Unlocking the Potential of Women and Girls
Soroptimist International is a global volunteer organization with over 160,000 members and supporters in 21 countries whose main objective is to provide women and girls with access to the education they need to build self-determination and achieve economic empowerment. The name, Soroptimist, means “best for women,” and that is what the organization strives to achieve. Soroptimists are women at their best, working to help other women to be their best. Their mission is to make an impact on women and girls who face obstacles such as poverty, violence, or teen pregnancy and investing in their potential to help make their dreams come true.
The Soroptimist International of Napa club, comprised of approximately 40 members, is led by President, Leigh Krieger. This team of local women volunteer their time and leadership skills to carry out the organization’s mission and to raise funds to support the women and girls in Napa Valley. Their prime fundraising event is the Soroptimist Lobster Fest hosted every Fall. The grassroots affair usually raises around $25,000, which is leveraged to fund educational programs, awards, and scholarships to women in need.
Every year the group sponsors a ‘Live Your Dream, Education and Training Award,’ which provides women in need who are head-of-household, enrolled in college or a trade school, with a cash award to help them achieve their dreams for a better life for themselves and their children. The first- place winner receives $2000 in cash plus gift cards throughout the year for support. The money is utilized as needed by each the honoree to achieve her unique goals, from daycare to transportation. Past recipients claim while they are very appreciative of the financial support, they feel even more em- powered by the encouragement they receive. For girls, Soroptimist of Napa sponsors the ‘Mariposa S Club,’ a hands-on project where members mentor high school girls and teach them the value of serving others and helping in the community by leading their own service projects. Another program entitled ‘The Future is You,’ is an annual scholarship program offered to all graduating senior girls in Napa Valley Unified. Six $1000 scholarships are awarded, giving preference to first-time college students and to those who have overcome obstacles. Soroptimist also honors an outstanding teenage girl for volunteerism through the ‘Violet Richardson Award.’ The honoree receives $500 in cash and $500 donated to the charity of her choice. Along with these annual programs, Soroptimist International of Napa impacts women and girls to achieve economic empowerment through ongoing fundraising and support for the Monarch Justice Center, Mariposa, MomSquad, Community Resources for Children, and Girls on the Run to name a few.
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