Poway Soroptimists present awards
By Emily Sorensen
The Poway Soroptimist Club held its 2012 Award Breakfast Wednesday, May 16, presenting four women with awards for their work with women in the community.
Applications for the awards were sent out to women in the community in high schools, junior colleges and colleges. The applications were reviewed by members, with the four finalists being honored with the award and a scholarship.
The Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award, which is awarded to single mothers in college, was given to Wivine Ouapou, the single mother of an 8-year-old daughter. Ouapou came to America from the Central African Republic when she was 16, speaking no English. She graduated from Hoover High School and went on to get a degree in Computer Science.
Ouapou is currently in an accelerated program at CSU San Marcos as a nursing student, and plans to go on to obtain her master’s degree and become a family nurse practitioner. In addition to the award and $1,000 scholarship Ouapou won from the Poway Soroptimists, she was advanced to the regional awards, where she was a finalist, winning $3,000 and a laptop computer and printer.
The Soroptimist Ruby Award for Women Helping Women was presented to Jeeni Criscenzo for her work with homeless female veterans.
“This award is given to women in the community who see a cause that needs to be amended and works to do so,” said Marita Harmony, soroptimist member and chair of the awards program.
Criscenzo works with homeless female veterans in downtown San Diego. After noticing that female veterans were not allowed in the winter tent shelters set up for homeless veterans, Criscenzo worked with Amikas, a nonprofit that rented a house for the winter months, allowing six women and their children to shelter during the winter months in a real home. Though funding has run out, Criscenzo is hoping to raise enough money to rent another house next winter.
The Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award, which is an award for high school girls ages 14 to 17, was presented to Parul Pubbi for her work with Girls on the Run, a charity that seeks to teach elementary and middle school girls about being personally valued, the importance of their relationships and contributing to the community, as they develop self-respect and learn to live healthy lifestyles through running. Pubbi, who didn’t attend the breakfast due to having to take an SAT exam, was awarded $500 for her charity.
The last award was the Abraxas High School Scholarship award, which was presented to senior Natalie Vejar. Mother of a 6-month-old son, Vejar was awarded the $500 scholarship to help her continue her studies in the fall, when she will attend Miramar College, studying child development. The scholarship is presented every year to the most deserving female senior scholar at Abraxas High School.
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