Woman of Distinction Award Winners Announced

WoD_winnersSoroptimist International of Hood River’s welcomes Allyson Pate, Ann Frodel and Tami Swanson as the 2015 winners of its annual Women of Distinction Award.  Each year since 1975, Soroptimist of Hood River has worked with community leaders and organizations to honor women whose work in a professional or volunteer capacity has made a significant difference in the quality of life in our community.

 The three women will be introduced by their nominators at an awards luncheon in their honor on Wednesday, May 27, from 11:30- 1:00 pm in the Best Western Hood River Inn Gorge Room. Tickets for the luncheon are $24 each and available at Waucoma Bookstore.

 “Ann has participated in the community for over 25 years and in 2006 became one of the founders of the Waterfront Community Park Association (WCPA) with the goal to fund and build a new park on the Columbia River. To this day, Ann still serves as WCPA chair,” wrote Jacquie Brown Barone in her nomination of Ann Frodel. “Her work included fundraising and grant writing, working on a master plan, working closely with the City and the Hood River Parks and Rec. The Waterfront Park has had a bigger community impact than even she could have imagined. It anchors the many businesses, residences and services located just across from it. Beyond its incredible economic impact, the Waterfront Park has brought the community together, with families playing, various events using its location, walkers and windsurfers talking together, weeders helping tourist explore Hood River. It has become a special place where we all can come together and take pride in our little town.

 Ann also served seven years on the Hood River City Council, helped develop the Hood River Lacrosse team, and has served as a volunteer for a broad spectrum of local non-profits.”

 Here is what Allyson Pate’s nominator, Karon Peterson, said: “Allyson served seven years as chair of the Commission on Children & Families, on the Citizens’ Review Board for Foster Children and assisted in the formation of our area’s warming shelter. What really makes her deserving of this award, however, is her development eight years ago of the Give Them WINGS program. Through her other work, she realized that young men who were formerly in foster care, homeless and unemployed and with little hope of success, needed a place to live, learn life skills, job skills and make the life-altering changes needed to become self-confident, healthy, responsible members of society. She saw the potential in these young men and opened doors for them.  After eight years, WINGS has ‘graduated’ over 80 young men.” Now, Allyson and her grant-supported assistant are creating similar opportunities for young women.

 “The WINGS program is successful because of Allyson’s drive and determination to make a difference in the lives of these young men and women. She works to build community awareness and to constantly find new sources of funding, another testament to Allyson’s commitment,” wrote WINGS board member Lisa Brown.

 Tami Swanson’s nominator, Nancy Johanson Paul, said “In 1990, young mother Tami (Russell) Swanson volunteered to organize a New Parent Services play group in Cascade Locks. Twenty-three years later, it is still meeting every Tuesday, and Tami is still coordinating it. ­­The Cascade Locks play group provides very important support for parents who might have no other way to know each other, to meet and support each other and have their children can play together.”  In addition to coordinating play groups throughout the county, Tami has facilitated parenting classes in Cascade Locks, Hood River and The Dalles. In 2000, Tami was hired by New Parent Services as a Healthy Start Home Visitor, meeting with young parents having their first baby, many who are at risk for child abuse or neglect. She has mentored over 150 families, many who were raised in abusive and neglectful homes. “Tami works endlessly to help them become the best parents they can be. Her families know they can always call her and she will be there to give them support. She focuses on their strengths and gives families the hope they need to continue providing for their children so they can grow up healthy and happy.”

 Soroptimist of Hood River is part of Soroptimist International, a global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Women interested in helping to empower other women are welcome to be part of Soroptimist of Hood River. Find more information, call Barbara Young, 541-490-1996.

(Winners’ portraits created by SIHR member, Denise Rehse Watson/Kitten With A Camera.)

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Nominations Sought for SIHR’s 2015 Women of Distinction Award

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Soroptimist International of Hood River invites individuals and organizations to honor a woman in their midst whose professional or volunteer work has made a distinctive difference in the life of Hood River County or in the lives of women and girls. Nominations for the service club’s annual “Women of Distinction” award are being accepted until Thursday, April 30th.

 “We have been honoring amazing women in our community for over 40 years. We know we will never run out of worthy nominees,” says committee chair Jean Harmon. “Our larger community benefits from the work of these outstanding citizens and we ask your help in making sure they are recognized.”

(See last year’s winners here.)

Nomination forms, guidelines and a list of previous winners can be downloaded via the link at the bottom of this posting. Hard copies are available at Waucoma Bookstore or by calling Barbara Young at 541-490-1996.  Nominations need to include all activities that show the nominee’s dedication, effectiveness and vision. Letters of support are particularly helpful.

 Winners and their nominators will be notified in early May, and their names and pictures will be announced in the Hood River News , on local radio stations and on the Soroptimist Hood River Facebook page. The Women of Distinction awards luncheon is scheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the Best Western Hood River Inn. Tickets are $24 each and will be available at Waucoma Bookstore in early May.

 Soroptimist of Hood River, part of Soroptimist International, is a business and professional women’s service organization dedicated to empowering the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. To learn more about Soroptimist International, go to www.soroptimist.org. For more information about Soroptimist Hood River, contact Barbara Young at barby@gorge.net.

Link to Nomination forms: WoD page 1-3

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Live Your Dream Awards! (formerly known as the Women’s Opportunity Awards)

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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 Awards (formerly the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards).

Applications are available at the Hood River County Library or the White Salmon Library or by contacting Kate Dougherty at 541-490-4296 or kated@gorge.net. Applications may also be downloaded – application forms and reference forms are included at the bottom of this post. The application deadline is November 15, 2014.

The Soroptimist clubs of Hood River and Mt. Adams will provide five $1,500 cash grants to award recipient. Two of the recipients will then be advanced to the Soroptimist Northwest Region level, where recipients could receive up to an additional $5,000.

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 Live Your Dream Award provides more than $1.6 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. 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.

These awards help improve 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 Hood River and Mt.Adams clubs are 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.  Almost 80,000 Soroptimists in 120 countries and territories 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.

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