Soroptimist International of Friday Harbor presented its annual awards at the Notable Women’s Luncheon March 6. The event celebrates the achievements of women in our community. The awards culminate a year of fund-raising by the largest service club on San Juan Island, and a well-vetted application process by its Best for Women committee.
The annual Luncheon is held in conjunction with International Women’s Day (IWD), March 8th. This holiday is celebrated globally and was officially designated by the U.N. in 1975. This year’s theme is, The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum. Friday Harbor Mayor Carrie Lacher spoke on the theme, specifically mentioning the help and encouragement she received on her path towards becoming mayor from several women in our community.
The signature program of Soroptimist International of the Americas is the Women’s Opportunity Award. Given to a women head-of-household who is furthering her education, this years' recipient is Catalina Kohring, from Lopez Island. Kohring spoke about her efforts to overcome challenges and finish college, and her goal of becoming a teacher. To assist her towards these efforts, she received a check for $5,000.
The Fellowship Award is awarded to a woman in graduate school. Cynthia Brast received $3,000 towards obtaining a graduate degree in Entomology. She is currently working through the University of Florida on a project with the WSU County Extension office on livestock and pest control.
The Violet Richardson Award (named after the founder of Soroptimist) is for a 14-to-17 year old girl who has performed outstanding community service. Sarah Clark received the award. She spoke about her experiences volunteering for multiple overseas missions, including in Uganda and Cameroon, where most recently she worked on building a medical clinic. Her hope is to become a doctor. Clark received $750.
The Ruby Award honors a woman in our community and who makes a difference by helping the lives of women and girls. Cheri Hancock was honored for her work establishing a local nonprofit organization, Minor Reinforcement, which provides support to teens in our community. Recognition of her efforts included a monetary award of $750.
The major fundraiser for these awards is Soroptimist’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner and Auction. Come join the fun! Tickets are at the Toy Box for $20. Help make next year’s awards and scholarships possible!