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Loomis, Calif.- Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin (SILB) presented community awards on Wednesday, February 27 at the Train Depot in Downtown Loomis.

The club’s fundraising efforts, such as the upcoming Tostada Bingo on March 9, enable the club to fund these awards. Soroptimist supports women and children locally and throughout the world.


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Violet Richardson Award

Katie Conkle, a Del Oro High School student, received the Violet Richardson Award that recognizes young women who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts. She volunteers for Lakeside Equestrian Center Therapeutic Riding Program in Loomis. According to Conkle, the Lakeside program enhances the quality of life for people with disabilities by improving their muscle tone, social skills, flexibility and other skills. Participants perform different activities on horseback. “As a side walker, I walk alongside the horse with an arm over the rider’s leg,” said Conkle. “I make sure the rider is safe and lead them through various exercises and games.” She says that she has learned: “the importance of patience, to never give up and that it only takes a little bit of time to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.”

Women’s Opportunity Award

Kathryn Potts won the Women’s Opportunity Award that aids women who support their families and need additional training to upgrade their employability. Potts is a single mother of two children who attends Sierra College with the goal of becoming an automotive technician or an automotive service writer. “I have always liked fixing thing and seeing how they work,” said Potts. “By working in this traditionally male field, I will be able to make a great life for my kids.” According to Sierra College faculty member, Johnnie Terry, Potts has been persistent in the pursuit of her dreams. “She has an education plan and knows what moves to take to fulfill it,” said Terry. “She will also make an excellent role model for her daughter.”

Ruby Award

Sherrie Doupnik Edgar won the Ruby Award for Women Helping Women that is given to those who improve the lives of other women or girls through their professional or personal activities. According to Chris Hebard-Summers, Edgar initiated the Loomis Christmas Basket program over 10 years ago. “She has worked tirelessly in the community for the past 25 years,” said Hebard-Summers. “She is a Loomis Chamber of Commerce past-president, South Placer Heritage Foundation board member and Cowpoke Fall Gathering committee member.” Edgar is the president of Gary Doupnik Manufacturing and lives in Loomis.

Sanford J. Weinberg Reader Award

Jennifer McAlister received the Sanford J. Weinberg Reader Award, given to a volunteer who reads to students. She was nominated by teacher Kathy Lowry who says that McAlister is a dedicated volunteer. “She has spent four years as a ‘Volunteer Reader’ in K-3 classrooms at Ophir Elementary School,” said Lowry.

Special Recognition

Fred & Acsa Hitchen received a grant to continue their work at the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis, a place where adults over 55 years of age enjoy social and educational activities as well as lunch contributed by local businesses and organizations. Soroptimist International Loomis Basin helped establish the center in 1978 and has supported the program since its inception.

 Fuzzy Jarnagin accepted the grant to American Legion Post #775. American Legion members are veterans who have served active duty in the armed forces of the United States during a period of conflict. Soroptimist appreciates the many ways that the veterans have partnered with the club to support community events such as the Loomis Family Fest and Loomis Easter Egg Hunt.

Teacher Grants

SILB provides small grants to help fund teachers’ long-term projects that will benefit numerous classes over time.

 Bobbi Nelson and Angela Smith, Kindergarten teachers at Franklin School, received grants to buy a set of leveled reading books with appropriate text, pictures and vocabulary for beginning reading in kindergarten.

 Jennifer Ameigeiras, a Title One teacher at H. Clarke Powers School, will use her grant to start and facilitate a student-run morning news program for 7/8th grade students. Students will write, produce, edit and star in a news and edit a news broadcast to deliver school-wide morning announcements.

Patricia Sleizer, Kindergarten teacher at H. Clarke Powers School, was awarded a grant to purchase the “Daily 5,” a program which uses different media and activities to foster literacy independence and improve reading and writing skills.

Rebecca Kattenhorn, 8th grade teacher at Loomis Grammar School, will use her award to rebuild her class library to help her students reach their goal of reading 40 books this school year. 

Susan McQueen, 6th grade math and science teacher at Loomis Grammar School, received a grant to buy “The Hands-On Equations Learning System,” a supplemental math program that uses visual and kinesthetic approaches to provide students with a foundation for success with algebra. 

Tracey Curry, 1st grade teacher at Ophir Elementary School, was given an award to purchase Learning Palettes, tactile manipulative kits that can be used by multiple students year after year to reinforce and practice key first grade math and reading concepts. 

Dana Swain, 4th grade teacher at Placer School, received a grant to buy the “All About Banking” project to enhance both math and history curricula. This program will reinforce the concept of decimals while working with money, and teach students about banking services, financial institutions and how money impacts us every day as a cornerstone of our economy.                                                                         

Amanda Tibbits, Kindergarten teacher at Placer School, will use her award to purchase reading books to build the kindergarten leveled readers’ library. These books can be read in small or large groups, with buddies or one-on-one.

 For information about Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin, contact Kaera Anzalone, president at 652-4024. Learn more about joining the club at a prospective member mixer on Wednesday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. at Rejuvenate, located at 3431 Taylor Road in Loomis.

 Meetings are held weekly on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. at the Train Depot at the corner of Taylor and Horseshoe Bar Roads in Loomis. Starting in April, the club will hold an evening meeting on the second Wednesday of the month at Lorenzo’s Mexican Restaurant in Loomis.

 Follow the club on the Soroptimist Loomis Basin Facebook page. Join us for Tostada Bingo on March 9 at the Loomis Veteran’s Hall; get $20 tickets at the Loomis Chamber Office.

Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin is a 501(c)(3) organization. The club supports Loomis L.I.F.E. center, women’s transition home and other community projects.