NORWALK — Soroptimist International of Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs recently presented $6,000 in cash grants to help five women improve their economic situation.
The awards ceremony was held March 23 at the Norwalk Doubletree Hotel.
First place recipient Ashley Ross, 29, will use the cash award to complete her certification as a psychiatric technician at Cypress College, where she is majoring in nursing.
The Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Soroptimists chose Ross because of her “optimistic attitude, her diligence in overcoming obstacles and the excellent recommendations she received.”
Ross, who has a two-year-old daughter, will now advance to the Soroptimist Desert Coast Region level, where recipients receive additional financial awards.
The remaining three Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women were presented to Melissa Hamby, Desiree Montoya, and Shaunise Price.
Ms. Hamby, 28, is studying psychology at Cypress College, while raising her 9 year old daughter.
Ms. Montoya, 28, will complete her teaching credential at CSU Fullerton in 2020. She has a three-year-old son.
Ms. Price, 33, is raising a son and daughter while attending Cerritos College with the goal of becoming a preschool director.
The Live Your Dream Award provides women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families with the financial resources to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training. The award can be used for tuition, books, childcare, carfare or any other education-related expense.
Soroptimist International of Norwalk also presented a $1,000 award to Deborah Ixchel Perez, a female veteran student at Cerritos College. Perez served in the U.S. Marine Corps for nine years as a musician and Substance Abuse Control Officer . Her goal is to earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and work as a Physical Therapist for Veterans Affairs.
The Live Your Dream Award provides over $2 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception in 1972, more than $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.
Founded in 1953, the Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs 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.
Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs 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.