Four local women were recently honored by Rogue Valley Soroptimist International clubs for their work in the community.

Four local women were recently honored by Rogue Valley Soroptimist International clubs for their work in the community.

The Soroptimist Ruby Award annually acknowledges women who are working to improve the lives of women and girls through their personal or professional activities, according to a Soroptimist press release. Each of the four Rogue Valley Soroptimist International clubs has selected their Ruby Award winner for 2011.

Susan Moen, the manager of SART, is the Ruby Award winner from SI/Ashland and is also the 2011 Soroptimist Northwestern Regional Award winner. Moen has worked in the field of sexual assault response since the early 1990s, when she trained as an advocate with the Los Angeles Commission on Assaults Against Women.

After moving to Southern Oregon and discovering there was no Sexual Assault Response Team in Jackson County, she worked for 5 years to create a non-profit SART and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program to coordinate services and provide acute care, free of charge, for sexual assault survivors. She served as Jackson County's SART first executive director until 2010, and currently volunteers as the agency manager.

Former Attorney General Hardy Myers has called Jackson County SART "the most impressive effort of its kind in the entire state." In 2010, Moen was awarded the SART Award for her contribution to the advancement of SART in Oregon.

Peggy Trowbridge is the teen mom mentoring director with Rogue Valley YFC/Campus Life.

She is the Ruby Award winner for SI/Medford. Trowbridge works to give teen moms and their children a safe place to come, relax and have fun.

Another purpose of this program is to provide each teen mom with a stable and reliable mentor. Trowbridge started as a volunteer and mentor with Teen Moms in November, 2001 and became director in 2003. She recruited mentors, selected teen moms, provided the means and direction for the meetings, organized Christmas parties, provided clothes and many other essentials for these moms and their babies.

Ginger Rilling, the SI/North Valley Ruby Award winner, started as a volunteer in the Schools Program twenty years ago with Mediation Works, a local nonprofit community dispute resolution center in Southern Oregon. She was subsequently hired as the organization's first schools program director. Rilling pioneered the Peer Mediation program and later a separate Bullying and Harassment Prevention Program.

These programs now have statewide and national recognition. After 10 years, Rilling took over Mediation Works' fledgling Family Mediation program, mediating between parents and teenagers and working with parents to develop parenting plans. She extended the program to reach "at-risk" youth and their families with a significant amount of work being done with youth being discharged from the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center.

One of Lynn Hobbs' brothers was born blind. Based on this childhood experience and seeing the need for her brother to be independent, Hobbs realized that her brother needed a guide dog so he could have his freedom. That freedom is one reason Hobbs became a nurse, and is now nurse administrator for the Hematology Oncology group in Medford.

In her spare time, Hobbs has been volunteering as a puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind for more than 15 years, and serves as the regional lead for Southern Oregon. The primary goal for Guide Dogs for the Blind is to provide mobility and an aide for the visually impaired to achieve independence. The program is funded solely by donations and volunteers, so that dogs are given to people in need regardless of their ability to pay. She is making an impact on many people's lives. Hobbs is the Ruby Award winner for SI/Rogue Valley Sunrise.

These women's efforts help to promote the issues that are important to the Soroptimist organization. They have identified and focused on a need in their communities which has significantly contributed to the improvement the lives of women and girls.

Award winners at the club level are eligible for additional awards at other levels of the organization. The finalist at the top level receives a $5,000 donation to the charitable organization of her choice.

To recommend a woman to be honored for her work to better the lives of women and girls in our community, whether professionally or as a volunteer, contact Kathy Garrett Canape at 541-482-6288 for an application, or look at the local website www.SoroptimistRV.org. The deadline to submit for the 2012 Soroptimist International of America Ruby Award is December 1.

Founded in 1921, Soroptimist is an international organization for business and professional women who provide volunteer service to their communities. The name, Soroptimist, means "best for women."