The Soroptomist International chapter of Greater Bridgeport held their annual awards dinner recently at Southport Brewery, honoring three women in the community who have demonstrated notable service and dedication toward improving the lives of other women and girls in the world.

“These women are strength, perseverance and compassion personified,” said SIGB co-President Pat Nivakoff. “They have each had a direct impact on improving the lives of other women and girls throughout the world and for that we celebrate and honor them.”

Three recipients, two from Trumbull, include:

Ruby Award: Jen Kolakowski, Chief Clinical Officer of Recovery of Network Programs. The Ruby award acknowledges the efforts of women in the community who, through their personal or professional activities, are working to improve the lives of women and girls. As the Chief Clinical Officer of RNP, Kolakowski has authored, co-authored and implemented numerous successful grant proposals, which have significantly expanded RNP clinical services to include transitional and permanent housing as well as the nationally recognized Residential Co-Occurring Enhanced Inpatient Treatment Facility. Under her leadership, she developed the first HIV/AIDS specific management program in an emergency shelter setting. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition and is a member of the Connecticut Crisis Response Team.

The Violet Richardson Award: Sara Thornton, founder of LIGHT (A Light to shine on children in every corner of the world) Let’s Join in Giving Happiness to Children). The Violet Richardson Award is awarded to a young woman between the ages of 14 and 17 who volunteers in the community. Thornton began LIGHT at the age of 12 after seeing the joy created by providing her local minister with toys for an African mission trip in Uganda. She has cultivated a community of giving and through her organization has expanded her mission to include collecting shoes for the children.

Woman’s Opportunity Award: Yolanda Dancy of Bridgeport. The Women’s Opportunity Award is the cornerstone of Soroptomist International’s mission.

For more information, visit soroptomist.org.