Live Your Dream Award



Formerly known as the Women’s Opportunity Award, this award offers financial assistance to women who need education or skills training to enter or re-enter the workforce.  The awards are designed to give women heads of household, who are the primary source of financial support for their families, the opportunity to achieve their career goals.  Local First Place winners now receive $5,000 from the Raleigh club while Runners Up now receive $2,000 each.  First Place Awardees, become eligible for one of three Soroptimist South Atlantic Region awards of $5,000 or $3,000.  Regional winners are eligible for one of three $10,000 awards from Soroptimist International of the Americas.

Click HERE to download the LYD Eligibility Checklist

PLEASE NOTE:  Applications are due in to Soroptimist Raleigh by JANUARY 15, 2018

Click HERE to download the LYD Application
Click HERE to download the LYD Reference Form

Can’t download?

The application period for the 2018 awards cycle is from July 1, 2017-January 15, 2018.   Soroptimist International of Raleigh, will host (2) information sessions on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at Dress for Success, 1812 Tillery Place, Raleigh, NC  27604 from 10:00 – 11:00 AM and 5:00 – 6:30 PM.  Students and counselors are welcome. 

The online application with references should be forwarded to the Live Your Dream Awards Chair – email
Hard copy applications are available by contacting Soroptimist International of Raleigh at

Please feel free to contact us with questions at 919-737-5641 or by email at

Learn More

Download the Live Your Dream information sheet to learn more about this award and the application process.

Meet Our 2018 Awardees


First Place Awardee:  SHENITA D.
$5,000 Cash Award

Shenita will receive her Bachelor of Science in Genetics from NC State University this spring. Her goal is to work in research and ultimately to attain a future dual degree in law and medicine.

Shenita has overcome many barriers – abuse, teen parenting, and homelessness – while pursuing her education. The eldest of eight children with parents who struggled with drug addiction, Shenita faced responsibilities beyond her years. Later, as a single mother of six, she earned an Associate of Arts degree while working multiple jobs to support her family.

Shenita shares her stories of hardship, not to garner sympathy, but to inspire resilience in others.





Runner-Up:  JENNIFER C.
$2,000 Cash Award

Jennifer will complete her Bachelor of Arts degree at Meredith College this spring with a double major in criminology and sociology. She will begin her career in the field of law as a paralegal.

A single mother to three boys, Jennifer has faced challenges of poverty, time constraints, and stress in regard to balancing her role as a parent with going to school while working to provide for her family and pay her education expenses.

Positive social change is Jennifer’s life and career goal. Jennifer is changing the world in the present moment by teaching her sons about social justice, our evolving legal system, and respect for all.




Runner-Up:  SABRINA M.
$2,000 Cash Award

Sabrina is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies through University of North Carolina Greensboro’s online program. Her goal is to impact children’s lives with the love of learning as a certified teacher.

As a single mother with one son, Sabrina earned an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education in 2009 in spite of many sleepless nights, assignments on overload, health problems, financial setbacks, and the loss of close family members, including her great-grandmother who raised her, her godmother, and her father.

Sabrina says, “Earning my bachelor’s degree gives me the opportunity to show my son that life is a journey with surprises but no expiration dates on dreams.”

Meet Our 2017 Awardees


First Place Awardee:  NINA M.
$5,000 Cash Award

Nina M. is working diligently to achieve her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse and fulfilling her dream of serving people.

Nina finished the first phase of her studies in 2013. After practicing her skills training at Pettigrew Rehabilitation Healthcare in Durham, she passed the State of North Carolina test and is now a Certified Nurse Assistant. Nina currently attends Durham Tech Community College and is pursuing her Associate Degree in Nursing, which she anticipates completing in Spring 2018. Her academic achievements have led to her being inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Nina faces financial challenges to achieving her educational and career goals. With a divorce pending, her husband is not providing financially for her and her six-year-old daughter. Nina also takes care of her sick father who lives with her. She knows her hope for a better life depends on her ability to finish school so she can find a job that pays well and build her career. Nina is thankful for the support she has received from Dress for Success Triangle in Durham and Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Award.

Nina shares, “I am doing my skills clinical at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill as nursing student, which is an excellent experience for me. I really enjoy taking care of my patients, and I can’t wait to finish school and start working as a nurse. After completing my degree program, I expect to work in hospitals to help people with their health needs, continue to be involved in community activities, and complete my education with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.”

Runner-Up:  SELENA W.
$1,500 Cash Award

Selena W. is on track to earn her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice from Wake Tech Community College in May 2017. She has been accepted into North Carolina Central University for the fall term. Selena’s goals include working with at-risk youth, attending law school, and starting a nonprofit to provide affordable and exceptional legal services to the less fortunate.

Selena’s parents were drug addicts. In spite of her grandmother’s best efforts to raise them, Selena and her 4 siblings were in and out of foster care. Selena gave birth to her daughter when she was only 14 years old. Determined to make a better life for herself, Selena graduated high school with honors and went on to attend North Carolina Central University. She later moved to Raleigh and attended Wake Tech Community College.

Selena has suffered a great deal of personal loss. Her mother died when she was 5. When she was 19, she lost her grandmother to cancer. In 2011, her daughter’s father was murdered, and in 2012 she witnessed her boyfriend’s murder during a home break-in. Partially blinded at age 7 after being pushed into a tree, Selena had her right eye removed in 2013 due to health complications. At one point, Selena became homeless, staying in the shelter at The Salvation Army.

Selena never let any of these circumstances deter her from her goals. In 2015, Selena returned to Wake Tech as a full-time student to pursue her criminal justice degree. Proudly, she shares, “This was my first time being a working mom and full-time student. Now I sit here, a student/mom – on the Dean’s List, and about to graduate.”

Runner-Up:  THADENE P.
$1,500 Cash Award

Thadene P. expects to graduate in 2018 from Miller-Motte College with her Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. Her immediate career goal is to obtain a job in the social work field to help struggling families and youth.

Growing up, Thadene lacked emotional stability and physical security as she was shuffled between the homes of various relatives. Thadene’s battle with depression started when she was molested as child.

After graduating from high school, with no single place to call home, Thadene began to self-medicate with marijuana, alcohol, and sex. From 2008 until 2014, she moved frequently, living in shelters or with others, including her mother, sister, and boyfriend’s parents. During these unstable times, Thadene gave birth to her daughter and son.

A turning point came when Thadene moved into a rehabilitation treatment center for addicts and completed a 9-month recovery program. She reunited with the father of her children, maintained sobriety, purchased a Wheels 4 Hope car, and worked to build a safe and stable home.

Thadene shares this good news, “In 2014, I started the best job I’ve ever had. In 2015, I used my tax refund for a deposit on a clean and affordable apartment. My own place. I am so proud because I know that even with all I have been through I’m not a failure. I want the world to know that God always provides and makes a way. I am passionate about helping people on the strength of all the wonderful people who have entered my life and believed in me.”

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