TOUCH FROM ABOVE YOUTH ADVANCEMENT AWARD
The Touch From Above Youth Advancement Award is a memorial award program. It’s beginning came as a wonderful way to pay tribute to the life of a love one, Frances Taylor, a founding member of Soroptimist International of Dixon. To honor her memory, we sought a diverse group of recipients, who clearly want to make significant contributions to their families and the communities they live in. Each student demonstrated a need for a computer, contributed to their family, school and, or community and will attend a college, university or technical institute in the fall or have a written plan for working prior to attending school. Our awards are not based on overall academic achievement, rather the focus is toward a proven need and a true desire to further one’s education or to establish a successful career path.
Scholarships and awards are a special kind of gift. They are born in generosity and the desire to contribute to someone else’s life. Memorial contributions add the dimension of making a gift in the midst of one’s own loss, of envisioning something positive coming from tragedy. Frances Taylor’s genuine desire to help others is what we, Soroptimist International of Dixon, look to honor and remember today.
In 1961 Frances Taylor became a founding member of Soroptimist International of Dixon, installed in the position of Vice President. For the next 33 years, Frances maintained the status of “member in good standing”, obtaining perfect attendance awards each year until the time of her death in the Fall of 1994. This means that she never missed a Thursday afternoon Soroptirnist luncheon in 33 years!
To the best of our knowledge Frances did not have a formal education. She started working at Bank of America just out of high school, as an entry level employee. Just before her thirtieth birthday she was promoted to the position of Loan Officer. This was quite an accomplishment for a young woman of her time, having moved her way up the male dominated Bank of America corporate ladder. She stayed with the company for another 10 years, until at age 39, when she gave birth to her only child, a son. The next 6 years were spent at home, working at full-time motherhood. After her son was settled into elementary school, Frances returned to work, this time at First Northern Bank of Dixon.
Frances stayed with First Northern for twenty years. She became everyone’s personal banker and was always looking out for one’s best interests. She volunteered many hours at Soroptimist fundraisers, always handling the money and making certain that we did it the “right” way. The Touch From Above, Youth Advancement Award, also known as ATFA@, began in 1995 originally as the Frances Taylor Memorial Scholarship. Initial funding came from donations made family, friends, and Soroptimist members, in loving memory of Frances. All wanted to honor her incredible spirit and love for Soroptimist and the community of Dixon.
As Frances would have liked, each year we have expanded the Award Program that is a tribute to her legacy. In 1998, after the death of Frances Taylor’s best friend and long-time Soroptimist member, Betty McCarty, it was decided to rename our Memorial Scholarship to the Touch From Above Youth Advancement Award Program. We try to use our monies wisely, and in a way that is respectful of Frances wishes. Our Club has presented computers, paid college tuition and fees, helped with housing and transportation and given academic business awards. Frances Taylor believed in and lived by, that of hard work, integrity, loyalty to friends and active community service.