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How a Soroptomist scholarship helped a Pahrump mom of 3

Embarking on an educational path as an adult can be challenging and for those acting as head-of-household, it can be all the more difficult.

This is something that Soroptimist International understands and as a result, the nonprofit offers women around the globe the chance to receive some assistance in their academic endeavors through the Live Your Dream scholarship program.

“Are you a woman who has been enrolled or accepted into a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree program? Are you the primary financial support for yourself and your dependents? Apply now!” A flyer from the organization encourages.

The Live Your Dream Award provides more than $2.9 million in education awards to over 2,000 women around the world, over half of whom are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking or sexual assault, the organization details. “Nearly all of the women and families we serve have overcome enormous obstacles, including poverty, teen pregnancy and drug or alcohol addiction,” the nonprofit reports.

The program offers three levels of cash awards, local, regional and national. Finalists at the national level have the chance to receive a total of up to $16,000 to help offset the cost of their education. The funding can be used for absolutely any expenses related to their efforts at attaining higher education. Of course, this includes tuition but the money can also be used for various other needs, such as the purchase of books, securing transportation or finding reliable child care, defraying overall stress and allowing recipients to focus on their goals, rather than their bills.

In the Pahrump Valley, the area Soroptimist club recently announced the opening of its local application period and group leaders are pushing to spread to news.

“Our local plan this year is to give out more awards so we really want to get the word out,” Pahrump Soroptimist President Linda Fitzgibbons emphasized. “In the previous five years, we have given out one $1,000 award each year, with the exception of last year, when we gave out two awards totaling $1,900.”

For the 2023-2024 cycle, Soroptimist of the Pahrump Valley is aiming to award between $3,000 and $4,000 and each woman who receives a local award will then have the opportunity to move on to the regional level, which offers up to an additional $5,000, followed by the national level for even more cash.

“Our goal is to increase the number of awards we give out as the years go on, based on our fundraising efforts,” Fitzgibbons remarked.

One of the local women who received an award last year was Shauna “Shay” Dragna, a mom with three minor children she is single-handedly raising.

“I learned about the Live Your Dream scholarship a couple of years ago when my friend, Tiffany, won it. So when I saw the Soroptimist post on Facebook that they were accepting applications, I quickly applied,” Dragna told the Pahrump Valley Times. “I applied because I know it is Soroptimist’s mission to help people like me, low-income, single mothers. The scholarship was a tremendous help in making ends meet over the last year.”

Live Your Dream scholarship applications can be found at www.Soroptimist.org

The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Nov. 15.

For more information or assistance with filling out the application, contact local chairwomen Durette Candito at DuretteM@mac.com

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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