Soroptimist International (SI) of Milwaukee held its annual awards night on Wed. April 4, 2012 at the Brass Key Restaurant and awarded grants to several outstanding Milwaukee women and girls. Independent judges made the final award determinations. SI Milwaukee President Barbara Collignon said “this year’s nominees are from throughout the Milwaukee area and demonstrate exceptional community service. Our judges had a very difficult job. The Club is honored and delighted with our 2012 winners.”
Soroptimist International of Milwaukee is a part of Soroptimist International of America. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, SI of America offers programs that improve the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment.
Its major program, The Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards, provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. The program helps women who serve as the primary wage earners of their families to enter or return to the work force, or to improve their employment status. Each year about $1.5 million is disbursed nationally to deserving women through this award winning program. The SI Milwaukee Women’s Opportunity Award went to Tiffany Boyd. Despite economic and personal hardships, Tiffany has raised two children on her own – one child has a learning disability. Tiffany is raising two young children, one of whom has a learning disability, while working full time for a health insurance company. She plans to earn a four year bachelor of health care administration degree from the University of Phoenix and become a hospice health unit coordinator.
Tiffany said “Health care is something I am passionate about and it will allow me to make a difference in people’s lives. Additional education will allow me to reach my full potential and set a positive example for my children and what is expected of them. I’ve faced disadvantages and still was able to beat the odds because of my dedication and work ethic. I work hard every day and do all that I can to provide for my family.”
The Ruby Award for Women Helping Women is a recognition award for women who help other women and girls in their local communities and throughout the world. The 2012 winner is Lavoris Agee who takes gifts of food and faith to local battered and homeless women. Using her own initiative and her own money, Lavoris creates comfort baskets for women in need of encouragement and support. For the past two years, she has delivered gift baskets containing a personal spoon, cup and saucer, and comfort food such as soup, chili and hot chocolate mix, as well as a Christian inspirational book to women at Hope House, Joy House, House of Lydia and the Sojourner Truth House. Lavoris sees the Warmth for the Soul program she created and sees this as her mission to serve others. It is as her way of making a difference. It is why she has been chosen to receive Soroptimist International of Milwaukee’s Ruby Award, which honors women who, through their professional or personal efforts, are making extraordinary differences in the lives of women or girls. The effort has its own very personal rewards, Lavoris said, telling of the joy she felt one day seeing a woman leaving a shelter clutching one of her very own comfort baskets. “It made me feel wonderful,” she said.
Soroptimist International is a 501(c) (3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs. It also sponsors the “Live your Dream” campaign in recognition of the power of women and their dreams. For more information on Soroptimism, visit Soropimist.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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