Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Taylor Loomis was recognized last month for her volunteer work in the community.
Loomis was chosen as one of two recipients — out of 40 applicants statewide — for the Dottie Lamm Award from the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. The award recognizes two young women annually for their academic achievements and involvement in their communities.
Roweena Naidoo, programs manager for the Denver-based Women’s Foundation of Colorado, said the applicants were narrowed down to 10 finalists. She said that was based on their community service, volunteer work, and how they view issues facing women and girls in their communities, Colorado and the rest of the world.
Naidoo said the 10 finalists were interviewed individually and as a group May 1 in Denver. She said each of the 10 girls was impressive, having started or enhanced programs in her home community.
As a member of the high school’s Rotary Interact Club, Loomis helped raise money for the Anajali School in Africa, which provides housing and schooling to children in Kenya. She also has been involved with a number of fundraising and community service projects as a member of the high school’s leadership class.
And in the fall, Taylor and her sister, Marley, completed a community service project as a requirement for their bat mitzvahs, which signify a girl becoming an adult in the Jewish community. They met with restaurant owners, encouraging them to consider using environmentally friendly food containers and utensils.
During the interviews for the award, Naidoo said Loomis was poised, articulate and thoughtful.
“She kind of rose to the top because of the way she responded to the questions from the committee,” said Naidoo, who with two Women’s Foundation of Colorado board members and two former Dottie Lamm Award winners made up the selection committee. “And the way she interacted with the rest of the girls, she really took a leadership role.”
Loomis will receive a $1,500 academic award to use toward school expenses. The other winner was Jeanette Yanez, of Poudre High School in Fort Collins.
Teacher Lisa Ruff, who taught Loomis’ freshman English class and coached her as a member of the school’s forensics team, wrote Loomis a letter of recommendation. Ruff wrote that Loomis’ commitment to Steamboat and desire to serve others were her “finest qualities.”
“Taylor Loomis is making a difference in the lives of those around her, both in the classroom and in the community,” Ruff wrote.
Loomis admitted that she was surprised to be named a Dottie Lamm Award winner because after having met the other 10 finalists, she didn’t think she stood a chance. She said the most rewarding part of the experience was meeting and interacting with the other girls and the women who work for the foundation.
After receiving the award, Loomis was named co-chairwoman of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado Girls’ Grantmaking Fund. The group next year will grant $20,000 to nonprofit agencies in their communities that encourage girls to stay in school.
Loomis said it’s another opportunity for her to do the things she enjoys: being involved and helping others.
“I like knowing that I can make a difference because sometimes I feel there’s nothing I can do,” she said. “When you go to Doak Walker or to the library to help with a kids program and see their reactions, it’s cool to see that they appreciate what you’re doing. It’s satisfying to know you’re making a difference.”
According to a news release, the Dottie Lamm Award was created in 1987 to honor Lamm’s years of service and dedication to issues and causes related to women and girls in the state. Lamm, a former first lady of Colorado and social worker, was the first board president of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado.