Teen volunteers win Soroptimist awards

Soroptimist International of Hood River awarded its first annual Violet Richardson Award for Community Service recently at a luncheon at the Hood River Adult Center.

The award, for young women aged 14-17, is focused on young women and their participation in community activities as volunteers. It is named in honor of the first president of the Soroptimist International organization, which was founded in the 1920s.

The first place winner was Julia Back from Cascade Locks High School, who received $500 for her volunteer efforts with the Cascade Locks Interested in Kids program (CLIK) and for helping form an Oregon Student Safety on the Move (OSSOM) club at the school.

Second place was awarded to Silvia Ochoa for her work as a bilingual aide at Mid Valley School and for volunteering at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital which has helped her decide to enter the health care field. She received $300.

There was a tie for third place between Elie Meierbachtol and Kristina Westfall. Meierbachtol was recognized for volunteering at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and Westfall for her project, One Night Stand, which helps young women rent a dress inexpensively for special dances or parties rather than having to buy one. They each received $100.

Others recognized for their volunteerism were Meghan Ferns for Special Olympics, Hannah Kingrey for Teen Court, and Tara Level for a physical therapy clinic.

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