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The Annual Vandalia Soroptimist International Awards Presentation was held on Friday evening, May 7, 2021 at 7:00 PM, virtually on Zoom and Soroptimist International of Vandalia’s Facebook page. The event was postponed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the international organization still is not holding in-person events, the local club decided to go forward with this important recognition of women virtually.
The Soroptimist International Club recognizes women for the “Women of Distinction Awards” in five fields of service. The club annually honors area women who have made outstanding achievements in their professional, business or volunteer activities. The “Ruby Award” (Women Helping Women) is awarded to a woman who is making a difference in the lives of women and girls. The “Woman of the Year Award” is presented to a woman who has made an outstanding difference to their community, in the past year, through her professional or personal efforts. A new award is being introduced this year and is entitled “Community Improvement Award”. It is presented to a woman who through her professional or personal efforts has made extraordinary contributions to her community. An “Advancing the Status of Women Award” is given to either an individual, business or organization who strives to advance the status of women.
The “Live Your Dream Award” is given to a woman who is head of her household and has returned to school to educate herself in order to provide a better life for her family. This Award is the Soroptimist’ signature award and comes with a local cash award of $750. Her application will be forwarded to the District, Region and International committees for further judging and the possibility of winning more monetary awards.
The women who were honored for the 2020 year for “Women of Distinction Awards” in the five fields of service were: Health-Leanne Bales, Education-Micki Durbin, Economic Development-Jennifer Richards, Social Development-Anna Massett, Human Rights-Karen Bennett. The “Ruby Award” was presented to Heidi Cade. The “Woman of the Year” was presented to Cassie Beesley and the “Community Improvement Award” was presented to Sandy Michel. The “Advancing the Status of Women Award” was presented to “Fitness 4 Life” (Kim Lipe, owner) and finally, the “Live Your Dream Award” for 2020 was presented to Carla Sapp and for 2021 Stephanie Lowe.
The Vandalia club also recognized two of its own. The 2020 Soroptimist of the Year is Dana Smith and the 2021 Soroptimist of the Year is Megan Kistler.
The Soroptimist Memorial Scholarship was started with contributions made to the Soroptimist International of Vandalia in memory of Harriett Lowe and Hazel Jones. These two women fully understood the need to help other women. The contributions made continue to be put into an interest bearing account. The interest is being used to further the education of women who want to improve their lives. The club makes a contribution annually and with other individual memorial contributions the scholarship fund continues to grow.
Contributions may be made to the Vandalia Soroptimist club in memory or honor of a loved one and their name will be placed on the back of our program. Your contribution along with the information for the memorial or honor can be sent to Soroptimist of Vandalia, PO Box 171 Vandalia, IL 62471.