EVANSTON — Soroptomists International of Evanston hosted its 3rd annual Luna Fest at Aspen Cinemas on May 7. Luna Fest is a screening of short films, “By, For, About Women” and is sponsored by Luna Bar. The Luna Bar was created in 1999 by Clif Bar & Co. as the first nutrition bar designed specifically for women. At the same time, the company created Luna Fest.
Soroptomist International has chapters all over the world. Its mission is to improve the lives of women and girls. They have two flagship programs. The Live Your Dream program assists single moms or moms who are the primary caregiver in the home with training: technical or a primary degree from a college. The women receive a stipend ranging from $250 to $1,000, which can be used for anything while they are attending training.
The Evanston chapter has had a very successful program for four years and has seen recipients complete training and graduate.
The Dream It Be It program is a mentorship for girls in middle school and high school. It focuses on helping the individual achieve success and have positive experiences. In Evanston, the local chapter works with girls who are living at YAHA. In fact, some of these girls helped set up the displays for the recent event and also greeted people at the door with free Luna Bars donated by Clif Bar & Co.
Jessica Kendrick, marketing director at Evanston Regional Hospital, has been the fundraising chair for the local chapter for three years. She said she was pleased with the success of this year’s event.
“We broke all our records — attendance, donations and the proceeds,” Kendrick said. “It was very exciting.”
She said all 14 silent auction items, 14 raffle items and the hand-made quilt raffle (won by Nancy Stephenson) were all donated by chapter members and community members. Aspen Cinemas donated two screens and space for the displays. The food was donated by members.
“The goal is for women to have fun and have the opportunity to leave with something,” Kendrick said.
The event raised $3,500 to help local women and girls.
The films gave those in the audience much to ponder. There were nine short films dealing with a variety of issues women and girls face in life. Topics included friendships, loss, death, father-daughter relationships, rape, a 10-year-old girl boxer, the 200-plus young girls stolen by a terrorist group in Nigeria, girls making computer games and a tribute to Lois Weber, a female film director in the 1920s.