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Soroptimist banquet set for April 1

The annual Soroptimist Awards Banquet will be held this year at the Moose Lodge in Vandalia at 6:30 p.m. on April 1.
The Awards Banquet dates back to the early days of the Vandalia Club. Although the awards have changed some over the years, the local club currently gives out approximately 10 awards each year. These are the Women of Distinction Awards, Ruby Award, Advancing the Status of Women Award, Woman of the Year Award, Community Improvement Award, Live Your Dream Award and, some years, the Memorial Scholarship Award.
The Women of Distinction Awards are the longest running awards and are given to women who have made outstanding achievements in their professional, business or volunteer activities, for a significant amount of time.
This year, the following fields of service are being awarded: Economic Development, Amy Gaffney; Social Development, Carla Huhn; Education-Jennifer Garrison; Health, Jami Kistler; and Human Development, Donna Blair.
The Advancing the Status of Women award is an award given to a business, organization or an individual who has been active in advancing the status of women. Some examples are through scholarships for women, employment policies, daycare centers, etc. This year’s awardee is Sophie Bowers.
The Ruby Award (Women Helping Women) is given to a woman who through their professional or personal efforts is making extraordinary differences in the lives of women or girls. This year’s awardee is Michelle McNary.
The Woman of the Year is a fairly new award adopted by our local club, honoring a woman who doesn’t fall into a particular category, but has spent many years in serving her community in many different ways. This year’s awardee is Kendra Craig.
Our newest award is the Community Improvement Award, honoring a woman who through their professional or personal efforts, have made extraordinary contributions to their community. This year’s awardee is Jessica Blain.
These ladies are all honored at the club banquet and a book is donated to the Evans Public Library in each of their names.
In addition, the club has two monetary awards.
The Soroptimist Memorial Scholarship Award was started a few years back by donations from the estates of two members, Harriett Low and Hazel Jones.
By contributing to the fund each year, the club has been able to give an award every other year. That award is given to a young woman who has completed one year of college, within Illinois, is a resident of Fayette County and is currently enrolled in college, vocational or technical school in Illinois and must maintain at least 6 credit hours of study. This Award will be $500.
This year’s awardee will be announced at the banquet.
Finally, the Soroptimist International of the Americas’ signature award, the Live Your Dream Award, is given to a young lady who is the financial head of her household, has been accepted to or is enrolled in a college or vocational training program and shows financial need. Since 1972, the Soroptimist LYDA programs has disbursed more that $30 million to 10s of thousands of women who have overcome poverty, domestic and sexual violence, divorce, death of a spouse or other life challenges.
Currently, the club gives an award of $1,000. That winner is forwarded to be judged at district, region and international levels.
The club has been fortunate to have several ladies win at District and Region levels.
This year’s awardee is Michelle Recsnik.
Tickets are $20 and reservations can be made by calling Judy Wasmuth at 618-267-7637 no later than March 23.