The Live Your Dream: Education Support for Women (formerly Women’s Opportunity) Awards program is Soroptimist’s major service project. The awards improve the lives of women by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects. Each year, Soroptimist clubs in 19 countries and territories assist women in overcoming personal difficulties and improving their lives through education and skills training. The women, who provide the primary source of financial support for their families, may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, including books, childcare and transportation. Club recipients become eligible for additional cash awards at other levels of the organization, including three $10,000 finalist awards.
Many Live Your Dream Award recipients have overcome enormous obstacles in their quest for a better life, including poverty, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol abuse. Each year, more than $800,000 is disbursed through awards at various levels of the organization to help women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. Since the program began in 1972, it is estimated that $15 million has been disbursed and more than 20,000 women have been assisted. In 2003, The Women’s Opportunity Awards program received the Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives’ Associations Advance America program.
The Live Your Dream Award is an annual program that begins at the local Soroptimist club level, where award amounts vary. Club recipients become eligible to receive region–level awards, which are granted through Soroptimist’s 28 geographic regions. Each Soroptimist region grants one first-place award for $5,000. (Note: most regions grant additional $3,000 awards.) The 28 first–place recipients then become eligible to receive one of three $10,000 finalist awards.
Eligible applicants must be women who provide the primary financial support for their families, and who are enrolled in or have been accepted to a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree program. Applicants must demonstrate financial need, and cannot have already earned an undergraduate degree. Only residents of Soroptimist International of the Americas’ 19 member countries and territories are eligible to apply.
Applications are accepted each year between July 1st and the deadline specified by the individual club, not later than the Western Canada Region deadline of January 8th. Check with the club you plan to apply to. Applications received after the club deadline and before July 1st will not be considered.
For more information on the Live Your Dream Award, including application forms and detailed information on how to apply, please click on the following link, or copy and paste into your web browser.