Last week Soroptimist International of the Sierras held their annual Make a Difference for Women Awards Recognition Program and five Mountain Area women were recognized for their contributions to the community. Those women were: Stefanie Martin, Christine Stephens, Patti Fuentes, Donna Dozier, and Robyn Holland.
Both Martin and Stephens were given the Women's Opportunity Award for striving to obtain the skills and education to improve their employment status and standard of living for them and their family. Each woman was given $1,000, plus a $100 gas gift card.
Martin, a single mother to 7-year-old Katelyn Crow, is currently attending the Institute of Technology to be an administrative office professional.
"The money means a lot to me, but the main thing that meant so much to me was the support," Martin said. "When I heard the letters (nominations) that people wrote about me, it brought tears to my eyes. These people had faith in me. It really helped my self esteem."
Martin said she hopes to use the money to take some Spanish classes in order to be bilingual and improve her chances of employment.
Stephens, a single mother with two girls, 6 year-old Dashaya and 12 year-old Natine, is attending California State University, Fresno, to get her bachelor of science degree in nursing. She plans to continue he education and earn a master's degree in nursing. She currently works at Saint Agnes Medical Center in the emergency department as a physician scribe where she works closely with doctors to document patient procedures.
A resident of Coarsegold, Stephens is also a stylist at Bebe Store in Fresno and is a free lance make-up artist.
"When I heard I was a recipient of the Women's Opportunity Award, I felt very honored to be recognized and awarded this scholarship from the Soroptimist Club," Stephens said. "As a single parent raising two children while going to school full time and working, these funds will help me to continue my education and allow me to reach my career goals."
Pattie Fuentes and Donna Dozier were given the Soroptimist Ruby Award for their non-profit chapter of Women Helping Women (H.O.W.) that they started last May. The purpose of H.O.W. is to honor a woman each month who has suffered a devastating loss.
"The Soroptimist is a wonderful organization," Fuentes said. "I am so honored to be recognized with the Ruby Award. It is a team effort. Without our team of Jodi Dillion, Susan Dykes, Donna Dozier and myself, we couldn't do what we do. This is not only the Ruby Award for our team but Ruby slippers for us all."
Holland was the recipient of the Women of Distinction Award for all her generosity to community fundraisers.
"She never says no to anyone," said Soroptimist Rhonda Dewey. "She always just gives and gives and gives, so that's the reason she was nominated and why she received that award."