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Several women honored by Tampa Soroptimists

By The South Tampa News
Published: April 1, 2014

TAMPA –The Soroptimist Club of Tampa Bay, part of an international service organization, presented its awards recently at a luncheon.

The organization of women provides service to the community, grants to women trying to improve themselves, and mentoring and leadership to girls.

The award recipients are:

* Neha Patil, the Violet Richardson Award, given to a teen girl making a difference through volunteer service.

Patil has brought awareness to childhood obesity prevention through the “Eat Right, Exercise, and Have a Happy Life!” project. She has worked through the Girl Scouts, University Area Community Development Corp. and social media.

* Margaret Palmer, the Ruby Award, given to a woman for helping other women.

For 24 years she visited female inmates in the Hillsborough County Jail to offer conversation, compassion and prayer to anyone who wanted to talk to her. As they shared their stories and life experiences, Palmer realized that few had a stable home or community support to return to after incarceration. She dedicated herself to the vision of a safe home – a dream that came true in 2002 when Hillsborough House of Hope opened its doors.

Marissa E. Bravo, Stephanie L. Brannon and Rochele P. Weems – Women’s Opportunity Awards, a financial award given to women trying to better themselves and overcome difficult situations.

* Bravo is attending Ultimate Medical Academy to be come a certified and registered dental assistant. She has two children, ages 2 years and 5 months. One of her sons was diagnosed with autism. She was chosen because of her dedication to her sons, especially the one with autism, working hard with him to communicate to others and to succeed in life.

* Brannon is attending Hillsborough Community College, seeking an with AA degree in pharmacy. She has a 10-year-old son and her goal is to finish her degree at HCC, transfer to University of South Florida to earn her bachelors degree and become a pharmacist. She was chosen for the volunteer work that she does at the Trinity Cafe, which feeds the hungry and homeless.

* Weems is attending Manifest Theological Institute and majoring in Christian psychology. She is married and became sole provider for her family of five children when her husband was laid off. She was chosen because of how she went from receiving government assistance to being a self-sufficient person who takes care of her family and wants to encourage others.