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Soroptimists present awards honoring outstanding women and girls

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Posted: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 11:42 am

Soroptimist International of Lodi and Lodi Sunrise recently held an awards night honoring outstanding women and girls. Soroptimist International is a volunteer organization of professional and business women who contribute their time and financial support to community projects benefitting women and girls.

The Women’s Opportunity Award, the major award given by Soroptimist, is presented to women who have primary financial responsibility for themselves and their families and are enrolled in a vocational/skills training program or undergraduate degree program. This year, the three women who received this award of $1,000 were Letisia Zamora, who was recognized by SI Lodi, and Marisela Gonzalez and Valerie Vega, by SI Lodi Sunrise.

Zamora certainly meets the criteria for this award. She is supporting herself and one small child. She has been attending Lincoln Technical Academy and should complete her medical assistant certification in May of this year. She would like to complete her education at Delta Community College in registered nurse and/or phlebotomy classes. Zamora also works 15 to 21 hours a week at McDonalds. She has shown a strong desire to make a better life for herself and her child.

The Soroptimist International Lodi Sunrise club honored Valerie Nancy Vega and Marisela Gonzalez with the Women’s Opportunity Award.

Vega, a mother of two, has tackled overwhelming obstacles in her life’s journey. She showed initiative by learning business and computer skills without pay. She has worked diligently over five years to become the office manager. She is now enrolled in the Stockton School for Adults to gain a certificate in business careers with the goal to transfer to junior or four year college.

Gonzalez is the single parent of four daughters and works full time as a toddler teacher for the Early Head Start program. She is working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education from Ashford University and expects to complete her degree in 2015.

The Ruby Award for Women Helping Women is meant to recognize women who do outstanding work either in their professional life or in volunteer service to improve the lives of other women and girls. This year SI Lodi presented the award to Suzanne Mangum, the executive director of Lodi House. The ultimate goal of Lodi House is to assist women in achieving independence so that they can find a home for themselves and their children. Mangum does an awesome job for Lodi House as well as the Thrift Shop, Transition House and Enrichment program. She has been an advocate for women since she was a teen. She has devoted her life to improving the lives of women and girls in our community and is an inspiration to the women whose lives she has touched. A donation of $500 in her name was made to Lodi House.

The Violet Richardson Award, named for the president of the first Soroptimist club, recognizes young women between the ages of 14 and 17 who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts. The award recipients each receive $500. This year’s recipient for SI Lodi was Amanda Sieglock and the SI Sunrise recipient was Miranda O’Mahony,

Sieglock, has volunteered for the city of Lodi Storm Drain Detective Program since the age of 12. The young people work to protect the river (annual Coastal Cleanup Challenge). She is an honor student at Tokay High School. Her other activities include student body president 2013-present, junior class president, sophomore class president, varsity golf team, varsity track & field, JV volleyball team, American Sign Language Club, CSF, National Honor Society member, Link Crew, blood drive chairman, blood drive co-chair, Tokay recycling volunteer, collecting for lymphoma and chaired homecoming parade and junior/senior prom.

SI Sunrise recipient of the Violet Richardson award was Miranda D. O’Mahony. O’Mahony is a member of Girls Scouts of America, Troop 2030. She coordinated a Fashion Swap and Ice Cream Social at the Lodi Public Library for Cadette Girl Scouts and their friends. They participated in the free fashion show, which included stations for getting hair and makeup done, crafts, and an opportunity for the girls to trade their used, unwanted clothes for new ones from other girls. The event showed the girls that Girl Scouts is more than just selling cookies. Girl Scouts work to improve themselves and empower each other so that they will be active members of their communities and the world.

— Source: Bev Lacy

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