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Soroptimists help young women with career development

I want to go into social work. To help people, I know what it’s like to struggle and I want to help kids in bad homes, or addicts.

- Hannah Olsen, 'Dream It Be It' mentor

Soroptimist International of Scotts Bluff County honored its graduates from the program “Dream It Be It” on Thursday, Jan. 18, at the Scottsbluff Country Club.

The program provides girls with access to professional role models, career education and resources in a experiential learning environment rather than a traditional academic setting.

“It’s about girls setting goals and learning what resources they can use to achieve those goals, even with obstacles in their lives,” Carrie Snygg, president of Soroptimist and co-chair of the program.

One such young lady, Aaliyah Marez, from Choices, an alternative school in Scottsbluff, is a sophomore and has been learning about acting.

“I got chosen for it (the program) and I came here because I feel I get more support and I can learn more step actions to lead to my goal,” Marez said.

Marez chose acting as her career goal to focus on in the program.

“My stepfather, committed suicide in 2012 and he had led me towards that goal, so I’m doing it for him,” she said.

Among the graduates were also mentors, who had graduated from the program in the previous year.

Hannah Olsen and Zoe Knaub, were a couple of this year’s mentors, and also from Choices.

“Choices, really encourages you to look towards your future,” Olsen said. “So, Zoe and I decided to come back and mentor with sophomores and help them advancing in their goals.”

Knaub agrees adding she got so much out the program.

Both young women are looking to pursue careers, where they will be helping others in life.

“I want to go into social work,” Olsen said. “To help people, I know what it’s like to struggle and I want to help kids in bad homes, or addicts.”

Her friend Knaub agrees, adding she is looking to pursue a career in psychology. For her, though, coming back to help was also a way of to let other young women know, they can overcome even devastating obstacles.

“My father committed suicide last year, and then my mother was taken from me this year suddenly in a car crash,” Knaub said. “We were so unprepared, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I was put on this path to do what I want and that is to help others.”

The graduates and mentors had seven sessions in a learning environment, where they explored careers, creating achievable goals, rising above obstacles and more.

Joan Cromer, a member of Soroptimist International said the program is in its fourth year to encourage young women to dream big and look to the future and overcome obstacles.

The organization would like to eventually move out to include other young women in schools in the area.

Funds for this program are primarily raised by the organization’s “Dancing with the Stars,” fundraiser to be held Jan. 27, at the Gering Civic Center.  Many of the young women from the program will be assisting taking tickets at the event.

For more information, or to purchase tickets call 308-632-4311.

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