Loomis Soroptimists honor community standouts

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A group of talented, enterprising and dedicated students, women and men have been recognized by Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin. The presentation of community awards took place March 23 at the Loomis Depot. The club’s fundraising efforts such as the recent Tostada Bingo, held March 12, enable the club to support women and children in the community. Sarah A. Dietz, 16, a student at Del Oro High School, received the Violet Richardson Award that recognizes young women who make the community and world a better place through volunteer efforts. She won a cash award and selected the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis as the non-profit organization to receive the other half of the award. Dietz also volunteers at the Sacramento Crisis Nursery. “When we were there, we played with the children, cooked dinner and did an activity,” Dietz said. Ashley Day of Citrus Heights, a single mother of two children, won the Women’s Opportunity Award that aids women who must support their families and need additional training to upgrade their employability. Day attends Intercoast College with the goal of becoming an alcohol and drug counselor. Instructor Donna Brint said that passion, desire and education are essential elements for a counselor. “Ashley has passion and desire and with the help of Soroptimist will gain her education,” Brint said. Amy Beazizo, R.N., BSN, OCN, won the Soroptimist 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. Beazizo is the clinical manager of the Breast Health Center at Sutter Roseville, a not-for-profit prganization that provides support and education to women and men diagnosed with breast cancer. According to Brenda Newsom, past present of the local Soroptimist club, Beazizo helps women who seek emotional, intellectual and physical support as they begin their journey with breast cancer. “Amy meets with each woman seeking help, listens to her story and moves the woman into their program of counseling and free services,” Newsom said. “She is making a dramatic improvement in the lives of countless women who have heard the words, ‘You have breast cancer’ by moving them out of the terror zone and into the educated zone.” Fred and 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 can enjoy leisure through social and educational activities. The Soroptimist club helped establish the center and has supported the program since its inception. Small grants to help fund teachers’ long-term projects that will benefit numerous classes over time were also made. Laurel Nichols, a second-grade teacher at H. Clarke Powers Elementary School, will use her grant for a DVD listening center to expose children to new stories and teach them phrasing, expression and accuracy. Steve Harber and Linsey Dalben, sixth-grade teachers at Powers School, received a grant to help pay for the shipping of 50-60 care boxes being sent to soldiers stationed in Afghanistan in a project with the daughter of the school clerk. Tiffany Senkbeil, fourth-grade teacher at Franklin Elementary School, expects to purchase a set of 30 “Island of the Blue Dolphin” books for her class with the grant. The story engages and interests students in reading and other cultures. Carolynn Basque and Kathryn Leupp, first-grade teachers at Franklin School, plan to use the grant to purchase sets of leveled reading books to teach each child at his or her reading level or ability. Christie D’Ambrosio, first-grade teacher at Loomis Basin Charter School, intends to use her grant funds to help purchase an incubator and heat lamps to raise chicks and teach students about embryonic development. Justin VonSpreckelsen, second-grade teacher at Loomis Basin Charter School, received a grant to purchase MP3 players so that students can record themselves reading and then classmates can listen to the recording as they read to improve fluency, compression and expression. 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. To learn more Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin, contact Rhonda Morillas, president, at 652-5276. Meetings are held at 8 a.m. weekly Wednesdays, except the first Wednesday.