A young mother’s child was ill and was being treated at a San Diego hospital. The young mother had to make daily trips to San Diego to be with her child, but the cost of gas made it a struggle she might not be able to overcome.
The DOVES were there.
Another woman needed support in having a ramp built to ease her access into her home.
The DOVES were there, too.
A young man was returning to school but needed a backpack and some appropriate clothing. The young man’s principal sought help.
The DOVES were also there, just as they have been a support annually for 25 years to the Imperial Valley, donating up to $45,000 each year to local organizations and agencies that serve the needs of women and children Valleywide. The group also helps individuals with emergency needs.
Who are the DOVES?
You already know them. They are 30 women from throughout the Imperial Valley — your co-workers, your friends, your neighbors — who have quietly and without much fanfare devoted their time to a philanthropic effort focused on raising funds for the betterment of women and children.
As the DOVES celebrate their silver anniversary, they do so knowing that since the group’s inception in 1985, they have raised close to $700,000 to help the Valley, most of that raised each year through the organization’s one grand annual event — Monte Carlo night.
“If it focuses on women and children, that’s where we are,” says DOVES member Cherié Watte Angulo of El Centro.
The DOVES’ Tale
DOVES is an acronym. It stands for Donors of Valley Endeavors, but the name DOVES is how the group is most widely recognized. Prior to the founding of DOVES, there was a group of women in the Valley who served in another organization — the Imperial Valley chapter of Children’s Home Society, which also raised funds for women and children.
That group operated under the umbrella of a San Diego chapter.
In 1985 the decision was made to disband the local chapter and form a new group, one that would have more flexibility and be able to ensure all funds raised locally went to serve the needs of the Valley’s women and children.
Those original 30 members formed DOVES. Today, DOVES continues to operate with 30 women who represent all corners of the Imperial Valley and all walks of life, from professionals to homemakers. They are women aged 40 and older whose lives may be very different, but they all share something in common.
“Every member of DOVES has a resume of community service,” says Brawley resident Patricia “Patty” Russell. “Everyone has been active in their community.”
Brawley resident Debbie Cameron, while not a founder, is one of the group’s longest standing members, and she says the importance of the cause keeps her involved each year.
“It’s a really good cause to raise money for women and children in the Valley, and I hope we inspire other women to volunteer and give back to their community,” Cameron says.
To interview members of DOVES is to experience first hand a group that runs on high energy and a group that has come to depend and trust each other’s talents and abilities so that their annual objective can be accomplished.