Mercilyn Palec, a mother and breadwinner of her family, is this year’s Live Your Dream awardee.
Her life story was chosen out of 13 other women who submitted entries and received the $3,000 award last Saturday at the Live Your Dream Gala of Soroptimist International NMI at the Azucena Room of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.
The cash intends to help recipients with a no-strings-attached cash award, improve their education and skills, and improved their employment prospects.
“I am humbled to be the awardee this year… I applied for this award last year but I did not submit my entry because it asks you to talk about your life’s challenges and that is something that I don’t like to do. I really like to be the optimistic one,” she said.
“When I decided to apply for this scholarship and talk about those challenges, I realized that that is the problem…that we don’t want to talk about problems…but we have to be doers, we have to get ourselves out there to be heard. The Live Your Dream award is such a great opportunity that women should try to give it a shot. I did and pulled through.”
Palec gave honor to her late grandmother, who played a significant role in her life. “Just recently, I lost my grandmother and she was a very big part of my life. We buried her last week and, at the same time, found out that I got this award. …My grandmother had to pave the way so her grandchildren can have this opportunity.”
“This is for the women in my family, my grandmother who had nine children, my mother who raised seven children who adopted three that were not her own, me included. For my daughter who I hope to raise to the best of my abilities and to support and encourage her to go for anything that she wants to pursue.”
Palec, who was also inducted as a new member of the Soroptimist International NMI, gave thanks to her sponsor, SINMI vice president Donna Krum. “My sponsor…has been heavily involved with the Saipan Chamber of Commerce as well as an active mentor of the Saipan Young Professionals. She is the most optimistic person and life loving individual I’ve ever met in my entire life,” she said.
“One of the many life lessons that I learned from Donna is that she constantly teaches action—to show up and play nice because, through that, you can observe, listen, and learn. As long as you devote yourself to learning constantly, you will progress in life.”
Soroptimist International NMI president Maureen Sebangiol said the Live Your Dream program is a signature for every Soroptimist Club worldwide. The award gives a cash award to a woman who is pursuing an undergraduate or training degree, is financial head of her household and has a need for funds to allow her to continue and pursue her educational dreams. In 2017, there were over $2 million awarded worldwide.
“With this we hope to push women to live their dreams and never give up,” Sebangiol said.