Some remarkable women in the Parker community have been honored by Soroptimist International of Parker. The Soroptimists held their annual “Live Your Dream” luncheon April 9 at Arizona Western College.
On their website, Soroptimist International describes themselves as a global volunteer organization that improves the lives of women and girls with programs that lead to social and economic empowerment. Their motto is “Helping women and girls live their dreams.”
The title award of the luncheon, the “Live Your Dream Award,” was presented to Christine Nordet and Courtney Kom. Described as the Soroptimists’ signature award program, this award honors a woman who’s trying to improve her socio-economic status through education, gaining additional skills or training. It’s not a scholarship, but is meant to help offset the costs associated with their efforts, including supplies, childcare and transportation.
Nordet received $2,000 towards her education. She described how she was raised in a bad environment in California that involved violence, gangs, addiction and drugs. She has left that environment, and is now trying to raise her family in Parker.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to live my dream,” she said.
Kom is the outreach director for the Parker Area Alliance for Community Empowerment. She was a student at the University of California-Davis, but had to leave when her father died. She is now seeking a degree in political science, and she wants to put it to use in La Paz County. She received $1,000.
There were two recipients of the “Making a Difference of Women Award,” which was presented by Lisa Hammond. Laura Flores, a teacher at Parker High School, was one recipient. She was unable to attend the luncheon, so Parker High Vice Principal David Daly accepted it in her place.
The other recipient was Parker High teacher and volleyball coach Marie Maya. Noting Maya had won the award some years earlier, Hammond said this should be called the “Still Making a Difference for Women Award.”
Maya said she was surprised by the award, and said he had been invited to the luncheon because one of her students, Ana Briones, was receiving a scholarship.
That scholarship was the Esther Beaver Memorial Scholarship, and it was presented by Linsey McGuire. Three Parker High seniors were named recipients: Gabriella Palma for $500, Ana Briones for $1,000, and Elisa Martinez for $2,000.
The Alyson Tozer Memorial Scholarship was presented to JoAnn Van Anrooy. The scholarship is named after Aly Tozer, a young woman and former Soroptimist who died in 2014 at the age of 21 of complications from cystic fibrosis.
In presenting the award, Kit Furnell said Tozer had been an inspiration to everyone around her. A special plaque of appreciation was presented to Aly’s parents, Rich and Teresa Tozer.
Three members of Soroptimist were presented with awards for longtime service: Linsey McGuire (5 years), Amber Byrd (10 years) and Meredith Campbell (35 years).
Soroptimist International of Parker was chartered in 1965. Since then, they have donated more than $250,000 to recipients in the area. Their current projects include the Soroptimist wing at the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter, the annual Kids & Christmas Program, and the Parade of Lights. They sponsor the S Club at Parker High School. They sell See’s Candies every year as a fundraiser.