Photo by Edna Ethington
Pictured at the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW's Jan. 18 meeting at Cerritos Park East are winners of Zumba bags and a Wild & Free Zumba shirt as drawing prizes donated by Zumba Instructor Lettie Morris.

By Edna Ethington

Members of the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) gathered at Cerritos Park East on Thursday, Jan. 18 for their first meeting of the New Year. They started the year by spending 30 minutes trying to get fit by doing zumba exercises with guest instructor Lettie Morris and her assistant, Sandi Wilkinsen.

President-Elect Harriet Moses introduced Morris as her friend, former co-worker, and Zumba instructor.  Morris said that the Zumba-style exercise started in Colombia about 13 years ago and has become very popular especially among women. Morris started learning about Zumba in 2008 and became an instructor. She teaches Zumba Gold classes at Cypress Senior Center on Thursdays from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m., and at the Cerritos Senior Center on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Exercises at the Zumba Gold classes are at a slower pace and participants are allowed to stop and rest if they need to. Those who wish to join Morris’ Zumba class at the Cypress Senior Center must register for a six-week class for $30, or pay $5.00 as you go at the Cerritos Senior Center.  There are also regular Zumba classes that Morris teaches which are at a faster pace.

Morris was unable to lead all the exercises on this day due to a leg injury, so the Zumba exercises were led by her assistant. About 17 members participated in the Zumba exercises and either felt invigorated or exhausted, depending on their physical fitness.  Some members already exercise every day, and others learned that they need to begin doing so.

After the Zumba exercises, members had the opportunity to win drawing prizes.  Karen Cox and Thea Siegel won Zumba bags and Dorothy Edwards won a “Wild & Free” Zumba shirt.

Program Co-Chair Thea Siegel and Acting President Dorothy Edwards thanked Morris for her gifts and Wilkinsen for leading the exercises.  They both were presented with Certificates of Appreciation from the La Palma-Cerritos Branch of the AAUW.

Edwards presided over the business meeting that followed with reports by board members and other committees.  The secretary’s minutes and treasurer’s  reports were approved by members present. All board and committee reports can be seen on the La Palma-Cerritos Website at

Of interest to many members, who helped to wrap books at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in December for donations from customers, was the report by Siegel that the book wrappers received a total of $1,019 in donations.  The funds raised were added to the Alberta Brose Memorial Fund which will be given to a female student who returns to college after an absence of five or more years.  It will be awarded after the goal of $5,000 is reached by June 30, 2019. The fund currently has $2,900 and donations are welcome and are tax deductible.

It was announced that Tech Trek Coordinators, Celia Spitzer of Cerritos, is working with three Title I  middle schools in ABC Unified School District (ABCUSD) and Edna Ethington, of La Palma, is working with La Palma’s Walker Jr. High, in Anaheim Union High School District, to get nominees to sponsor at the Whittier Tech Trek in June. The La Palma-Cerritos AAUW Branch will be sending four girls to the camp, who will be incoming eighth grade students in September. Two girls will be selected from the ABCUSD and two from Walker Jr. High in La Palma.  The students, nominated by math and science teachers, will be asked to submit an application, write an essay on a designated topic, and be interviewed by branch members.

There are many different activities and interest groups within this active AAUW branch that would welcome new members and guests: The Breakfast Club that meets on alternating Wednesdays or Thursday mornings, the Las Comadres that meets for lunch at different locations on the First Tuesdays of the month, the Readers Group and the Gourmet Group that meets in members’ homes.  Persons who have an Associate’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university and who would like to join the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW can contact membership Co-VP Joan Flax at 562-860-0642.

Gail Ross, AAUW Fund Co- VP, reminded members and guests to be sure to come to the next La Palma-Cerritos Branch meeting, the Annual AAUW Fund Luncheon, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, at the home of Carol and Bob Marsh, 5092 Cadiz Cir. in La Palma.  Guest Speaker for the day will be Angelina Tan, President of the Pasadena Foothill Valley Board of Directors. Ms. Tan will be describing the Community Action Grant that was funded in part by the La Palma-Cerritos Branch‘s donation to the AAUW Fund. The Pasadena Foothill Valley programs empower girls through Tech Gyrls, Express Yourself, and Girls Empowerment Summer Camp. These programs provide STEM opportunities to underserved, predominantly African American and Latina girls of ages 10-14.

The AAUW Fund luncheon will be a catered lunch starting at 11 a.m. and will include tri- tip beef, chicken, salads and dessert for donation of $35. Members and guests are asked to send their checks to Marilyn Forsstrom and RSVP by Feb. 1 to Gail Ross at 562-926-7187 or Dorothy Edwards at 714-995-1148.  Members are also asked to bring used books for a Book Sale with prices of $1.00 for hardback books and 50 cents for paperback books. Proceeds from the luncheon and the Book Sale will go to the AAUW Fund which is one of the largest sources of funding for fellowships and grants for graduate women.

Photo by Edna Ethington
Pictured at the La Palma-Cerritos AAUW’s Jan. 18 meeting are members doing Zumba exercises for fitness led by Sandi Wilkinsen.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here