Live Your Dream Award: Education & Training Awards for Women

Applications for next year’s awards are available now. Deadline: November 15, 2017

Application (print or save to your computer – writeable form): Live Your Dream Application SI Gresham

Reference form (print or save to your computer): Live Your Dream Award Reference Form

Submit application to: SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF GRESHAM, PO BOX 802 GRESHAM OR 97030 or email to

The Live Your Dream, Education and Training Awards for Women, assists women who have primary financial responsibilities for themselves and their families. These women are entering or re-entering the workforce to obtain the education and skills training they need to improve their employment status. Further details are on the application form. The women may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, including books, childcare and transportation.

The program begins at the local club level, where cash award amounts vary. Club recipients become eligible to receive region-level awards in each of SIA’s 28 regions. The 28 first-place recipients then become eligible to receive one of three $10,000 awards.  Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women annually disburses about $1.7 million in education grants to
 more than 1,200 women who have overcome enormous personal obstacles.

2017 Live Your Dream Award Recipients:

2017 LYD Award Winners with Community Members





















2016 Live Your Dream Award Recipients:

2016 LYD Award Winners with Mayor Bemis

Lizet Gonzalez Ortiz received SIG’s first place award of $3,500. Lizet attended the Transitions program at MHCC, which helped form her into the strong woman she is today. Hard work, patience and a “different way of thinking” helped her heal from her abusive past. Besides her studies in Public Health, she has two daughters she affectionately refers to as “angels.” Lizet is a Family Resource Coordinator at Northwest Family Services.

Desiree Rochelle Zenor received the second place award of $2,500. An honor’s graduate of MHCC, she is now enrolled at Portland State. In 2011 she watched her brother die from the same addiction that took her mother. Desiree was forced to look at her own addiction and the life she wanted for her children. Homeless and addicted to methamphetamine she sought treatment. She is a 2013 recipient of the Live Your Dream Award.

Sarah Miller is the third place recipient, receiving $1,500. With the help of the Native American Rehabilitation Association, Sarah was able to start a journey toward recovery from alcohol addiction. Currently a student at MHCC, Sarah’s goal is to attend Lewis and Clark to study Tribal Law. Sarah finds her strength through her children, church and Alcoholics Anonymous.

In addition to our Live Your Dream award recipients, Paulina Sanchez was awarded our Mt Hood Endowed Scholarship for the 2015-16 school year.

Congratulations to all these inspiring women.

2015 Live Your Dream Award Recipients:

SIG’s first place award recipient, receiving $3500, is Stephanie Zuercher. Stephanie also received an additional $1500 award from Soroptimist Northwestern Region. Stephanie took steps to change her life and seek a new future for herself and her daughter by leaving an abusive situation and enrolling in the Transitions Program at Mt. Hood Community College. She has “set her sights” on becoming a dental hygienist and recently was accepted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Roll Society.

Shannon Smythe is SIG’s second place Live Your Dream Award recipient, receiving $2000. Shannon, mother of three and grandmother of two, is currently enrolled in the Transitions Program at Mt. Hood Community College. After surviving separation from her family, homelessness, poverty and addiction, Shannon is determined to make a difference in her life and the lives of her family members.

Congratulations to both Live Your Dream Award winners.

2015 Violet Richardson Award Recipients:

As SIG begins preparation for our new Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls program, this was our last year to award the Violet Richardson Award to worthy high school girls who have done outstanding volunteer work in their communities and whose activities make their communities and world a better place.

Anastasiya Parvankin was SIG’s first place winner, receiving $1500.A student at Sam Barlow High School, she began her volunteer activities at age 10 with the summer reading program at the Multnomah County Library. After being selected as Head Summer Reading Program Volunteer at Albina Library and then the Gresham Library, she now manages 40+ volunteers, scheduling their activities and providing necessary written and verbal instructions. She also volunteers at Legacy Mount Hood Medical Center and believes her volunteering has been a stepping stone toward realizing her career goals in business and finance.

Isis-Dominique Navarro was awarded second place, $1000, for her support to Friends of Trees, a non-profit organization. A student at Sam Barlow High School, she began planting trees her freshman year and is now a leader in the program and instructs a crew in their tree-planting activities. Isis was also Gresham’s “Great Young Citizen” in 2014.

Congratulations to both these outstanding students.


2014 Live Your Dream Award:

The 2014 first place winner Sandra Acosta Casillas is the mother of four children and is working toward a Bachelor of Science in Business degree. She is an amazing women who has overcome many obstacles in life. Sandra is determined to improve her skills in management to further her career so that she can provide for her family. Sandra was submitted to the Soroptimist NW Region for an additional award.


Sayra Tuxpan is our second place winner. Sayra is a single mother of two. Sayra decided to go back to school to ensure that her children have a better future. She is enrolled at Mt Hood Community College and plans to transfer to Concordia University and obtain a Bachelors degree in accounting.