If you deplore meetings, you wouldn’t want to step into Dot Reed’s shoes. The Desert Hot Springs resident leads eight Weight Watchers meetings every week and then spends more time at Soroptimist International meetings, which she must attend because she’s president of the Desert Hot Springs club and president of the Soroptimists’ House of Hope board. She also serves on the Desert Hot Springs Community and Cultural Affairs Commission and chairs the city’s Veterans’ Memorial Committee.
Reed joined Soroptimist International — a nonprofit organization of women who help other women in need of assistance — in 1980. The following year, several local clubs united to open a home to help women recover from substance abuse. “I jumped in because it sounded good,” Reed says. Today the clubs operate two recovery homes — called House of Hope — in Banning and Desert Hot Springs, and a re-entry home, Hope’s Horizon, in Palm Springs.
“I have been on the board in various positions over the years,” Reed says, “except treasurer, because that’s not my bag at all.” She has served four years as president of the House of Hope board and four terms as president of the Desert Hot Springs club.
In addition to her own meetings, Reed attends others whenever she has an opportunity to promote the Soroptimist recovery homes. “Any club that invites me, whether it’s a Soroptimist club or some other service club, I am happy to go and talk about House of Hope,” she says.
But she does more than talk the talk: She maintains continual contact with the house directors, bakes brownies for another Soroptimist club’s fundraiser, creates and delivers fundraiser flyers, handles correspondence and other paperwork for the houses, and steps forward whenever a need arises.
A passion for giving is one of the reasons Reed has been a Weight Watchers leader for 26 years. “We are helping people,” she says, “and that’s what I like about it.” She took the job when someone who was supposed to do it didn’t show up at a meeting.
“I was brought up to be the way I am, to give, to volunteer, and so forth,” she says. “My grandmother gave that to me.”
Three of Reed’s daughters needed help at one time. One graduated from the House of Hope program and is now a Soroptimist. The other daughters sought help elsewhere. “I think [they did] because I was helping other people,” Reed says. “I truly feel that if you give, you get returns a hundredfold.”