Spotlight on’s Volunteer Judges

Each year, extends an invitation to our donors and supporters to participate in a unique volunteer opportunity. These volunteers have the privilege of judging applications for our Live Your Dream: Education & Training Awards for Women, helping us determine the deserving recipients of our grants!

The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards (formerly known as the Women’s Opportunity Awards) are annual cash grants given to women who are the primary financial supporters of their families and are seeking to improve their education and employment prospects. The awards aim to empower women to achieve their career and life aspirations and improve their lives and the lives of their families.

In this year’s round of judging, nearly 250 virtual volunteers took part, and 50 outstanding women were selected for a Live Your Dream Award.

Since it’s Volunteer Week, we thought it would be fun to celebrate by highlighting a couple of our volunteer judges and sharing some of our volunteers’ remarks that show just how incredible they are!

It’s a very humbling experience being a virtual judge. To read the sometimes harrowing accounts of women who have fought against the odds to make a better life for themselves and their children, and know that in some small way I can help.

Ina K.

It is a rewarding experience to learn about the struggles women have dealt with and overcome.

Ann D.

It doesn’t take much time to have an impact that could last a lifetime.

Edmund W.

I am moved when I read the journeys these women have undertaken in their quest for independence and self-improvement. They all have had to face some very tough choices and most have endured many things that would deter many from moving forward.

Robert M.

After a difficult childhood as the daughter of migrant parents, a prolonged battle with kidney disease, and years of putting her dreams on hold to raise her daughter, Alma is now pursuing her education dreams with the help of the Live Your Dream Awards.

There are times when I cannot imagine adding anything to my plate—then comes the beginning of January, the time when I have a reminder to look for my invitation to judge Live Your Dream Awards applications. After three years of judging, I MAKE the time to review submissions, leaving bias behind and appreciating the blessing of reading personal testimonials, including a vision for their involvement in creating something better. Everyone has a story. I know what it means to be a recipient because I am one. Helping others through the judging process can change someone’s life. It is priceless. It is a priority. Live Your Dream is more than words because you can’t just abandon your life and live a dream—it’s a badge of honor. It justifies that a dream of better is heard and supported—so keep going. And judging is the most rewarding volunteer experience I’ve had in 30 years.

Melissa T.

It was an honor reading and judging all of the women. So many challenges but also so much perseverance. Being a woman is hard and being a mother is even harder. It touches my heart to know Soroptimist is able to help women in need achieve their heart’s desire. It’s not about how you start, it’s about you choose to finish. So above all else, finish strong knowing that you can achieve exceedingly and abundantly all that you could ever dream of. Thank you

Kassandra B.

As a past Soroptimist member, I enjoyed being connected again to the organization by judging the award applicants. I am constantly amazed by the stories of strong, resilient women who overcome adversity. Here’s to strong women… May we be them, may we know them, may we raise them. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to help Soroptimist.

Maureen L.

Being a judge made me feel appreciated and needed in my community. You gave me an opportunity to give back, and I am grateful for the experience and would love to participate again.

Sheila W.

Thank you to all of our incredible, generous, thoughtful volunteer judges!

Want to be part of next year’s volunteer judging? Subscribe to our email list to get updates!


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