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Eight determined women from New Mexico and far West Texas moved a step closer to realizing lifelong dreams thanks to recently announced Soroptimist International of Las Cruces Live Your Dream Awards.
Recipients of cash grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 include a nursing student whose long-term goal is to put herself through medical school, then use her skills to improve health care for the Navajo Nation; an Afghan immigrant who in five years learned English, completed nursing school prerequisites and enrolled in a nursing program; a dental assistant pursing her ambition to become a dental hygienist; and an artist pursing her dream of becoming a designer.
All women provide primary financial support for dependents, parents and/or children. All have overcome significant personal obstacles including civil unrest, domestic violence, illness or poverty.
“While the primary focus of our program has been Las Cruces and Doña Ana County, we are pleased this year to be able to support such deserving women from a broader geographic area,” said Esther Devall, SI-Las Cruces president. “The Soroptimist mission is to provide women and girls with access to the education they need to achieve economic empowerment. Helping one woman anywhere achieve success is helping women everywhere. This year is the 50th anniversary of the LYDA program, so we are excited to be able to celebrate that milestone by adding three grants and doubling the amount of funding.”
In addition to a cash grant, each awardee received a laptop computer from Doña Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds and his wife, Maggie Reynolds. “I feel blessed to be in a position where we can show these women that they matter and can achieve their dreams,” Maggie Reynolds said. “To recognize their struggles and in some small way help them through those same difficult decisions that I had to make when I was in school is such a blessing and reward for me.”
The awards provide women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families with funds to offset costs of attaining post-secondary education or training, including expenses that most scholarships don’t cover. The program’s goal is to help women who have faced economic and personal hardships to live their dreams and build a better life for themselves and their dependents. Awardees were chosen by four community judges, based on demonstrated determination, resiliency and the ability to work toward goals. Soroptimist International of Las Cruces is the only Soroptimist Chapter in New Mexico and also serves the El Paso area because no club exists there.
This year’s cash awards were made possible by generous grants from the Wellness Fund of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, the Nusenda Community Awards program and the John and Eunice Davidson Fund.
Founded in 1970, Soroptimist International of Las Cruces is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a global volunteer organization that works to improve the lives of women and girls through community-based programs leading to economic empowerment. Soroptimist is a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs. To learn more about Soroptimist or make a donation, go to www.silcnm.org.