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Kent chapter of Soroptimist International has annual Community Service Awards Luncheon

Several social-service entities were winners Monday at a special luncheon organized by Soroptimist International of Kent.

The service club acknowledged everything from a home a for teenage moms to a botanical trail, in its annual Community Service Awards Luncheon at the Golden Steer Restaurant.

The service club, which has a local chapter but operates across the globe, works specifically to improve the lives of women and girls. With that perspective, the club singled out several local programs that meet its service goals.

Recipients at Monday's banquet were the following:

Kenyanna Brown as Volunteer of the Month.

Brown, a student at the Kent Phoenix Academy couldn't be at the event to receive her award, but SI member Linda Myers described the teenager's volunteer activities, which included assisting the disabled and volunteering through the Girl Scouts to help homeless teens. Myers said Brown's future plans included going to Green River Community College, and then moving on to the Art Institute of Seattle.

The SI Volunteer of the Month award is focused on girls aged 14-17 and is designed to honor the spirit of volunteerism that drives them.

Children's Therapy Center/Dynamic Family Services

SI awarded $3,800 to fund specialized communication equipment to assist the center in working with its special-needs children. Executive Director Jon Botton read a letter from one of CTC's teen clients. "You made it possible for me to live the life I live every day," Botton read, getting choked up from the letter thanking CTC staff for pushing the teenager so hard to gain control of her life.

"That's not possible without the help from organizations like you," Botton told the club.

Domestic Abuse Women's Network

SI gave $3,000 toward DAWN's project to expand the capacity of its shelter for women and children. Judit Torrents, a representative of DAWN, said they were increasing the shelter capacity by 50 percent, in addition to celebrating its 30th annniversary. "My dream is that I'm not going to have a job," Torrents said as she received the SI award, describing her hopes of domestic violence someday being eradicated.

Kent Youth and Family Services

SI contributed $2,000 for KYFS's Watson Manor, a place for homeless mothers aged 16-24 and their small children to live for extended time periods.

"Home is where safety and shelter is - these women don't have that," said John Heinisch, KYFS executive director, as he accepted the award on behalf of his organization.

SKCAC Industries

SI donated $500 to SKCAC, which provides employment opportunities for the disabled from its location on the Russell Road in Kent. That donation was equal to a Silver Level sponsorship in the nonprofit organization. Accepting the award was Debbie Meyers, SKCAC executive director.

Tribal Life Trail

The service club donated $500 for plant signage at the Tribal Life Trail, an ethno-botanical demonstration program at the Lake Wilderness Arboretum in Maple Valley. Accepting the award was Katie Swickard of the Washington State University Master Gardener Program.

The Kent chapter of Soroptimist International continues to look for more members. The club meets 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at the Golden Steer Restaurant in Kent. The only month the club does not meet is in July. While its focus is on women and girls, membership in the club is open to men and women. To learn more about the club and its goals, go to www.soroptimistnwr.com, or write to: Soroptimist International of Kent, P.O. Box 456, Kent, WA 98035-0456.

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