Soroptimist International of Novato recently awarded the Violet Richardson Award to five inspiring young women, who have made a difference in their community.
Sarah Helmueller, a San Marin High student, was awarded $1,000 for the first-place prize. Working with the Marine Mammal Center, Helmueller designed and implemented a curriculum for local grade school teachers and students about climate change, ocean trash. She also created student activity and coloring books which promote global and environmental awareness in Vietnam. She is now working on the Sae Lao Project in Laos to raise awareness of sustainability and environmental issues. She was also recently awarded the Girl Scouts Gold Award, the highest prize given by Girl Scouts.
Kacey Rhinehart, a student at Novato High, was awarded $500 for the second-place prize. Rhinehart has worked for the Marin Humane Society since 5th grade. One of her main jobs was producing videos to help get older animals adopted. When she was 10, she started the Enzo Project, which offers support and care for older adult cats needing homes. Rhinehart has also won the Student Volunteer of the Year Award and the Heart of Marin Award.
This is the first time Soroptimist of Novato awarded three runner-up prizes for $200 each, because there were so many impressive and worthy applicants. Rocio Gonzalez, Sally Jung, and Emily Nam were the runner-ups. Gonzalez is the English Learner Rep at Novato High, representing minority and non-English speaking students who are less inclined to speak up about inclusion activities.
Jung visited Syrian refugee camps as a member of InterCP. She has also worked in Tunisia, Jordan Israel, Turkey and Georgia to provide relief aid, art therapy, support, fun and games for children in the refugee camps. Jung has also setup a new club at San Marin High to explore ways to help persecuted countries and refugees.
Nam has planned, setup and reorganized a lunchtime study group at San Marin to help students succeed. As Vice President of CSF, she reorganized the system so students do one-on-one tutoring with the same tutor so they are more connected and more comfortable, leading to greater success.
The award is named after Violet Richardson, the president of the first Soroptimist club in Oakland in 1921. Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly, as an active member in her community who was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women. Soroptimist established this award to honor the memory of this unique woman and her dedication to volunteer action.