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Soroptimist International of Central Alberta to honour women next month

Women’s Day event being held March 12 in Penhold
Mercedes Messinger will receive the Ruby Award during the Soroptimist International of Central Alberta Women’s Day celebration on March 12 at Penhold Memorial Hall. (Photo via Facebook)

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta will host a Women’s Day celebration next month to honour local women and mark the organization’s 35th anniversary.

The event, which will be hosted from 2:30-5 p.m. on March 12 at Penhold Memorial Hall, will feature speakers refreshments, displays and multiple award presentations.

“We have been doing some kind of International Women’s Day event in central Alberta for well over 20 years now,” said Sherri Smith, Soroptimist International of Central Alberta president.

“During COVID we had to have our first online one (in 2020). Then in (2021), our second year of COVID, we did something that was a lot smaller than normal. Now we’re back to a full event and we’re really excited about that. We have an International Women’s Day celebration to let everyone know what the day’s about, why it was created and why we celebrate it.”

Three awards will be handed out during the event. The Ruby Award for Women helping Women will be awarded to Mercedes Messinger.

“This award is for women who encourage and inspire other women – she’s usually doing something through her profession or through volunteering,” said Smith.

There will also be multiple recipients of the Live Your Dream Award, which is given to women who are the head of their household, and are returning to school and showing a financial need.

“The majority of our winners end up being single moms who are … supporting everyone in their household,” Smith said.

“Over the last 30-plus years, there have been amazing women we have been able to give this money to, which helps them out with their educational costs. They can spend the money on whatever they need to spend the money on.”

Finally, the Violet Richardson Award will be presented to girls aged 14 to 17 for their volunteer efforts.

“We give (the recipient) money and then give money to the charity of her choice – it usually ends up being the charity she volunteers with,” said Smith.

“Two of the Violet Richardson Award winners in the past have gone on to win the Young Woman of Excellence award from the Red Deer and District Community Foundation. We’ve had a couple winners who have gone on to be doctors, one won the Loran Scholarship, which is worth like $70,000. We have amazing girls in this community. It’s amazing what they do.”

For more information on the Soroptimist International of Central Alberta, visit Tickets for the organization’s International Women’s Day event can be purchased on

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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