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Local Women’s Group Will Host 30th Annual Awards Luncheon

Susan Alonzo  | Published on 4/23/2015

Chandler, AZ  April 9, 2015  --   Exceptional women of the East Valley will be honored at the 30th Annual Awards Luncheon hosted by Soroptimist International of the San Tans (SIST).  The awards luncheon will recognize outstanding women and women-focused organizations who have gone beyond expectations in working to improve their lives as well as others. The event will be held on Thursday, April 23, at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Hotel in downtown Chandler from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.


“The theme for this year’s SI of the San Tans Annual Award Banquet is ‘In Her Shoes,’ to raise awareness of sexual trafficking, domestic abuse and child abuse,”  said Brenda Brown, SIST President.  “There is an old saying: ‘You can't really understand another person's experience until you've walked a mile in their shoes.’  This year we have focused on addressing these complicated, difficult and often ugly issues so that we can help to be more successful in preventing the exploitation of women and girls.”  


During the program, Ms. Brown, who is also the Cultural Affairs Director, City of Chandler, will present the following awards and then allow a few minutes for each recipient to share their heartwarming stories of challenge, tragedy and success. 


San Tan Nonprofit Partner Award:  Each year, SIST selects a nonprofit organization to be a partner organization, and works with that organization to plan and implement a service project and awards a cash grant.  This year’s nonprofit partner is Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, whose mission is to promote the self-esteem and enrich the lives of children in foster care in Arizona by funding social, athletic and educational activities that provide them with quality experiences while they live through difficult circumstances.


San Tan Awards:  In addition to the Partner Award, three other nonprofit organizations are selected each year as recipients of the San Tan Award, which includes recognition at our luncheon, an invitation to speak to members of the club at a regular program meeting, and a cash award.  The three San Tan Award winners for this year are: Free Arts for Abused Children, whose mission is to heal abused and homeless children through artistic expression;Seeds for Autism whose goal is to nurture and mentor young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder in order for them to achieve a clearer understanding of their potential.  Staff and volunteers teach real life skills, engaging the participants to problem solve, stay on task, work independently, and work as a team player; and Starbright Foundation, whose goal is to reach out to children who have experienced any kind of abuse: emotional, spiritual, physical, or mental.  They focus particularly on children and young adults rescued from human sex trafficking and slavery, and they provide a “safe house” for those youth.


In addition to supporting the community service efforts of nonprofit organizations, SIST also awards five individual women for their exemplary work in their owns lives as they seek to help others. 

The Live Your Dream Award, which assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families, will be awarded to Cassandra Reeves.  Ms. Reeves is in the Weekend Nursing Program at Glendale Community College. She is the mother of a 2 year-old daughter and has a career goal is to become a Registered Nurse. She was encouraged to apply for the Live Your Dream Award by Helping Hands for Single Moms. The award may be used to offset any costs associated with efforts to attain higher education, such as books, childcare and transportation.

Bridget Tetley Award will be awarded to Helen Evans, a student at South Mountain Community College where she is studying social work and communication.  She is the mother of 3 children ages 18, 16, and 4 and will transfer to NAU in the fall.  Ms. Evans was encouraged to apply for the Live Your Dream Award by Helping Hands for Single Moms.  This award is named in honor of Bridget Tetley, a member of Soroptimists who died in a tragic accident and who had been a particularly strong advocate for the “Live Your Dream” award.

This year’s Violet Richardson Award winner is Kathryn Moore, who volunteers with the Wings of Life organization in Apache Junction. This award is given to young women engaged in volunteer action within their communities or schools The award winner receives a cash award as well as an honorarium given in her name to the organization with which she volunteers.  Wings of Life is an organization founded by  Karen Perry, in memory of her 3 children who were killed in a tragic plane crash.  The program provides free after-school enrichment programs for underprivileged children. 


The Hannah Apperson Award will be given to Olivia Talarico, who volunteers with the Arizona Science Center, working with the “Camp Innovation” program.  This award is sponsored by SIST club member, Joyce Apperson, who established the award in memory of her granddaughter, Hannah.  Ms. Talarico will receive a cash award as well as an honorarium given in her name to the organization with which she volunteers.


This year’s Ruby Award For Women Helping Women will be awarded to Ashley Crossman, who is being honored for her work with the Girls on the Run organization.  Ms. Crossman’s organization is a physical activity-based program designed to develop and enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical competencies to successfully navigate life experiences.  An honorarium in her name will be given to Girls on the Run. The Ruby Award honors women who have worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their professional and/or volunteer work  In honor of the first federation president, Ruby Lee Minar.


The SIST annual awards luncheon provides a platform to recognize exceptional women in the community while serving as SIST’s primary fundraising event of the year.  All proceeds from the awards luncheon will be used to fund and honor the awardees.  See:

for more information about the awards luncheon and to purchase reservations.


Soroptimist International of the San Tans is a nonprofit organization of business and professional women working to improve the lives of women and girls, in our local communities and throughout the world.  The local San Tans chapter serves the Chandler area through service, public awareness and fundraising.  Soroptimist literally means “best for women.”  New members are always welcome.  SIST meets Thursdays at noon at the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort Hotel. 






Soroptimist International of the San Tans  

Serving the East Valley since January 1984


Part of the Golden West Region of Soroptimist International of the Americas


SI of the San Tans is a 501 (c) (3) all volunteer, nonprofit organization


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