Melissa Earley 2018/19 Award Winner
Melissa, a mother of two children ages 15 and 10, holds a part-time job to support her family while enrolled in college. Despite struggles and misfortunes in her life, Melissa is determined to make a better existence for herself and those she loves. In 2017 Melissa enrolled in Grand Canyon University, an online educational program designed for students like her. In her first year she made the Dean’s list Now in her second year, her goal is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with a specialty in History.
The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards (formerly the Women’s Opportunity Awards) assists women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.
Each year, Soroptimist International of the Americas awards more than $2 million in education grants to more than 1,500 women, many of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence and/or drug and alcohol abuse. Live Your Dream Awards recipients may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation.
The Live Your Dream Awards involves three levels of cash awards. Award amounts vary at the local Soroptimist club-level. Local-level award recipients are eligible for region-level awards of either $3,000 or $5,000. Region-level award recipients are eligible to receive one of three international-level awards of $10,000.
Since the Live Your Dream Awards program began in 1972, about $30 million in education grants have been disbursed to assist tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. In 2007, the program received the Associations Advance America Summit Award—ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership’s highest level of recognition.