The Marysville Soroptimists Club recognized local women for their contributions to the community at their annual awards dinner on May 16.
The women-focused service club honored two individuals for their volunteer work and gave three “Live Your Dream” awards meant to assist those going in college or career training.
Serenity Turner is the recipient of this year’s Violet Richardson Award, which is given “to someone who is making a difference through their volunteer work,” and is a woman from 14 to 17 years of age, said Nancy Schaut, a member of the Marysville Soroptimist.
Turner started volunteering at the All-Breed Horse Rez-Q.
“The rescue takes care of old horses, sick horses and abandoned horses,” said Schaut.
The Marysville Soroptimists presented an award of $500 for Turner and $500 for the rescue as part of the presentation.
Turner started at the rescue a few years ago.
“I’ve had a couple of horses that I really loved,” she said, “that’s kind of why I stayed.”
The organization is all volunteer run and Turner has helped raise funds through events like an Easter Egg Hunt.
The rescue moved away from the Marysville area after they lost their space, but Turner said she found a new local group to work with, Courageous Connections.
“They deal with people who have disabilities like Down Syndrome and get them on horses,” she said.
This year’s Ruby Award was given to Tonya Christoffersen.
The award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the community to help women and provides funds to continue their work.
Christoffersen collects for a variety of local shelters.
“On her social media I see collections for hygiene products, and collecting for diapers and coats,” said Renae James, member of the Marysville Soroptimists.
“She’s got a room set aside where she collects for the shelters,” said James.
Christoffersen helps with a variety of shelters including the Snohomish County Cold Weather Shelter and Maud’s House in Marysville.
She has been with the Lake Stevens Lions for 15 years and has been part of the board of directors for the Marysville Fire District (as a Fire District 12 commissioner) for many years as well.
This year she decided on a new project as well.
“I wanted to give back to other people so I decided I wanted to go someplace I’ve never been, and about as remote as I could go,” said Christoffersen.
Working with Cross Cultural Solutions, a branch of the Peace Corps, she is planning a volunteer trip to help women and children in Ghana.
The Marysville Soroptimist’s present the Live Your Dream award to help provide funds for local women looking to get education and job skills.
Award recipient Angie Christy is a single mother of three who will is currently training in a veterinary technician program.
“The last two years I have been in a divorce situation from an abusive relationship that left my kids homeless. I got laid off the same time and I was diagnosed with PTSD,” she said.
“It all came together in this question of whether I continue in this career that’s not fulfilling and I have traumatic association with, or do I make the leap,” she said.
Kayla Allen is another award recipient. She is looking to become a registered nurse and was inspired by those who helped her with the premature birth of her daughter.
“We spent six weeks in the NICU [Neonatal Intensive Care Unit], 24 hours a day there,” she said.
“I spent a lot of time with the nurses and they helped keep me sane,” she said.
Local Rana Engleson is the final recipient who is looking to become a massage therapist.
“I’m a single mom with four children,” she said. “I’ve been wanting to have a career in wellness for a long time. I didn’t really have all the puzzle pieces together but this helps with one of those pieces."
The Soroptimists were also presented with a surprise of their own during the evening as Marysville student Victoria Wilde submitted the group for Presidential Award for Community Service, which they received a gold award for.
“I’ve been around a couple of years and you guys have really shown me how to volunteer and be part of the community,” she said.