Soroptimist International of Los Angeles
Ruby Award
Photos of Ruby Award Winners

Wendy Greuel (2011) Greuel has served as a Los Angeles City Council member during which she worked tirelessly as an independent voice. In 2009 she was elected LA City Controller during which she was successful in recovering delinquent tax funds as well as saving the city money through audits of city services.

 

Karen Bass (2012) Congresswoman Bass served in the California State Assembly representing the 47th district from 2004 to 2010. In 2008, she was elected Speaker of the Assembly, becoming only the second woman and third African American to serve in that post. In 2010, she was elected to represent California’s 33rd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Throughout her time in the California Assembly, Congresswoman Bass worked on behalf of children in foster care. She continues this work as the Co-Chair and Founder of the bipartisan Foster Youth Caucus. Through her service on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congresswoman Bass is a force in addressing the trafficking of women and girls, and human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

 

Tanya Walters (2010) Tanya has made it her mission in life to help kids find their way by showing them the world. She is so successful that Tayna was part of People Magazine's “Heroes Among Us” series. Walters was a Los Angeles Unified School District bus driver when she founded the Godparents Youth Organization in 2002. Her goal was to “open the eyes of deserving young people who she meets on her bus route.” She takes them on cross-country mentoring trips to let them see the natural wonders the United States has to offer.

Thanks to Walters and other bus drivers who share a similar vision, 22 teens who rarely leave their L.A. neighborhood are taking a road trip to places such as the Grand Canyon, Birmingham, Ala., Washington, D.C., and Niagara Falls.

With an itinerary that traces the history of the Civil Rights Movement, Walters and her fellow GYO mentors can have more of an educational impact than any classroom experience. One trip participant, Selesta Shurney, appreciates the fact that Walters has given her the chance to see the U.S. She said, “It made me realize that it’s more than California; it’s more than Pomona. It is so historical with Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Emmett Till and stuff like that.” Walters extends the student’s regular school experience with visits to college campuses.

See Tayna Walters feature from the Oprah Show

 

Keren Taylor. In December of 2001, Keren Taylor, launched WriteGirl, a program to mentor, inspire, and equip high school girls with creative writing skills. To quote Keren: “Here in the world of WriteGirl, we are all about giving girls and women the space, time and permission to speak up, speak out, write it down and let their unique voices loose. Some of our girls may go on to pursue careers as writers, but all will have valuable communication skills to help them no matter what they decide to do in their lives.”

Since the inception, the WriteGirl has a 100% success rate in helping girls to graduate from high school and then go on to college. As one of the mentors said, “I wish they would have a program like that when I was in school.” So would many of us!

In addition to her Ruby Award, Keren’s WriteGirl program was the non-profit of the year award winner in 2010. WriteGirl Website

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