Antioch Rotary Club honored with prestigious Cliff Dochterman Award

By John Crowder

The Rotary Club of Antioch was one of only two clubs in their seventy-two club District to receive the recently established Cliff Dochterman Award at a Rotary District meeting and ceremony held in Woodland, California on July 8.  The award was accepted by Milanka Schneiderman, Immediate Past President of Antioch Rotary on behalf of the Club.

The award, named after the past-president of Rotary International during 1992-93 and a Moraga resident, is presented to Rotary clubs that excel in all areas of Rotary. Requirements include participation in local, international, vocational youth, and club service. Clubs that receive the award are recognized for showing great care for their members, and for undertaking a project that can be emulated by other clubs and which will make a significant difference in the communities they serve.

The project that the Antioch Rotary Club undertook was the Empowerment Project for young women.  The project involves bringing together girls from local schools to screen the 2014 film, ‘The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things.’ After the screening the girls listen to a panel of successful women discuss their careers and life paths.  The idea for the project in Antioch was first proposed to the club by Antioch Rotarian Sal Sbranti in early 2015.  Sbranti’s daughter was involved in the production of the film.

After determining that the project would be a good fit for the Club, members of Antioch Rotary reached out to the principals of Deer Valley High School (DVHS) and Antioch High School (AHS), who both responded enthusiastically to the proposal.  In partnership with the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD), later that year, the program took place over two days, the first day at DVHS, and the second at AHS, for approximately 2100 girls from the schools.  Response to the program was unequivocally favorable.

Following the success with Antioch’s high school girls, the following year Antioch Rotary undertook the project for the 8th grade girls attending Antioch Middle (AMS), Black Diamond, Dallas Ranch, and Park Middle Schools.  The inspirational project was once again well received.  John Jimno, principal at Park Middle School, called it, “overwhelmingly positive,” while Lindsay Wisely, principal at AMS, called it, “an absolute game-changer for our 8th grade girls.”

Schneiderman tells the story of a girl she met while visiting Antioch High School earlier this year, who was still wearing a bracelet she had received at one of the events.  “She told me that the program had inspired her, for the first time, to consider going to college,” said Schneiderman.

This year, the Antioch Rotary Club and AUSD will be bringing all of AUSD’s 8th grade girls together for a “Day of Empowering Girls” event.  The full-day program will be held at the Antioch Fair Grounds on Wednesday, October 11.

For more information about the Antioch Rotary Club, visit or contact project coordinator Sal Sbranti at

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