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Soroptimist International - Milton Keynes

Soroptimist International of Milton Keynes is part of a worldwide organisation of women, which is linked to the United Nations.

Welcome to SI Milton Keynes

Our Milton Keynes group is here to take a proactive, practical stance on issues that highlight the particular disadvantages faced by women and girls, locally and internationally. We are the voices of local women having a global impact at the United Nations as one of the few voluntary organisations heard around the world.

Soroptimists International Centenary Celebrations 2021

SI 100 Years Celebrations 2021

Soroptimists across the world are joining together to celebrate 100 years of Soroptimist International (SI) in 2021.

There will be a number of events and ways to celebrate this momentous occasion taking place through out 2021, Click here

We have already started in the UK by celebrating the contributions of over  100 Soroptimists women, past and present, who have made a significant contribution to the society and its aims.  To read more about these women each month click here

We will be updating this section as more celebrations come on line and to also let you know how we in Milton Keynes plan to celebrate the Centenary.

 

Aaliyah Aries – how I cope with Dilated Cardiomyopathy

At our branch meeting this month we were very lucky to here from Aaliyah Aries.  Here is her story.

Aaliyah Aries youth panel member of Dilated Cardiomyopathy panel for young people

I am Aaliyah, I’m 17 years old. I am a second-year level 3 health and social care student and peer educator at Northampton college.

I am also a heart patient, being diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy at 12 years old after a few months of sickness and a few weeks of being extremely unwell. Previously, I lived a normal active life. My illness resulted in me staying in intensive care for a month and taking loads of medication.  My condition means that I will need to receive treatment for the rest of my life and its likely I will require a heart transplant at some unknown point in the future.  This page

contains more information about Dilated Cardiomyopathy: https://www.cardiomyopathy.org/dilated-cardiomyopathy/intro

Through my diagnosis I discovered Cardiomyopathy UK which is a national charity that focuses on heart muscle disease.  The charity put together a youth panel and I was asked to join as a founding member at the age of 14.  The panel is called CYP&YA which stands for Children Young People and Young Adults.  The CYP&YA Panel aims to raise awareness of the condition.  The lack of awareness is a particular problem for young people where heart issues are often dismissed as something else, which can be fatal like it almost was for me in 2015.  For more information about the Cardiomyopathy UK panel, visit this site:

https://www.cardiomyopathy.org/young-people/children-young-people-and-young-adults

Aaliyha Aries crochet rabbit therapyWhile I was in hospital after my diagnosis, one of the intensive care nurses taught me to crochet and I found it really relaxing – I still use art and my creativity as therapy, especially during the times when I struggled with my mental health.

I experience PTSD from the trauma of being faced with my mortality at such a young age. This experience triggered both significant anxiety and intermittent depressive states over the following years.

Over the last 5 years, with the support of my family I have managed to raise thousands of pounds for both Cardiomyopathy UK and Keech Hospice Care.

These 2 charities have done so much to support me during the most difficult times.  I enjoy giving back as much as possible.  Through the Cardiomyopathy youth panel, I provide peer support for other young people who have recently been diagnosed or need someone to talk to about their treatment.  It is essential that the panel provide this peer support because there is nothing better than talking with someone who understands your experiences.

Aaliyha Aries invited to one of the BBC Country file walks for Children in NeedThe Cardiomyopathy UK youth panel have recently started receiving support from BBC Children in Need.  Last year we spoke to a variety of people within the Children in Need team and I was asked to take part in one of their Countryfile Children in Need Rambles in 2019.  This was an amazing experience and helped the charity to raise hundreds of pounds for other young people who are struggling with their day to day life.

I want to continue developing my volunteering and charity work skills in the future and eventually become an art therapist for young people with complex health and wellbeing needs.

We hope you found this interesting and you can also visit her linked in profile (https://www.linkedin.com/in/aaliyah-aries-9490901b2/)

Aaliyha Aries founder member of the Youth Panel for Dilated CardiomyopathyOne of Aaliyah Aries paintings of a lady with pink hair looking up to the skies

 

Quilts presented to YMCA residents

2019 resulted in the achievement of our most significant and biggest project undertaken to-date.  SI:MK raised £2,605 to sponsor a room at the new YMCA facility in Central Milton Keynes and made 30 quilts so that each resident could have their own quilt on their journey back into the community.
At the end of August, after being delayed by Covid-19, the quilt presentation went ahead during a meeting with the residents of supported living and each resident was gifted a quilt.  Lauren, at the YMCA, reported the feedback from the residents has been amazing, huge smiles and interactions with each other.  Apparently there are  room inspections and the quilts are displayed with pride on their beds.
There were a few left and these will be kept for future residents.
YMCA sent us some pictures and thanked SI MK for all our support over the last 12 months.

Picture presented to YMCA to hang in our sponsored room

And during August we were also able to meet up with Anne Rhind, Director of Development at YMCA MK to hand over our picture called Violet, after Violet Richardson who in 1921 founded the Soroptimists movement.  This picture will hang in the room  we have sponsored in the new YMCA facility.  The picture was re digitised by one of the learners from MK Snap.  Below is  Anne Rhind from the YMCA and the picture Violet.

Another successful project completed.

And now we are working on our 2020/21 project supporting MK Act.  To learn more about this click here

SI Milton Keynes Branch raising funds for MK Hospital new cancer unit

Our campaign for 2020-2021 is to address issues around domestic violence

We do this by helping to educate young people to identify when relationships are becoming abusive; we empower women looking to escape or change abusive homes through supporting the preventative, practical advice provided by MK ACT; we enable women to put their lives on a new path by fundraising for new hostel rooms at the YMCA and distributing dignity packs to over 3000 local women through the Red Cross each year. And we fund research to support the work of Works for Us, helping local women back into the workplace.

Join and support us in making Milton Keynes a life-enhancing community for women and girls.

If you are looking for immediate support, please contact our link charities directly – listed here.

Join us at one of our events – download our 2020 calendar

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, our September and October events including our Quiz night on 12 September and the October Sewathon have had to be cancelled.  they will be rescheduled for 2021.  Please keep an eye out for this update.

 

 

Happy 5th birthday

SI MK Chartered 2015

Happy 5th Birthday Milton Keynes!

Soroptimists International Milton Keynes Branch was 5 in June 2020.  We held our birthday branch meeting via Zoom on 16 June, with each of us bringing along a cake and a glass of something to celebrate. Not quite what we had planned this year, but once we are out of lockdown we will make up for it.  To read more about what we have done in those 5 years click here

 

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