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Community awards presentation

Loomis, Calif. – Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin (SILB) recently presented nearly $5,000 in community awards.

The club raises funds all year through events, such as the upcoming Tostada Bingo on March 28, to support local and international projects focused on women and girls.

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Violet Richardson Award

Undral Khuyag, who attends Del Oro High School and volunteers for Sacramento T.Y.C. (Team of Youth Care) club received the Violet Richardson Award that recognizes young women for their volunteer efforts that make the community and the world a better place. Khuyag  received a scholarship and a contribution was made to T.Y.C.

The goal of the Mongolian teenagers who belong to the T.Y.C. is to help the Sacramento community as well as provide international aid through fundraising and volunteering. Khuyag led the “Toys and Books for Kids” project by organizing volunteers to cook and serve at a Sacramento restaurant to raise money to send five boxes of toys, books and clothes to the Children’s Care Center in a hospital in Mongolia. 

“Since Mongolia is a developing country, the Children’s Care Center is crowded with little room and equipment,” said Khuyag. “I wanted to bring smiles to the children’s faces, and I realized that those books and toys we sent them may help to do just that. Dr. Adiyasuren, our contact in Mongolia, informed T.Y.C. how grateful everyone at the hospital was because they know they’re unable to afford such items themselves.”

Live Your Dream Award

Stephanie Lawler of Loomis won the Live Your Dream Award designed to help women provide the primary financial support for themselves and their dependents pursue additional education to upgrade their career skills.

Lawler’s goal is to become a licensed Ultrasound Technician and is currently enrolled at Sierra College in the Nursing Assistant program. “I hope to gain experience in the medical field as a nursing assistant while I continue my education towards my goal of becoming a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer,” said Lawler.

Ruby Award

Carol Parker, a volunteer chaplain with Placer County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy (PCLEC) was recognized for her countless hours of service to those faced with a death in the family, traumatic accident or other family crisis. The Ruby Award for Women Helping Women is given to those who improve the lives of other women or girls through their professional or personal activities.

The mission of PCLEC is to provide spiritual, emotional, and mental support to the Law Enforcement Community, their families, and the citizens of Placer County. Parker explained that she completed extensive training to serve as a PCLEC chaplain and is called out frequently in the middle of night, spending four to six hours with the family.

“Once on scene, our first duty is to fill the emotional needs of those involved by being a calming, caring and comforting presence,” said Parker. “One of the things I love about this is that I have been given some really great tools to help people move on and forward with their life – whether it be a 93 year old woman who has just lost the love of her life or a 22 year old mom who just lost her two month old child.”

Special Recognition

Fred & Acsa Hitchen received a grant to continue their work at the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis. The Center was founded in 1978 with support from Soroptimist International Loomis Basin. Those over age 55 can enjoy many social, physical and educational activities at the Senior L.I.F.E. Center.

Teacher Grants

Many years ago, the SILB club created a signature Teacher Grant program in addition to the Soroptimist International awards to support local schools. These grants help teachers fund projects that will have lasting impact on numerous classes over time.

Laurie Balsano, an 8th grade teacher at H. Clark Powers Elementary School, received a grant to purchase non-fiction books that will increase students’ vocabulary and world knowledge.

Melissa Davis, a 6th grade teacher at Loomis Basin Charter School, will be adding green tree frogs to her science classroom with the grant funds. The students will be able to observe the frogs as they learn about tropical regions and study animal adaptations.

Cinnamon Johnsrud, a 7th & 8th grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, will use her grant to upgrade technology. The students will use mini iPads to film and edit video news reports, screencasts and video essays to showcase what they are learning.

Kathy Lowry, a 3rd grade teacher at Ophir Elementary School, will be integrating art, science and citizenship lessons in cooperation with Save Auburn Ravine Salmon and Steelhead (SARSAS). She will purchase clay with the funds so that the students can make salmon-shaped ocarinas, a flute type instrument, and then learn how to play them.

Amanda Ross, a kindergarten teacher at Placer Elementary School, will use her grant to purchase a new egg incubator. She says that the children are so excited to watch the entire process of the ducklings hatching.

Kristen Strong teaches transition Kindergarten at Loomis Grammar School and will use the grant to purchase blocks for hands-on learning, applied math and creative thinking activities. Student projects include replicating designs from famous buildings and constructing skyscrapers.

Julie Trokey is the librarian at Penryn Elementary School. She will be selecting hard-bound updated non-fiction books on foreign countries that will broaden students’ understanding of world cultures and can be used for research projects.

About Soroptimist International Loomis Basin
Soroptimist ( 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.

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