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Honor, inspire, achieve: Soroptimists honor quartet of local women
Call it a planting of seed money.
Per tradition, attendees of Soroptimist International of Sequim’s Tuesday meeting passed around a basket and filled it with “happy money,” a resounding theme for the group that morning.
Soroptimists bestowed four key awards on Feb. 25 — two to youth volunteers and another to their mentor, and a fourth to help provide business opportunities to a local woman who has returned to college.
Violet Richardson Award
Club members selected Sequim youths Nicoe Williams and Elizabeth Rosales for the Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award. Named for the president of the first Soroptimist club, the award honors girls who are making a difference through volunteer service.
Williams earned the grand prize of $500. She volunteers at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club in Sequim, assisting with a variety of activities, such as working in the club’s library and tutoring in the after-school homework assistance program. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula will also receive $250.
“It was hard to move from Seattle to Sequim … (and) I did not want to go into the Boys & Girls Club — it was intimidating,” Williams told the Soroptimists Tuesday morning. “I found the library quickly and then I blended in. (Now) I really like working at the club. It feels like a home where everybody loves you everybody wants to see you.”
Rosales, also a volunteer at the Boys & Girls Club in Sequim, is the recipient of the runner-up award of $250. She was involved in assisting with the community-wide Summer Lunch Program, helping prepare and distribute meals.
“No one should go hungry,” Rosales said.
She also volunteers with the Sequim Food Bank and the local Girl Scouts organization.
Soroptimist Ruby Award
For her work mentoring young women through The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, club executive director Mary Budke received this week the Soroptimist Ruby Award. This award acknowledges women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their personal or professional activities.
Soroptimists picked Budke for the award, club members said, in particular for the development of her “Inspire Her” program, an eight-week intensive session aimed at middle/high school girls aged 13-15. The program connects those youths with influential women mentors in the community, providing a framework for envisioning their future and helping them practice social and communication skills.
“We know that what they gain from this program will go beyond the eight weeks and we know that the relationship they develop with their mentor is ongoing,” club members said in a press release.
The award came with a $500 donation from the Soroptimists to the Boys & Girls Club.
Budke thanked the Soroptimists and deflected much of the praise.
“You are the heroes in our community,” Budke told club members. “With this money, you are providing programs for them.”
Women’s Opportunity Award
Noreen Barber was selected to receive the Women’s Opportunity Award in amount of $l,500.
Barber is a student at Peninsula College and is raising three children.
The Women’s Opportunity Awards program assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.
In addition to providing the primary financial support for their families, eligible applicants must be enrolled in, or have been accepted to, a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree program and must demonstrate financial need, according to the Soroptimists’ website.
“I’ve learned that education is the most powerful source of hope,” Barber said Tuesday.
For more information, see www.sisequim.org.