Soroptimist International of Davis awarded a record $20,000 in funds in 2022 through its signature Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women.
Women are encouraged each year to apply for the awards if they are the primary wage earners for their families, and need financial assistance to further their education or training. Recipients have often faced hardships or challenging circumstances.
This year, SI Davis gave a boost to six women, with cash awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. These unrestricted grants may be used to offset costs that a scholarship wouldn’t, such as child care, transportation or other financial obligations that hinder a woman’s ability to reach her goals. Soroptimist International of Davis members remain in contact with the recipients, offering them mentorship and support.
The top 2022 recipient is Amanda Long, a UC Davis microbiology student who commutes from Citrus Heights so her 9-year-old daughter’s school and day care won’t be disrupted.
Long is a first-generation college student but hopes not to be the last. As she nears graduation, the single mom told Soroptimist members that she’s “becoming someone who my younger self would never had thought possible. … I can see the effects that my education has on my young daughter.”
Long is looking for work as a clinical lab scientist, and plans to eventually apply to graduate school. She’s been studying antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and hopes to continue in that area. The Live Your Dream award is being used to pay for transportation costs.
Another awardee is Brooklyn Johnson of Davis, a single mom of a toddler, and a caretaker for her autistic brother. She survived a car accident in 2018 that broke her pelvis. A student at Sacramento City College, she is pursuing her dream to become a registered nurse. She plans to eventually transfer to Sacramento State or UC Davis. The award will help Johnson repair and maintain her car, freeing up her worry about transportation.
“I want to become a nurse so I can support my community during these trying times…I’m trying to be the best example I can be for my daughter.”—Brooklyn Johnson, Soroptimist International of Davis 2022 Live Your Dream: Education & Training Award recipient
Other 2022 SI Davis Live Your Dream awardees are listed below. Due to privacy concerns, some identifying information has been excluded. Recipients are:
Kielana, a UC Davis pre-med student who wants to become an obstetrician/gynecologist. She hopes to someday offer free, quality medical care to underserved individuals and people of color like herself. She has an infant child.
- A woman who supports her younger sister after their parents were deported to Mexico. She is using the funds to pay for welding classes. She wants to own her own company and employ other female welders.
- A woman with cerebral palsy who is the first to attend college in her family. As she studies psychology, her primary goal is to educate others about people with disabilities. She supports a spouse who has no income.
- A cosmetologist who used the funds to study natural plant science, in the hopes of developing her own products. She is a single mom to a 5-year-old son.
The Live Your Dream Award provides more than $2.8 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception in 1972, more than $35 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families.
A study conducted by The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, confirmed the efficacy and impact of this program. It improves the recipients’ quality of life; builds their confidence; strengthens their self-determination and makes them want to, in turn, help others. Helping women in this way has the demonstrated effect of leading to stronger communities, nations, and the world.
Soroptimist is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. Founded in Oakland in 1921, it recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Soroptimist International of Davis was chartered in 1954. Local members join some 75,000 Soroptimists in 122 countries and territories to contribute time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls. Its core values are gender equality, empowerment, education, diversity and fellowship.
In addition to the Live Your Dream Award, Soroptimist International of Davis provides local girls with tools to achieve their education and career goals through its Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program at King High School. It also funds high school scholarships, annual grants to nonprofits that align with the Soroptimist mission, and anti-trafficking efforts.