If you have lived in Sandpoint for any length of time, you know that the opportunities to give back to the community are abundant. With literally a few hundred nonprofit agencies in the area, there is a volunteer need that fits virtually every person’s talent. While it is difficult for many to find time to volunteer, for those who do so they typically have no expectation to receive anything in return. But former Sandpoint Mayor and long-time volunteer Marsha Ogilvie decided to put an end to that 20 years ago when she formed Women Honoring Women. The organization recognizes and celebrates Women of Wisdom who have done much through volunteerism and leadership to improve the quality of life for others in Bonner County.
With a total of over 111 women honored at an annual luncheon over the past two decades, it has become a celebration that the approximately 25 board members look forward to each and every year.
According to Women Honoring Women president Kari Saccomanno, nominees for this distinguished honor must be at least 65 years of age.
“We also look to women who have demonstrated a vision for our community and who have achieved their goals through collaboration with others,” said Saccomanno.
Other qualities the committee looks for include women who exhibit a love of learning through the pursuit of knowledge by study or experience. And as a reflection of what founder Marsha Ogilvie’s vision was, a Woman of Wisdom must show a commitment to the Bonner County community and its members as evidenced by the positive impact she has had in areas such as art, music, theatre, dance, sports, education and service.
“A Woman of Wisdom shall also demonstrate dedicated leadership that results in admiration and respect from others,” said Saccomanno, emphasizing the importance of the quality of being a good role model. “She is an inspiration to others and an example for future generations of women. She faces life’s challenges with grace and courage, and lives with dignity, integrity and honor. ”
The selection process begins with written nominations by friends, family, co-workers or neighbors of the candidate. The letters are often heartfelt stories of how women have touched the lives of others through their altruistic actions. While some women receive several nomination letters, other may receive only one. But it is not the number of nominations one receives; it is the story of how they have given back to the community that is important. The letters of nomination should speak directly to how the nominee fits the specific criteria.
“Our committee meets shortly after the nomination period closes and reads every nomination letter,” said Saccomanno who adds that it is at that meeting when the honorees are chosen.
While Women Honoring Women does much to recognize the efforts of those 65 and older, they also do much to encourage the young women in the community to do their part in becoming the best person they can be. Through its scholarship program, Women Honoring Women recognizes young women who are pursuing a post-secondary education.
Do you know of a woman at least 65 years of age who is deserving of the recognition of becoming a Woman of Wisdom? The deadline for nomination letters is quickly approaching. Please submit your nomination letter postmarked no later than March 1 and mail it to 1481 Wrenco Loop Road, Sandpoint, ID 83864. You can also email your nomination letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to donate to the scholarship fund, you can mail your check to the above address.
To apply for the Women Honoring Women scholarship, go online to sh.lposd.org and visit the counseling page where you will find a link to local scholarships.