact her at for the address.

Reservations are due April 25, 2016


Exploring Our Interest Groups: Travel by Cherril Peabody

Travel is one of our newer interest groups, which started two years ago. Sandi Schoenman is chair of the group. They organize trips together and share information about other trips they have taken. They meet on the second Tuesday morning of the month.

travelRecently, five members of the group took a six-day trip to Los Angeles for a Road Scholar program, “Artist Collectors and Their Collections,” and Sandi reports that it was a great trip and very educational. This month, six members are going on a trip to Savannah, Charleston and Jekyll Island, again with Road Scholar. Five members are planning a trip to Seattle in September.

The group is still taking new members because the group is somewhat fluid with some members always away traveling. For more information, contact Sandi at