Live Your Dream Award

We believe education is the pathway to economically empowering women and girls. This unique program is helping women find their voice and purpose while offering the resources they need to succeed.


LIVE YOUR DREAM Education and Training Awards for Women assist women who provide the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills, and employment prospects. Soroptimists know that education is the key to unlocking economic empowerment of the world’s women and girls. When women and girls are educated, they have opportunity, choice, and power to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families.  With the Live Your Dream Award we recognize and empower remarkable women who against staggering odds are taking control of their circumstances and working to get the education and training they need to improve their lives and the lives of their children.


The Soroptimist International of Novato Live Your Dream Awards team met to plan the 2019-2020 program.  It is a unique education grant for women who provide the primary financial support for their families, and it helps give women financial resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.

The team consists of Jane Gannon, Barbara Hurwick and Patty Smith.  The club’s budget for the LYD award this year is $6,000, which will be divided among and awarded to two or three winners based on their stories and needs.

Currently we are contacting primary agencies in Novato and Marin County who serve women like Gilead House, Homeward Bound of Marin, Marin Health and Human Services, and Novato Spirit to alert them about the program and to seek candidates to apply for the award.  The deadline for the applications is December 15, 2019.  If you know a worthy candidate, be sure to tell them about this award. This year we are requiring all applicants to apply on the Soroptimist web portal at

We will review applications in December and January to determine and notify our winner(s) by January 15, 2020.  An awards ceremony will be conducted for the award winners during a program meeting in February or March 2020.

Sandra Garcia receives the 2019 Live Your Dream Award for $3,500.


February 2019

This year, we received an unprecedented number of qualified, deserving applications. The need is great and it was extremely difficult to choose just one. So we chose two! And we wish we could have done more. Thankfully we were able to pass along the remaining applications to other clubs in our region. The two women we honor this year are shining examples of what hard work, grit, and determination can do in the pursuit of one’s goals. We admire these women beyond words and are grateful for the opportunity to recognize their indomitable spirits.


Sandra Garcia won the $3,500 First Place Live Your Dream Award. Garcia immigrated to the US from Guatemala and Mexico when she was 19.  She is currently enrolled in the nursing prerequisite classes at the College of Marin while working part-time and raising three boys. Sandra stated, "This award will help pay my tuition, fees, and buy books at the College of Marin. As a single mom getting an education is very important to me. I can't afford to pay for it myself. My dream is to be a nurse, and I desire to help children with special needs.  Thank you for my heart."

Our Live Your Dream Runner-up wishes to remain anonymous. She works part-time while raising her two young children.  Her ultimate goal is to become a dentist, and is currently attending the College of Marin.

February 2018

Lydia Margarita Rodriguez's story of overcoming homelessness, setting a goal to take care of her family and working hard to reach her goal is so inspiring that she has received two Live Your Dream awards from Soroptimist International. The first award was from SI Novato. The $2,000 LYD award is given annually to a woman in Novato to improve her employment skills. The second award is the $4,000 LYD award given by District IV of Soroptimist International. These awards recognize Ms Rodriguez's resilience, perseverance, responsibility, and dedication.

Ms Rodriguez recently graduated from the Culinary Academy at Fresh Starts in Novato. The LYD awards will allow her to continue her culinary training. Lydia said that her dream is to provide a good home for her son and to give back to the community that has supported her. There were hugs, tears, and joy when Lydia received her Live Your Dream awards.

Lydia Margarita Rodriguez receives the 2018 Live Your Dream Award for $2,000.

February 2017

Soroptimist International of Novato has given its annual Live Your Dream Award to two Novato women to empower them to support their families and contribute to their community.  Ashley Crusto and Kelli Reno, each received $2,000 to use for improving their employment skills.  Ashley is attending College of Marin to get her medical assistant certificate.  Her goal is to get her nursing degree and to be a role model for her five children.  Kelli Reno owns a mobile hair salon and will use her award to advance her skills as a beautician.  This will allow her to better serve her customers and to provide for her son. 

Club member Susan Magnone presents award to Ashley Crusto with her five children in 2017.

Kelli Reno receives check from club member Susan Magnone in 2017

February 2015

We honored two amazing women who are working hard to make a difference for their families by awarding them our 2014 Live Your Dream Award. Examples of women who had applied were enrolled in a Nutritionist degree program, a Dental Assistant Program, an Esthetician Program, and Culinary School.

Soroptimist International of Novato awards up to $2,000 annually to a woman who has primary financial responsibility for her family and is seeking to improve her economic status by gaining additional skills, training or education.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Is a woman with primary financial responsibility for supporting her family (including children, spouse, siblings and/or parents)

  • Attends or has been accepted to a vocational/skills training program, or an undergraduate program

  • Has financial need

  • Is motivated to achieve her educational and career goals

  • Lives or works in Novato


Previous recipients and Soroptimist members and their immediate family are not eligible.


We invite qualified women to apply for the LYD award by downloading the Application and Reference Forms when available. Email the completed forms to by November 15 of each year.


If you need more information, obtain an application form, or need help with the application, you can contact Jane Gannon at



  • SoropNovato

Soroptimist International of Novato

Post Office Box 1267

Novato, CA  94948

TAX ID NUMBER 23-7290674