(Originally published in the 3/25/16 edition)
Soroptimist International of Benicia held its awards luncheon Thursday to honor local women who have made a difference in the community.
Founded in 1921, Soroptimist International is a volunteer service organization for professional women that contributes time and provides financial support to community-based projects that benefit women and girls.
Soroptimist International of Benicia was founded in 1976 and meets every Thursday at The First Baptist Church or Sprankle’s Deli with the goal of improving the lives of local women and girls through programs that deliver social and economic empowerment. The organization also holds a domestic violence vigil in October and is accepting funds to establish a Safe House in Benicia.
The luncheon, held at Venticellos Ristorante Italiano, was well-attended by club and community members including Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. Awards were given to several local women who had worked to improve lives within the community. The Live Your Dream Award, which assists women who financially support their families by giving them the necessary resources to improve their education and employment goals, was given to Raquelmarie Clark who was also the winner within the district. Clark helps lay out the newsletter for the Benicia Moms Group and is an assistant office manager with the Benicia-based Plan-It Interactive.
The Violet Richardson Award, given to teenage girls who are active volunteers, was given to Benicia High School senior Eliza Partika. Partika has been a teen volunteer with Benicia Public Library and is a secretary with Benicia High’s Soroptimist Club. Partika has received a $500 grant which she has chosen to donate to the Soroptimist Club’s Safe House project.
Taking second and third place, respectively, for the Violet Richardson Award were Partika’s twin sister Enid and Liberty High School senior Kylie Lee-Wright.
The Ruby Award, given to women who have worked to improve the lives of females through professional or volunteer work, was bestowed upon Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge for her service on the City Council and fashion shows benefiting Soroptimist International.
A Service Award was given to Bonnie Silveria for her 25 years with Soroptimist International of Benicia, and Police Chief Erik Upson was sworn in as a new member.
For more information on the organization, visit SoroptimistOfBenicia.org.
Police Chief Erik Upson (Center) is sworn in as a Soroptimist International of Benicia member. Member Nancy Martinez (Left) presented him with a pin, and Bobbi Enderlin (Right) gave him an introduction. Upson is the father of two daughters and has worked to hire more women at the Benicia Police Department (Photo by Nick Sestanovich)