Soroptimist Honors Award Recipients

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International women's organization distributes more than $1.5 million in award money

Soroptimist, an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, recently honored the 2010 finalists of its Women’s Opportunity, Violet Richardson and Ruby awards. In total, more than $1.5 million was disbursed through these programs at various levels of the organization.

Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards
Lisa M. Boyd of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Myla H. Ningala of Baliwag, Bulacan, the Philippines; and Kimberly M. Thompson of Ashland, Oregon, were the three women chosen to receive the finalist 2010 Women’s Opportunity Awards, Soroptimist’s major program. The finalists each received a $10,000 finalist award. The awards, given annually to women working to enhance their economic status and improve life for themselves and their families, can be used for tuition, books, childcare, carfare or other education-related expenses.

Lisa M. Boyd found herself with two babies living on an isolated and derelict property, with no indoor plumbing, hot water, heat, phone or car. She was abused at the hands of her drug-addicted husband, and at one point was terrorized and harassed by people to whom her husband owed money. Today, Lisa is passionate about helping others, and thanks to the Women’s Opportunity Awards is working toward a degree as a social service worker at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. She received her award at the Soroptimist 41st Biennial Convention in San Francisco. Read more about Lisa.

Myla H. Ningala had always been a good student but had to drop out of school to help her sick mother and support her family. Wanting a better life for her children, she went to Malaysia for work, but found herself imprisoned by a couple who sexually and physically abused her. She eventually escaped to be reunited with her children. With help from the Women’s Opportunity Awards, Myla is now working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Baliwag University, majoring in computer science. Read more about Myla.

Kimberly M. Thompson was placed in the foster care system at the age of 10 and remained there until she graduated from high school. Alone and with no family to support her, she ended up pregnant, in an abusive relationship and homeless. Today, Kimberly wants to help children and is using her Women’s Opportunity Awards to earn an associates degree in early childhood education at Rogue Community College in Medford, Oregon. Kimberly accepted her award at the Soroptimist 41st Biennial Convention in San Francisco.

Soroptimist Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women

Lisa Culp of Sacramento, California is the recipient of Soroptimist’s 2010 Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women, which acknowledges the efforts of women who through their personal or professional activities work to improve the lives of women and girls. As the international finalist, originally nominated by the Greater Sacramento, California, Soroptimist club, Lisa received a $5,000 donation to her charitable organization and received her award at the Soroptimist 41st Biennial Convention in San Francisco. Read more about Lisa.

Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award

Talia Leman, 15, of Waukee, Iowa, is the recipient of Soroptimist’s 2010 Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes young women between the ages of 14 and 17 for volunteer service to their communities. As the Des Moines, Iowa, Soroptimist club’s finalist, Talia received $500. Soroptimist’s North Central Region awarded her another $1,000 for herself and $1,000 for her nonprofit, RandomKid: The Power of ANYone, which she founded to harness the giving power of kids. As Soroptimist’s international Violet Richardson Award finalist, Talia received an additional $2,500 for RandomKid. Read more about Talia.

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Soroptimist offers programs that improve the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment. Its major program, the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards, provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. Each year, about $1.5 million is disbursed to deserving women through this award-winning program. Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also sponsors the Live Your Dream campaign in recognition of the power of women and their dreams. Visit the campaign’s online home at: For more information on Soroptimist, visit

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Kamali Brooks
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