Ruby Award - (Making a Difference for Women) - 2010 WINNERS
Same award--new name!
The Soroptimist International Ruby Award for Women Helping
Women Award honors women who, through their professional or personal efforts,
are making extraordinary differences in the lives of women or girls. Honorees
are women who have worked to improve the lives of other women or girls. Their
work has had a significant impact, and also inspires and encourages other
SI Ashland - DELTRA FERGUSON
Before beginning her
work with the Women's Resource Center of Southern Oregon University (SOU),
Deltra Ferguson served as faculty with the Women's Studies program at Oregon
State University for five years.Upon moving to the Rogue Valley, Deltra helped rebuild Josephine
County's safe shelter and domestic violence assault program; the Women's Crisis
Support Team, as Executive Director.She has been serving as Coordinator for the Women's
Resource Center of Southern Oregon University since 2004.
With the energy of
many bright and energetic SOU students and community members, Dr. Ferguson has
stewarded the Women's Resource Center back to financial solvency: generating
over $10,000 through the SOU Foundation in support of the Center's five
programs focused on safety, health, creativity, social change and coalition
Resource Center is passionately dedicated to improving the lives of women in
our community through education and support services.The Women's Resource Center is the official collection site
for confidential and anonymous reports of sexual misconduct and trained student
peer advocacy for victims of sexual assault.
Resource Center events of Take Back the Night, International Women's Day
Celebration and The Vagina Monologues have been the product of many people's
energy with Deltra serving as guide, director, facilitator and mentor.Through these efforts and our generous
community, the Women's Resource Center has raised well over $30,000 to donate
toward ending violence against women in our valley.
Deltra and her
partner of 13 years share a safe, warm Ashland home with seven year old twins,
Riley and Julia, and two giant cats.Working for the wellbeing of women and girls has always been one of
Deltra Ferguson's great loves.She
believes that the work of social equality and justice is so clearly necessary
and for the good of all - it's easy to do.
SI Medford - JANIE STEWART
Stewart, Program Manager for the Lithia Springs Girls Program of Community
Works. Lithia Springs Program is a long-term residential program that is
located in Ashland and that serves high-risk teen girls who are referred from
both the juvenile justice system and the child welfare system.Janie has held the position of Program
Manager since 1991 and is planning to retire in early 2010.In the past 18 years Janie has worked
tirelessly to help the troubled teenaged girls that were placed in the Lithia
Springs Girls Program. Janie didn't consider her position at Lithia Springs
Girls Program to be a job, put rather a "lifestyle" which she accepted as her
purpose in life. This incredible dedication gave both the clients and the staff
the message that they were important and that they could always count on Janie
to be there for them.
the years Janie has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of girls, and
dozens of young female staff who came to Lithia Springs fresh out of college
with their new degree in hand and a desire to work in social services. Janie
encouraged these young women to pursue their personal and professional goals as
she values education very highly.
for the clients, they found in Janie a counselor, parental figure, a mentor, a
healer, and support person who cared about them deeply. She
is a true model of how we should all live in this world, by giving back more
then we take and by making a difference in our small corner of the world.
SI North Valley - TERRI DeSILVA
Officer Terri DeSilva has taken a personal experience, an experience that none
of us would wish to encounter, and has made it a part of her life to help
empower women and girls to be safe, be secure and know they can be in control
of their safety.
An early morning
session at the gym changed Teri DeSilva's life in ways she could never have
imagined.That early morning
session could have been the last living workout for Teri. This terrifying
experience altered Teri's life, she realized she would never be a victim
again.Her work life transitioned
from fire and safety dispatcher to police officer.
year career in law enforcement, the last sixteen years as a full time police
officer, provided an avenue to reach women and girls and to share her story,
teach and mentor and empower others to be aware of their personal safety, about
not being a victim or an easy target.She also served as the first female defensive-tactics
instructor for her Ashland Police Department and is one of a few female
officers to teach survival skills at the state police academy.
SI Rogue Starlight - LISA MEADOWS
Marie Meadows is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor working with women and
families who are struggling with addiction.Lisa has been employed at OnTrack Inc., a Southern Oregon
nonprofit treatment agency, for 5 years, and has developed a special expertise
with families involved with the Child Welfare system.Five days a week, Lisa facilitates OnTrack's Day Treatment
group, which provides 20 hours of direct service to 30 women every week.In addition, Lisa provides individual
counseling and case management required to help clients address the full range
of life issues needed in recovery.During the past five years, Lisa has designed and implemented
specialized programming for Child Welfare women.
commitment to these women has evolved from her own personal journey.A high school dropout, she first tried
methamphetamine at age 12.She had her first child at age 19, and her second three years later,
maintaining a full-blown meth addiction throughout.But at age 24, after a serious automobile wreck, Lisa
realized that she wanted a different life for herself and her children.She admitted herself to OnTrack's HOME
Program, which provides residential treatment to mothers and their children,
and graduated from treatment nine months later.In sobriety, Lisa realized that her new life mission was to
apply her own experience in work with others, and she soon began studying for
certification as a counselor.
Lisa's intense dedication to her clients, and her
tremendous clinical insights and skills, are recognized by her peers and
SI Rogue Sunrise - KATE NEWGARD
Kate has worked as the Nurse Navigator for the Leila J.
Eisenstein Breast Center on the Providence Hospital campus for the last three
years.Kate has made a tremendous
impact on the lives of many women as she helps them in their journey through
breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.A breast cancer diagnosis is a frightening and scary event, and Kate's
role is to provide medical and emotional support to women as they learn about
their disease, treatment options, and subsequent care to treat the cancer.Kate is a warm and caring person who "is honored to have this job."She
has been an outstanding care provider in every nursing role she has
In the last 3
years, Kate has helped over 375 women. Kate works constantly to solicit grant
money from many sources to enable her to expand services to women in our
community.She has been successful
in creating breast cancer support and walking groups, offering"Breast Health" and "Wellness after Breast
Cancer Surgery"classes, a Latina mammogram day, and was a key participant in a
very successful multi-disciplinary breast cancer community education event. She
sees her role as a "medical cheerleader" and says that the highlight of her
job is the relationships she forms with the women she supports.
Making a Difference for Women: 2009 Winners
Rogue Starlight Club 2009 Honoree
Betty Frederick has selflessly dedicated her life for over 15 years to women in the Rogue Valley seeking help to stay sober and get their lives productive.
February 9, 1988 was a day that changed her life forever. On Vilas Rd. in Central Point, a drunk driver crashed head on into Betty’s car. Heather, her fifteen month old granddaughter, was killed and Betty was put in a wheel chair not knowing if she would ever walk normally again.
Betty wanted to have an impact to prevent others from suffering the same fate. Putting people away after they harmed other people was not her idea of solving the drunk driving problem. She thought that if she could save just one family from experiencing the same tragedy, her life would have real meaning. In November 1993, after much soul searching, research, and a miraculous recovery, Betty opened Heathers Haven on 4th Street in Medford. This was the first clean and sober housing for women in the state of Oregon. Under her direction and personal hard work and sacrifice, Heathers Haven continues to serve the women of our community.
Now, over 20 years after the day that changed her and her families lives forever, hundreds of women are clean, sober and productive citizens of our community due to the existence of Heathers Haven. Betty works tirelessly to provide a safe environment and to inspire women to remain clean and sober. She takes no pay for these services, Betty and her husband have used their own funds to keep this home open
For Betty's family to see women start over and learn to live wholesome lives free from addiction has been their reward.
Sudy Storm is a midwife. In the summer of 1997 she did an internship in Kingston, Jamaica, which opened her eyes to the needs of developing nations in regards to maternal/child health and training of midwives. Upon her return, she cofounded a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving maternal/child health and maternity outcomes through education and service. She worked for the organization for 10 years and it continues to fulfill this mission.
As a child, Sudy dreamed of Africa. In 1999 she made her first trip to Africa when asked to work in a clinic training indigenous midwives. It was there that Sudy knew she'd found her calling. Back in the United States she and her midwifery partner opened Oregon’s first licensed direct entry midwifery school. She made three more trips to West Africa as coordinator and instructor for projects providing training to indigenous midwives.
Recently the Kailahun Medical District Health Management Team asked Sudy to work on a pilot program to improve their maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates. She has been assigned three Community Health Posts where she will conduct comprehensive trainings of 140+ Traditional Midwives, assist the Maternal Child Aides in developing a women’s community educational club, and research the inaccuracies of vital records reporting at the village level.
Sudy says “more important than what I do is how I do it.” Her priorities are to EMPOWER WOMEN with skills and knowledge so they are self sufficient and able to help themselves and their communities.
Medford Club 2009 Honoree
Wendy Anderson has offered a lifeline to survivors of sexual assault. A survivor of rape, Wendy found she needed “to bring something positive out of what was really bad.” So, she became a victim advocate to bring healing and hope to others in pain.
Wendy is buoyed by the benefits her advocacy brings. What she does is, quite literally, life-sustaining. As one survivor wrote her, “The day I met you, I didn’t want to be a part of this life any more. Your encouragement gave me hope. You saved a life that day, and I just thought you should know.”
Relocating to Oregon offered a chance to get involved in wider reform. Oregon’s services for sexual assault survivors were decades behind those she’d known. As a result few victims came forward, and few cases went to trial. Wendy believes that one voice raised can make a difference and decided to raise her voice.
Wendy volunteered for five years to bring the Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) into being. SART assures victims’ needs are made a priority, and victim care and evidence collection have dramatically improved. Currently a follow-up advocate, Wendy offers survivors one-on-one support during the most traumatic period of recovery. SASH (Sexual Assault Survivors’ Healing) helps those who are ready to work through their trauma safely. As Wendy explains, they have the opportunity to choose how their past affects their future by facing it – and they have a supportive team of women with them to catch them if they fall.
North Valley Club 2009 Honoree
Kathy Bryon has been pulling groups together since college to build capacity of individuals and leaders to strengthen her community.
As a biology major in college, Kathy began working in community health care and began a lifelong career in community service. She gained a masters in Public Health and was instrumental in developing a migrant farm worker’s women’s clinic in Northern California. Her work resulted in the development of an innovative California health education program to promote healthy babies among high-risk low-income women in Marin County. That innovative program became a demonstration/best practices project that is the same model used in Healthy Start programs in Oregon.
Kathy moved to Southern Oregon and utilized her leadership skills to create the Pacific Non-profit Network, a nonprofit management and leadership development organization. Her work has helped many struggling non-profits become viable and productive organizations serving our community.
Kathy is currently the Executive Director of the Gordon Elwood Foundation, a regional $9 million private foundation. Her involvement with non-profit organizations continues as she helps evaluate projects seeking funding through the foundation.
Kathy is all about values, vision and coaching. In her words, “to strengthen the capacity of the whole means so much greater the value.” Her life-long career in public service has made a huge difference in lives of women and families.
Rogue Valley Sunrise Club 2009 Honoree
Carolyn Harris has devoted her life to serving our community and improving the lives of women and girls.
As a driving force behind the local Cancer Awareness Project, Carolyn arranged the Annual CAP Walk each October and facilitated a program to supply low income breast cancer survivors with custom bras. She was instrumental in involving the Rogue Valley Soroptimist clubs to fund mammograms for women with no health insurance.
Many of us know Carolyn well, as the sponsor for over 20 women joining local Soroptimist clubs. A past member of both the Medford and Rogue Valley Sunrise clubs, Carolyn continues to devote her time to our community as a member of the Heart of Medford Association, the Pear Blossom Association, the League of Women Voters, the Human Rights Coalition, the Rogue Monarch Lions Club, and the Oregon Retired Educators Association. Carolyn also offers her support to the Southern Oregon Humane Society, Wild Life Images, Planned Parenthood, and the United Way. Carolyn knows the importance of these non-profit organizations to the vitality of our Valley and sustaining the community.
Carolyn attributes her ability to serve our community for so many years to the tremendous support of her husband, Jim, and their 6 children. As a family, they are very proud of Carolyn's commitment to helping those in need and improving so many lives.
Carolyn Harris has made a huge difference to many women and girls in our community.
March 6, 2008
Soroptimists Celebrating Women
KTVL, Channel 10, is spotlighting "Caring for our Community," featuring our WOA winners, amongst others. Below are the videos of these TV spots and link to the video on the KTVL website. (Note: videos are preceeded by a brief ad.)
SI-Ashland honored Deltra Ferguson for work with women at the SOU Women's Resource Center.
The Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award acknowledges women
who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their
personal or professional activities. Their efforts help to promote the
issues that are important to the Soroptimist organization. Honorees are
women who have worked in extraordinary ways to benefit women and girls.
Examples of the type of work honored include: spearheading an effort to
open a domestic violence shelter, working to secure health services for
low-income women, starting a mentoring program for at-risk girls, or
lobbing companies to provide on-site child care. The program enables
local Soroptimist clubs and the Soroptimist organization to thank these
women and encourage others to explore ways to assist women and girls.
The program begins on the club level, where the type of recognition
varies. Award winners at the club level are eligible for additional
awards at other levels of the organization. The finalist receives a
$5,000 donation to the charitable organization of her choice.
Improving the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.