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Funding awarded to service groups
May 27, 2016 Frank Marquez   

Read more by Frank Marquez
From providing equine therapy to filling backpacks with food to helping earn a GED certificate, area service organizations benefited from $12,000 in grants presented by Soroptimist International of Scotts Bluff County on May 19, Thursday afternoon, at the Scotts Bluff Country Club.

Soroptimist local chapter President-elect Lisa Betz-Marquez said, “The service awards are an important part of the Soroptimist mission to improve the lives of women and girls. Soroptimists raise funds throughout the year in order to support education projects and programs, life skill building, poverty alleviation, physical and mental health.”

Betz-Marquez added, “Women and girls are among the most underserved throughout the world. Soroptimists work to change that here at home and abroad. Until women and girls have equal opportunities in all facets of life, our mission will not be complete. We have a long way to go, and we will not give up.”

Attending the luncheon, 17 organizations were presented with cash awards. They included the Back Pack Program; CASA; Friends of the Midwest Theater; the WNCC GED program; Girls on the Run; Theatre West, CAPWN Parent Cafecitos, CAPWN Family Stabilization, CAPstone, DOVES; West Nebraska Arts Center; Life Link/ESU 13; Delta Kappa Gamma International, CAPWN, Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center; Buckboard Riding Academy; Nebraska Panhandle Area Health Education Center. Representatives from each organization explained how the funds would be used, and expressed their appreciation for all the Soroptimists do for the community.

Current President Betsy Vidlak cited several statistics which emphasized the importance of the Soroptimist mission, shedding light on the shocking impropriety and inequity experienced by girls and women around the world.

The annual service award is funded through the proceeds of multiple fund raising efforts made throughout the year.

Most notably, in January, the organization’s Dancing with the Stars drew an overflow crowd at the Gering Civic Center, while a concert featuring Grammy award winning blues-funk band Blinddog Smokin’ played at Five Rocks Amphitheater in August, and those funds were also set aside for non-profits.

In supporting the causes of women and girls around the world, local members of Soroptimist also spend time with area high school sophomores in a program called Dream It, Be It, guiding and mentoring young women to make informed decisions about their careers, raising the possibility that all of them can attend college, and that one day they will find success in their chosen field or often the goal is for girls to think better about themselves, developing skills to take on more assertive and involved roles at school and/or the workplace.
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