Monday, August 8, 2022

Today’s Paige: Soroptimist International: Building a better future for women and girls

Soroptimist International educates, empowers and enables one gal at a time

Marybeth Keenan never expected to have to handle life with three children on her own. 

But when her husband tragically suffered a skull fracture in 2004 and died four years later as a result of the accident, she suddenly became a single mom. 

While Keenan had great support from family and friends and a very good job at St. Paul Lutheran Church, she realized she needed to go back to school to further her education and strengthen their path forward.

Somewhere in the middle of 50 hour work days and long nights taking classes, Keenan learned about Soroptimist International Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach, one of over 70,000 Soroptimist clubs worldwide with a mission to transform the lives and status of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities. 

“I think for some women, there’s a sense of desperation. I hadn’t heard of Soroptomist at that time. Had it not been for one of the club members who knew me and what I was going through, I wouldn’t have even entertained asking for a scholarship,” says Keenan.

Keenan Family
Keenan Family, Mother’s Day 2008

Keenan was awarded the Live Your Dream Scholarship, a scholarship still offered today to women heads of households with dependents who return to school to further their education.

Soroptimist International Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach supports a number of organizations through grants and holds several empowerment and human trafficking awareness events throughout the community each year. The group also works to mentor at-risk high school girls with its inspiring Dream It. Be It program and raises much-needed funds through its annual Women of Distinction Breakfast.

Keenan now serves as president of the Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach club and encourages all women and girls to seek community support, especially in the most challenging of times.

“Do not try to eat the elephant all at once. Sometimes we get caught up in the ‘Well, I can’t do it all and so I won’t do anything’ mentality. Start with something small. I think everybody can do something, whether it’s buying a ticket to our Women of Distinction Breakfast event to help support us in that way or if it’s volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity build, just something small,” says Keenan. 

Tickets are still available at for the Soroptimist Club of Boca Raton/Deerfield Beach’s 2022 Women of Distinction Awards Breakfast. Numerous leaders in the community will be honored at the breakfast and Dr. Heidi Schaeffer will receive the Gloria Drummond Lifetime Achievement Award. The event will be held at Boca West Country Club on March 9 at 8 a.m. 

Learn more about Soroptimist International at and on Today’s Paige, the Podcast

For video and more on this story plus crime prevention, bullying and school safety tips, visit Today’s Paige, the blog. 

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and Today’s Paige – the blog and podcast highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places and the gems making our communities special. In addition to Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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