The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards assist women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.
Each year, more than $1.7 million in education grants are awarded to more than 1,300 women, many of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence and/or drug and alcohol abuse. Live Your Dream Awards recipients may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation.
In addition to providing the primary financial support for their families, eligible applicants must be enrolled in, or have been accepted to, a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree program and must demonstrate financial need. Also, please note only residents of Soroptimist International of the Americas’ member countries and territories are eligible to apply for the educational grants.
The Live Your Dream Awards involves three levels of cash awards. The program begins at the local Soroptimist club-level, where award amounts vary. Local-level award recipients become eligible for region-level awards of either $3,000 or $5,000. Region-level award recipients then become eligible to receive one of three international-level awards of $10,000.
Since the Live Your Dream Awards program began in 1972, about $30 million in education grants have been disbursed to assist tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. In 2007, the program received the Associations Advance America Summit Award—ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership's highest level of recognition.
The three Coachella Valley Soroptimist International clubs awarded $2,300 each to three local women pursuing higher education to better the lives of themselves and their children.
The Live Your Dream Award (previously Women’s Opportunity Award) is bestowed upon women who are single heads of household attending college or trade school to improve their and their families’ lives. In the Coachella Valley, the three local clubs choose one recipient each and hold a single ceremony to honor the women and present them with their awards.
Melinda Joy Hooper, 38, a single mother of two was the award recipient chosen by Soroptimist International of Palm Springs. After marrying young, and having two children shortly thereafter, Melinda did not think college was in the cards for her. After two divorces, estrangement from her family, and working any jobs available to support her two children, Melinda has finally been able to begin to pursue her dreams of a higher education now that her children are both teenagers.
Melinda hopes to help others by becoming a nurse. She is currently enrolled at College of the Desert to get her prerequisites to qualify for the nursing program. Her plans are to get an Associates Degree in nursing, and to then work towards her Bachelors Degree. Soroptimist International of Palm Springs wishes Melinda the very best in all of her future endeavors.