Soroptimists give $48,000 in awards

Soroptimist International of Ashland gave $12,350 in awards, scholarships and grants to local women and girls at a recent luncheon.

Soroptimist, meaning "best for women," is an international volunteer service organization whose mission is to improve the lives of women and girls locally and globally.

Women's Opportunity Awards, honoring women heads of household enrolled in vocational or undergraduate programs, were awarded to Ashland Southern Oregon University student Amalia Kieley ($2,000), and Mandy Rucker ($1,500). Rachel Fine was given $200 as winner of The Violet Richardson Award for girls 14-17 who volunteer in their communities.

Soroptimist's SOU Grant-in-Aid winners were Treasa Cordero, $1,600; Jennifer Beaman, $1,000; and Ludmilla Zuckman, $1,000. Molly McGuire was awarded the $1,000 AHS scholarship. The Soroptimist Women's Athletic Award of $3,000 was distributed among Jodi Dietz, soccer; Mary "Rosie" Converse, track; and Katie Ross, tennis. Winners of awards for volleyball, softball and basketball will be named soon. The $1,000 Vo-Tech award was presented to Phoenix High School instructor Jeremy Kennedy to help start a barbecue class.

The 2007 Making a Difference for Women Award was presented to Lynn Ramey. The award honors women who, through their personal or professional activities, have worked in extraordinary ways to benefit women and girls. Oregon Shakespeare Festival Wardrobe Supervisor Lynn Ramey was honored for her extensive work as a foster mother to teenage girls.

Soroptimist International Ashland raises money for awards and other service projects primarily by running the pillow and blanket rental booth at the OSF Elizabethan Stage and from the Empty Bowls pottery sale. This year these fundraisers enabled the Ashland club to also donate $25,325 to OSF, $3,456 to local hunger projects, $2,000 to Dunn House and the Rape Crisis Center, and other women and girl focused projects such as cancer awareness, the Community Mother and Baby Shower, Casting for Recovery, Mediation Works and Project Independence Women Survivors of War.

For more information about Soroptimist of Ashland, contact Sara Brown, 482-5561.

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