Soroptomist of Humboldt Bay Scholarship Winners

This is a press release from Soroptimist of Humboldt Bay:

2017 – 2018 Award Recipients

Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women:

Shirley Atkins

Live Your Dream Award:

Danielle Jenkins

Women’s Re-entry Award:

Ashley Mortensen and Heather Saylor

Violet Richardson Award:

Monserratt Carrillo

Distinguished Youth Award:

Nicole “Coco” Lyell

Recipients from L – R: Shirley Atkins, Nicole “Coco” Lyell, Danielle Jenkins, Monserratt Carillo, Heather Saylor and Ashley Mortensen

Ruby Award

The Ruby award honors non-Soroptimist women who are making extraordinary efforts on behalf of other women.  Shirley Atkins & Angela Dennis set up Mercy’s Haven in 2018, a 4-bedroom “next step” home in Blue Lake, for women who have completed long term residential treatment.  This transition home is providing a clean, safe, sober and supportive home for women and children.  Mercy’s Haven has three mothers, each with a small daughter.  Shirley and Angela are achieving their primary goal of reuniting mothers with the children in sobriety and providing role-models for motherhood and family life.

Live Your Dream Award

Danielle Jenkins (Live Your Dream Award) is a student at College of the Redwoods currently studying Early Childhood Education.  She has two small children and has overcome personal obstacles and a disability to move herself and her family forward.  She is a wonderful role model for women who have had a hard time as she has overcome astounding obstacles to achieve a bright future for herself and her children.

Women’s Re-entry Awards

Ashley Mortensen grew up in a single-parent household where money was always tight.  Her mother often worked two minimum wage jobs to make ends meet and Ash started working herself at the age of 14.  Then, when she was 19, an accident left her with a broken spine, broken jaw and numerous other injuries.  To ease the constant pain, the doctor prescribed medication which caused her to fall into a state of depression.  Ash turned to exercise and the power of the mind.  Since then she has developed an understanding of her body and been able to help herself.  She has become an excellent student and has a 3.89 GPA.

Ash’s long-term goal is to combine her knowledge of yoga, meditation and therapeutic bodywork with science, kinesiology and physical therapy to provide the most comprehensive treatment to people who are recovering from injuries and other issues. Ash is working on an AA degree in Kinesiology and then plans to complete her education at Humboldt State.   

Our other recipient is Heather Saylor, who came from a neglectful household where her needs were hardly being met.  Heather had her first child at 16 and quit school.  She lived with her daughter on the streets until she realized it was no environment for a child and decided to find a family to adopt her daughter.

Heather moved to Humboldt County and turned her life around.  She enrolled at College of the Redwoods and plans to use her education to help others.  Heather was invited to join the Honor’s Program in her second semester and her instructors commented on her organization and determination.  She keeps striving to achieve her dreams and with her perseverance and positive outlook Heather will be an excellent role model.

Violet Richardson Award

The Violet Richardson Award is given to honor the first Soroptimist President, who’s life work exemplified the saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you DO that counts!”  This year’s winner is a remarkable young lady whose academic achievements are only outweighed by her selfless community service.  At 17, Monserratt Carrillo is poised to earn her high school diploma, a certificate in Early Childhood Education, and has nearly completed her Dental Assisting certificate, as well.   She plans to attend school at Sonoma State and pursue a career in Pediatric Dentistry.

This busy girl still finds time to serve her community by tutoring ESL students in elementary and middle school, working with the One Note Club collecting toiletries and clothing for the homeless students at her school (while offering “one note” of encouragement), and she even volunteers with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department Explorer program.  There are too many other clubs and service activities to mention, but someone who not only says someone should help, but actually dedicates herself to helping her world is very deserving of this award!  Congratulations, Monse!

Distinguished Youth Award

Our distinguished youth award winner, Nicole “Coco” Lyell is a senior at McKinleyville High School. Coco’s sense of community begins with the consideration and responsibility she demonstrates within her family. She extends that leadership to school serving in both student government and an impressive array of clubs. Our local community has benefited from her work at the Discovery Museum’s Pal Camp and the Lion’s Club Winter Express. Next fall Coco hopes to attend the University of British Columbia or a California UC.



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