Motherhood was in the spotlight Tuesday as Soroptimist International of Los Banos feted those making positive contributions.
“Soroptimists believe in helping women to live their dreams. We also believe that when you help a woman you also help a family, the community and the world,” said Sherry Pearson, at the annual Women’s Award Night Banquet.
Nabi Lopez received $1,000 as the Women’s Opportunity Award winner.
A mother of a toddler who went back to school after a seven-year hiatus so she could enter the medical field, Lopez credits her 2-year-old son, Mason, with inspiring her to seek a better life.
“It is because of him I won’t ever let myself feel lost, unsure and unhappy with my life,” Lopez said.
“It is because of him I never allowed myself to miss school, let alone be tardy to class; earning me, and only me, a perfect attendance award at my graduation ceremony,” she said.
Lopez began work as a medical assistant at Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday.
The Soroptimist Ruby Award, which is presented to women who have helped other women, was given to Cheryl Hixson, a community education instructor at Memorial Hospital, Los Banos.
Hixson, who is a mother of six, teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation and car seat safety courses, and is a lactation counselor and childbirth educator.
“So much of the time women don’t have the faith in their own capabilities. We have a myth of motherhood, that motherhood is supposed to bring joy and gladness and everything is going to be perfect,” Hixson said, as she accepted the award.
“Motherhood is sleepless nights, Motherhood is not knowing where to turn next. Motherhood is not being sure of yourself or what’s going to happen in the next 10 minutes. So many women need to know that’s normal,” said Hixson.
“You survive it. Your kids survive it. You’re still a good mother.”
The Friends of Soroptimist Award was given to Memorial Hospital, Los Banos. Kristie Marion, the hospital’s chief nurse executive, accepted the award from Soroptimist Lucy Lawrence.
Lawrence said the hospital’s sponsorship of the group’s events, such as its annual girls’ self-esteem workshop, have made the nonprofit facility invaluable to the Los Banos chapter of Soroptimist International.
Most award winners received a monetary prize.
All award recipients were given certificates from the offices of local, state and federal politicians.
Other award recipients:
• Jenna Gilardi, June Erreca Award
• Ashlee Jasso, Violet Richardson Award
• Laura Tobias and Rebeca Wood, honorable mentions for the Women’s Opportunity Award
• Byrnn Lafontaine, second runner-up for the Women’s Opportunity Award
• Carol Smith, Soroptimist of the year.