Branch History

In 1960, thirty-one women, most of them young moms, joined forces to form a new branch of AAUW. On May 10, the Citrus Heights Branch AAUW received its charter as the 81st  branch in California. The women came from the small communities to the east of Sacramento, Fair Oaks, Carmichael, and Citrus Heights. Penny Lindsay, one of the principal organizers, served as president for the first two years.  By the second year, there were section meetings on Art, Civil Defense, Elementary and Secondary Education, Higher Education, International Relations, Mass Media, Social and Economic Issues, Status of Women, two book group, drama and bridge.

In the early 70’s, out of one of the study projects, This Beleaguered Earth – Can Man Survive?  a project emerged in the form of an old fashioned melodrama Putrid Pollution Rides Again. The melodrama was presented at local schools and community groups for over three years.   A later study group evolved into a multi year study of the nursing homes in the area. The branch received a commendation from the California Department of Health and Welfare for outstanding community volunteer achievement for its Comprehensive Nursing Home Directory, published in 1978 and revised in 1983.

Over the years the branch has received a number of state awards. We were recognized for our legislative  workshops held at the Capitol and American River College. Members presented bills that were supported by California State AAUW.  The Branch sponsored candidates’ night for local elections. In 1978, we presented a forum of the 3rd Congressional District candidates which included Robert Matsui, Sandra Smoley, Jean Moorhead and Ben Franklin.

Because the Branch covers a very large area outside of Citrus Heights, the name was officially changed to Citrus Heights-American River Branch in 1989. Today our membership extends to Sacramento, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova and Folsom.

Over the ensuing years we have supported AAUW Funds (formerly Educational Foundation and Legal Advocacy Funds), established  local scholarships for women students at American River College,  supported the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund providing small grants  to women for grassroots projects in developing countries, and  provided annual Tech Trek* scholarships for 8th grade girls to attend summer camps to develop their interest in science, engineering, mathematics and technology.

Today, the members of the Citrus Heights-American River Branch AAUW carry on the proud legacy of our founders. Of these incredible women, four are Branch members today. We are honored by their presence.

*Note: Tech Trek was started in California by Marie Wolbach. Wolbach, an AAUW member, received a Community Action Grant from AAUW to open a science camp for girls on the Stanford University campus in the summer of 1998. Her plan has expanded across the United States.


1. State AAUW Convention award of merit, 1961, as well as a letter of gratitude from the governor, in recognition of contribution to Senate Bill 621. It concerned the adulteration and misbranding of cosmetics made and sold in the state.

2. Development of the first legislative workshop in 1963. These events were held every other year until 1971, when they became the prototype for the CALIFORNIA AAUW LEGISLATIVE DAYS, now held annually in Sacramento.

3. Statewide recognition for School Finance Study which was presented at the 1975 California AAUW Convention, and later that year at the Fall Convention.

4. In the early 1970’s, a project grew out of the study, “This Beleaguered Earth – Can Man Survive?” It took the form of an old fashioned melodrama “PUTRID POLLUTION RIDES AGAIN” which became a big hit on the road. Not only did it teach children about pollution and conservation, it enhanced our treasury! A second cast was assembled, and the melodrama was performed for many schools and community groups over a three year period.

5. Local and statewide recognition was received in 1978, for the publication of a Comprehensive Nursing Home Directory, listing the nursing home facilities in the Sacramento area. The directory proved so useful that it was updated and republished in 1983. The CHAR Branch received a commendation from the California Department of Health and Welfare for outstanding community volunteer achievement.

6. Presentation of a Symposium on Women’s Issues in Spring 1988. This was one of the four outstanding programs featured at the California AAUW Spring Convention that year.

7. In conjunction with California State University Sacramento, a re-entry workshop was prepared for those wishing to re-enter the arena of post-high school study. The community colleges, the state universities, and the U.C.’s were represented.

8. A scholarship program for women who are heads of households or single parents was established in 1987-88. Awards are based on financial need, realistic goals, and scholarship/ability. Up to three scholarships are awarded each year.

9. Health issues ushered in the 1990’s. Some members are now involved in the national Women’s Health Initiative.

10. In June 1998, a seventh grade girl, Melissa Langeland, was sponsored for Tech-Trek Camp at Stanford University, the first year of a summer science program sponsored by California AAUW to promote science and math interest.

11. In June 1999, a middle school student, Morgan Wilsey, was sponsored for Tech-Trek Camp at Stanford.

12. A re-entry workshop, in conjunction with American River College, was held March 20, 1999. Community Colleges, State Universities and U.C.’s were represented.

13. In June 2000, Candace Wolfe from Sylvan Middle School went to Tech-Trek at Stanford, sponsored by CHAR.

14. Burleen Padda from Sylvan Middle School and Patricia Lucaci from Will Rogers Middle School attended Tech-Trek at Stanford in July 2001, sponsored by CHAR.

15. The following three girls attended Tech Trek at Stanford in July 2002: Jessica Petersen from Sylvan Middle School, Krista Peller-Shell from Will Rogers Middle School, and Ginger Fierstein from Sam Brannan Middle School.

16. The Sister-to-Sister event was held at Sylvan Middle School on May 17, 2002. Eighteen eighth grade girls attended. Speakers were Candice Jones, Channel 3 reporter and Katherine Bell, Supervising Assistant Public Defender. Workshop facilitators were from Building Bridges and People Reaching Out.

17. In July 2003, three eighth-grade girls attended Tech Trek: Rebehah Jones from Pasteur Middle School and Kari Nishikawa from Carnegie Middle School went to Stanford University; Sara Monahan from Carnegie Middle School went to CSU Fresno.

18. In 2004, as in previous years, CHAR awarded a $500 scholarship to each of three American River College students. One was designated in memory of Barbara Enke.

19. In July 2004, four girls attended Tech Trek at Stanford: Brianna Wulf from Mitchell Middle School and Rita Changeus, Mimi Rattanachaane and Sarah Casna, all from Salk Middle School.

20. In July 2005, four girls attended Tech Trek at Stanford: Alexis Shen and Ann Fendick from Arden Middle School and Melanie Reeves and Ashleigh Sims from Churchill Middle School.

21. In 2006, CHAR awarded a $500 scholarship to each of
four American River College students. Two were designated in the name of Arlene Darling.

22. In 2006, CHAR donated $1,609 to the Domestic Violence Intervention Center in Citrus Heights, CA.

23. In July 2006, four girls attended Tech Trek at Stanford: Miranda Mansanet and Tessa Sidden from Orangevale K-8 and Sarah Noble and Jessica Obert from John Barrett Middle School.

24. In May 2006, CHAR recognized six 50 year members of AAUW: Margaret Radsliff, Alice Ainsworth, Eleanor Wilson Applegate, Phyllis Barta, Norma Keldgord, and Bunny Schwantes.

25. In May 2006, CHAR awarded $500 scholarships to Paula Turner, Dori Meyers and Melissa Benbrook who attend American River College.

26. In July 2007, CHAR funded scholarships for four girls to attend Tech Trek at Stanford: Kayla Josephson and Emily Schreiner of Arcade Fundamental School and Yelena Istratiy and Ashley Garza of Starr King Middle School.

27. In December 2007, CHAR donated items for emancipation baskets to youths beginning independent lives from the Sacramento County Foster Care system.

28. In May 2008, CHAR awarded $500 scholarships to Xia Lor, Sylvia Aceves, and Tuti Bonnit who attended American River College.

29. In May 2008, CHAR recognized Jean Rubin as a 50 year member.

30. In July 2008, CHAR funded scholarships for four girls to attend TechTrek at Stanford: Jana Zepeda and Katherine MacFarland of Sylvan Middle School and Natalie Allstead and Sarah Thompson of Will Rogers Middle School.

31. In December 2008, CHAR donated to Women’s Empowerment, an organization which makes an effort to break the cycle of homelessness. They have created a safe, supportive and educational place that offers eight-week classes to homeless women, training them to obtain and maintain employment.

32. In May 2009, CHAR awarded $750 scholarships in memory of Margaret Radsliff to Desiree Gonzales-Urquidez, Jannifer Scott and Jane Stroud who attended American River College.

33. In May 2009, CHAR recognized Betty Beeman as a 50-year member.

34. In July 2009, CHAR funded scholarships for four girls to attend Tech Trek’s science and math camp on the Stanford University campus. They were Emily Brown and Sarah Pritchard from Pasteur Middle School and Bhavivi Parmar and Rown Clark from Arcade Middle School. Melanie Reeves, a recipient of our 2005 scholarship, was chosen to be a senior counselor this year at Stanford.

35. The December 2009 Holiday Gala earned $324. $300 was collected and given to “Meals on Wheels”. The total profit for AAUW Funds from the February 2010 Bridge and Bunco Party was $1023.48.

36. In May 2010, CHAR awarded the $500 Margaret Radsliff scholarship to Christina Kimble. Holli Harrison, Summer Gustafson and Shauna Michaud each received a $750 CHAR scholarship for American River College.

37. At the May 2010 Installation Luncheon, Mary Pavan was presented with an honorary life certificate and letter acknowledging fifty years of service with AAUW. She is a charter member of CHAR.

38. In July 2010, CHAR funded scholarships for 6 girls to the Tech Trek Science and Math camp at Stanford University. They were Victoria Ball and Hannah Marshall from Andrew Carnegie Middle School in Orangevale, Elisabel Estanol-Hernandez and Kirsten Cutts from Orangevale Open School and Melissa Abramson and Rachel Goodridge from Sutter Middle School in Folsom.

39. The 50th birthday celebration of CHAR was on October 23, 2010. Five charter members were present, four who are still members and five 50-year honorary life members. Out of 31, 22 past presidents were able to attend, 16 who are still current members.

40. The Holiday Gala on December 11, 2010 was festive and joyous! In addition to the clothes and school supplies, we collected $398.00, proceeds from the door donations, sale of ornaments and direct donations for the Mustard Seed School.

41. $750.00 was donated to AAUW Funds American Fellowships from the Games Party on February 26, 2011.

42. At the Installation Luncheon on May 21, 2011, Bette Jackson, Dean Hall and Harriet Orchard were presented with honorary life certificates and letters acknowledging fifty years of service with AAUW. The ladies are also charter members of CHAR.

43. In May 2011, Sue Tran, Shermida Lowe, Tracy Ewing and Fabiola Figueroa each received a $750 scholarship from CHAR. Christina Stewart was awarded the $500 Margaret Radsliff Scholarship. All attended American River College.

44. In July 2011, CHAR funded scholarships for 6 girls to the very first Tech Trek Science and Math camp held at University of California, Davis. The girls chosen for Tech Trek include: Emily Lempko, Bruna Balduino, Wendy Wang, and Tanvi Mehta from Jonas Salk Middle School and Kaylina Estrada and Daijah Marsh-Macias from Folsom Middle School.

45. The Holiday Event, on December 3, 2011 at the Marriott, was well attended and everyone enjoyed the luncheon and jazzy band music! Donations of clothing and money were given to My Sister’s House.

46. AAUW Funds #4336 was given $600 from the Games Party on February 25, 2012. This funds American Fellowships.

47. In May 2012, Shoshana Winnemucca, Sydney Brahm, Alicia Jara and Sandee Bass each was awarded a $750 scholarship from CHAR. Pamela Anderson received the $500 Margaret Radsliff scholarship. All attend American River College.

48. At the May 12, 2012 Installation Luncheon, Elaine Doerr was presented with an honorary life certificate and a letter acknowledging 50 years of service to AAUW.

49 In June 2012, CHAR funded scholarships for 6 girls to attend the Tech Trek Science and Math camp held at University of California, Davis. The girls selected attended Winston Churchill Middle School and are: Jacqueline Tsang, Adelyn Rhoads, Amanda Carrott, Diana Guz, Catherine Madrigal and Tajiah Gallegos.

50. In May 2013, Shannon French, Doris Huber, Tammy Helenske and Jun-Hui Hsu each received a $750 scholarship from CHAR. Jun-Hui Hsu also received the $500 Margaret Radsliff scholarship. All are attending American River Community College.

51. The Holiday Gala, on December 14, 2012, was at the Christ Community Church and many members brought festive food and centerpieces. The 10-piece band, Rotary Rooters, played many tunes both holiday and other oldies. Camellia Network was our charity to help aging-out foster youth. The co-founder, Isis Keigwin, spoke to us. We contributed nearly $500.

52. In June 2013, CHAR funded scholarships for 5 girls to attend the Tech Trek Science & Math Camp at UCD. The girls from Starr King K-8 School were Jennifer Andrade and Jorden Nature , and Arden Middle School students were: Jahne Marsh-Macias, Gillian Rains and Hannah Thompson.

53. In 2013-14, CHAR provided scholarships for 4 girls from Kingswood Elementary School to the July Tech Trek camp at U. C. Davis. The girls selected were: Autumn Brown, Alondra Garcia, Summer Negrete and Janette Ramirez.

54. The branch raised $1,042 for AAUW Funds at the annual Games Party.

55. Public Policy focused on the disparity between men’s and women’s pay with a Cookie project. The committee served cookies with a “bite” out of them at branch functions, a sweet demonstration that women receive less pay, getting only part of the cookie. (2013-2014)

56. In May, the branch funded four $750 scholarships at American River College. The recipients were: Kimra Balliet, Luzita Cady, Liliya Mostovaya, and Victoria Francois. Victoria’s scholarship was given in memory of Jan Fritz. Sasha Guitierrez received the $500 Margaret Radsliff scholarship. (2013-2014)

57. CHAR sent six girls to Tech Trek camp at Davis with the help of three corporate sponsors adding to the generous donations of our members. Camp director is Susan Wheeler, CHAR member. (2014-2015)

58. $3,000 was forwarded to American River College to fund four scholarships. The recipients of the four $750 scholarships were: Christina Ibarra, Rachel Franks, Meghan McKinnis and Mimi Matthews. Althea Walker received the $750 Margaret Radsliff scholarship. A fund-raising event netted $1328 for future scholarships. (2014-2015)

59. The Public Policy Committee hosted an award winning public meeting with McGeorge Law School students presenting California propositions for the upcoming ballot. Funds were also raised for AAUW Funds and international projects.

60. Our communications committee instituted our first Facebook page and updated it on a regular basis. They also updated CHAR’s webpage, working with the Association.

61. Congratulations were received from Linda Hallman, Association Executive Director on our 55th anniversary.

62. the Margaret Radsliff AAUW-CHAR endowment was established at American River College. When the endowment is fully funded, it will provide for our CHAR local scholarships in perpetuity. (2015-2016)