Ponca City, Ok (November 4, 2015)
- Applications are now available for two signature awards, the Live Your Dream Award and the Violet Richardson Award, to be presented by Soroptimist International of Ponca City (SIPC). Application deadlines are Monday, Nov. 16 and the cash awards will be presented to the recipients at the annual banquet in February.
Women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families and seek financial assistance to continue their education or receive training can now apply for the Soroptimist Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women (formerly the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards). The Violet Richardson Award honors young women, between the ages of 14 and 17, for volunteer action such as fighting drugs, crime and violence; cleaning up the environment; and working to end discrimination and poverty.
Applications for both awards are available at the University Center, Pioneer Tech or Northern Oklahoma College or by contacting Soroptimist Live Your Dream and Violet Richardson Chair Robyn Armstrong at the University Center. Violet Richardson Award applications are also available at area high schools. The application deadline is Monday, November 15.
The Ponca City club will provide a $1,000 cash grant to its Live Your Dream award recipient, who will then advance to the Soroptimist South Central Region level, where recipients could receive up to an additional $5,000. The program culminates with three finalist $10,000 awards. In addition SIPC will award $500 to the second place recipient.
Recipients can use the Live Your Dream Award to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training. This includes tuition, books, childcare, carfare or any other education-related expense.
The SIA Live Your Dream Award provides more than $1.6 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year throughout the federation. Since the program’s inception in 1972, approximately $30 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. A study conducted by The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed the efficacy and impact of this program. It improves the recipients’ quality of life; builds their confidence; strengthens their self-determination and makes them want to, in turn, help others. Helping women in this way has the demonstrated effect of leading to stronger communities, nations and the world.
The Violet Richardson recognition program targets young women who make the community and world a better place. “As a volunteer service organization for business and professional women, Soroptimist believes that by acknowledging young women’s volunteer involvement now, they will grow up to be vital, active members of the community,” said Cindy Wigley, president of the SIPC club.
The program begins at the local Soroptimist club level, where SIPC awards $250 to the local Violet Richardson recipient and $250 to her charity of choice. Club-level winners then become eligible for one of 28 $1,000 awards. In addition, at this level, $1,000 will be contributed in honor of the winners to their volunteer organizations. One finalist will be chosen from among the 28 winners for an additional award, including a contribution of $2,500 to the finalist’s volunteer organization
The award program is named after Violet Richardson, the president of the first Soroptimist club in 1921. Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly, as an active member in her community who was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women. Soroptimist established this award to honor the memory of this unique woman and her dedication to volunteer action
Founded in 1950, the Ponca City club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Ponca City members join with almost 80,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls. Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also powers LiveYourDream.org—an online community offering offline volunteer opportunities in support of women and girls. For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit www.soroptimist.org.
In addition to participating in the Live Your Dream Awards program, Soroptimist International of Ponca City helps women and girls through the Living Hope Pregnancy Center, Domestic Violence Program, Dearing House, Northern Oklahoma Youth Services, Camp McFadden and more. Soroptimists use their projects to help the community and have fun at the same time. In addition, various socials are held throughout the year. The local club meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at noon at Pizza Hut. The first meeting of the month is a business meeting and the third a program meeting. For information on the local Soroptimist club, how you can join and make a difference locally and throughout the world, contact President Cindy Wigley at 580-761-0304.