Local Women Receive Grants from Loomis Soroptimist Club

LOOMIS, CA (MPG)  |  By Soroptimist of Loomis Basin
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Teachers will use SI Loomis Grants for special classroom projects (L-R back row): Cynthia Buhler (wearing striped poncho), Tracey Curry, Katie Branzuela, Kelsie Dales, Hailey Crosta, Kathleen Bales, Carrie Marovich; (L-R front row): Jennifer Wood, Patty Sleizer, Claudia Diele, Susan Czapkay, Debra Brayfindley, Christy Aday. Photo courtesy Karen Fraser-Middleton

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Ruby Award Winner Carol Braun center with Randi Beasley (L) & Toni Zachary (R) SI Loomis Award Committee. Photo courtesy Karen Fraser-Middleton

LOOMIS, CA (MPG) -The Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin (SILB) recognized women and girls who are making a difference in the community through education and community service on February 28. The club provided nearly $10,000 in scholarships, teacher grants and support for the Senior L.I.F.E center.

Carol Braun, co-founder of the Cowpoke Fall Gathering in Loomis and Cowpoke Foundation was honored with the Ruby Award for Women Helping Women. The Soroptimist International award recognizes those who improve the lives of other women or girls through their professional or personal activities. Under Carol’s leadership, the Cowpoke Foundation preserves and promotes American cowboy heritage through poetry, music and storytelling; sponsors an educational program at local schools; and donates funds to organizations that benefit our community. For over 23 years, Carol has volunteered her time, given back to the community and been an inspiration to others.

Soroptimist International (SI) clubs have given the Live Your Dream Award and over $30 million to tens of thousands of women who have overcome poverty, divorce, domestic violence and other life challenges through education. The SI Loomis Basin club selected Ellen Robinson to receive this year’s $3000 award. Robinson has demonstrated great courage and determination to overcome many obstacles and pursue higher education to provide a better future for her family. She is currently enrolled at Sierra College pursuing an AS degree in Natural Sciences with plans to become a dental hygienist.

The Loomis Soroptimist Community Service Award recognized Katherine Hanson who has assumed several leadership roles in the Del Oro High School Women’s Athletic Club. She has been a powerful role model for younger girls, produced the club’s video that promotes women’s strength and unity, and organized the College Awareness for Rape Education program. Hansen indicated that she is excited to be contributing to girls’ success by getting them to believe in themselves.

SILB helped establish the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis in 1978 and has continued to support this program that provides social and educational activities as well as nutritious lunches for seniors. Acsa and Fred Hitchen accepted the grant from SILB to continue to provide beneficial programs at the center.

The Loomis Soroptimist Teacher Grants are a signature program of the club developed to help instructors fund projects that will have lasting impact on students.

Tracey Curry, Ophir Elementary School first grade teacher, will use her grant for a hands-on educational system that fosters creativity and teaches problem solving skills through playing math, English and coding games.

Patty Sleizer and Jennifer Wood, both Kindergarten teachers at H. Clark Powers, received grants to purchase community helper dramatic play costumes and masks to learn social studies and language arts through play-based inquiry, role playing and storytelling.

Claudia Diele and Susan Czapkay, both 3rd grade teachers at H. Clark Powers, will purchase flexible seating to make it easier to instruct small groups of students.

Bria Johnson, H. Clark Powers first grade teacher, envisions using a multi-colored carpet with individual squares to make it easier to arrange students to sit in a specific order, enable student partners to work together and help students who struggle with staying within their own space.

Hailey Crosta, Transitional Kindergarten teacher at H. Clark Powers, will use the funds to supplement science materials, teaching the children about nutrition, magnets, seasons, weather, plants and the five senses using hands-on manipulatives.

Kelsie Dales, Placer Elementary, Transitional Kindergarten teacher, intends to use her grant to purchase headphones that can be used with iPads for daily math and language arts activities.

Christy Aday, Newcastle Elementary Charter, will use the grant to replace music stands that are over 30 years old for the band program that serves Kindergarten through 8th grade students.

Debra Brayfindley, Newcastle Elementary Resource Teacher, plans to use the funding to purchase a literacy intervention tool that will help struggling students learn to read.

Kathleen Bales, Newcastle Elementary Charter School 4th grade teacher, will use the grant to introduce robotics to fourth through six grade students by teaching them to program with Arduino and Scratch.

Carrie Marovich, Loomis Grammar School 8th grade teacher, will purchase headphones so students can listen to language arts reading selections on their Chromebooks, increasing comprehension and reading enjoyment.

Cynthia Buhler, 4th Grade teacher, Penryn Elementary School, will use her award to select flexible seating such as bean bags, standing tables and low tables with cushions that will give students more choice in what kind of learning space works best for them.

Katie Branzuela, K-8 music teacher for both Franklin and Loomis Basin Charter School, is seeking a grant for headphones for middle school students to create a mash up of songs that represent who they are in music appreciation. Additionally, band students can use them to record and submit play tests.

About Soroptimist International Loomis Basin

Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin is a 501(c)(3) organization.

To learn more about the club, join SI Loomis Basin for weekly club meetings at the Train Depot at Taylor Rd. and Horseshoe Bar Rd. in Loomis. Visitors are welcome to attend club meetings on the first and third Wednesday at 5:30 PM. Learn more at www.soroptimistloomis.com and find Soroptimist Loomis Basin on Facebook. Also plan to attend the Soroptimist Tostada Bingo on April 21; tickets available at the Loomis Chamber of Commerce.