This year our club returned to the Dundas Golf and Country Club for our annual awards dinner. It was with great excitment that we met our recipients:
Ruby Award: Leanne Kilby, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society, Hamilton Branch. This newly named award, formally titled Making a Difference for Women, is in recognition of professional service that impacts the community.
The Elizabeth Fry Society works with and for women and girls in the justice system, particularly those who are, or may be, criminalized; based in the community, the Elizabeth Fry Society is committed to seeking out and organizing community resources to give humane assistance to women in contact with the legal system; assisting them in making positive choices in their lives; and monitoring the judicial and corrections systems to promote improvements when and where possible.
Violet Richardson Award: This award is presented to a young lady between the ages of 14 and 17 years – who has undertaken exemplary voluntary work within the community or their school and applications this year were received from schools in the Dundas, Ancaster and Flamborough area.
This year our winner has given much of her time to her school’s Girls Athletic Association – but more than that, through the Association she has learned to recognise that not all girls have the kind of athletic ability the Association would generally attract. So she set about helping the Association to encourage those lesser athletic girls to participate in non competitive and competitive but healthy activities like yoga, and team sports at their level. By doing this she hopes that a more diverse selection of girls will participate in sport, which in turn will help build confidence and improve leadership skills.
The winner of the Violet Richardson Award this year is Colleen Wilson of Ancaster High School who will receive a cheque for $300. A second cheque for $200 is given to the charity of Colleen’s choice and, understandably, she has chosen the Ancaster High School Girls Athletic Association. This cheque will be accepted by Jessica Ross, Executive Member, on behalf of the Association.
Women’s Opportunity Award: This award is given to financially help a woman who is the head of her household (providing primary financial support for the family) and who is undertaking an educational course or has been accepted on an educational course, which once completed should help increase her employment prospects. This is a signature award for Soroptimist International, and honours women throughout the world.
This year our winner, Sarah Rutherford, is currently taking a course to qualify as a Personal Support Worker. Over a number of years she has managed to overcome many extremely difficult personal obstacles, whilst at the same time admirably bringing up her two children (both of whom joined us for dinner). Her perseverance to overcome her problems one at a time should be an inspiration to all women and we wish her and her girls well for the future.
Our club would like to extend a special word of thanks to the volunteer judges for the Women’s Opportunity Award, Dr. Heather Sheardown, McMaster University, Judith Johnson, United Church of Canada, and Deborah Martin, Interval House. In addition, we’d like to recognize the tireless work of the award standing committee who advertised the competition by hand delivering notices to all the local schools, colleges and universities, followed up with potential applicants and judged the Violet Richardson award: Pauline Hardcastle (Chair), Kim Gordon, Lynda Switzer and Janet Barnard.