Meet & Greet at Cocina Del Charro Oct. 26

Meet & Greet at Cocina Del Charro Oct. 26

Curious about Soroptimist? Join us for cocktails* or non-alcoholic beverages & heavy appetizers to get to know members of our Club, “Soroptimist International of Vista & North County Inland”! Come and learn how our “Dream Programs” help women and girls through education impacting their lives!  RSVP is required, email us at or scan QR code.

$20* for members
FREE* for guests
*does not include alcoholic beverages

October 20 Program: Moms Demand Action

October 20 Program: Moms Demand Action

Our October Program meeting guest speaker is Steve Gronke from Moms Demand Action, a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures designed to protect people from gun violence. The Lunch Meeting is on Friday, October 20 from 12 noon to 1 pm at Wildwood Crossing & Cantina, 116 Civic Center Drive, Vista. RSVP is required to

Trafficking Collaborative to Meet Oct. 12

Trafficking Collaborative to Meet Oct. 12

Please mark your calendars and join us Thursday, October 12 at 9:00 am. for our next San Diego North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting. at United Methodist Church Community Room, at 490 S. Melrose, Vista, CA. The event is free to the public and complimentary coffee and pastries will be available.

Our guest speaker is Megan House, Policy Advisor for Supervisor Jim Desmond. Ms. House covers the area of Health and Human Services and Public Safety. She has also had experience volunteering for, a global anti-human trafficking non-profit.

Upcoming related events of note:

January 27, 2024 – Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk 10 am from United Methodist Church of Vista (UMC Vista). Speakers and information tables to be announced.

March 7, 2024 – Collaborative Meeting 9 am at UMC Vista (speaker TBD)

May 2, 2024 – Collaborative Meeting 9 am at UMC Vista (speaker TBD)


Our Members at SI Convention in Dublin

Our Members at SI Convention in Dublin

VISTA, California, August 27, 2023–Seven members of Soroptimist International (SI) of Vista and North County Inland attended the Soroptimist International quadrennial International Convention in Dublin, Ireland during the last week in July.

The women had the opportunity to share ideas and strategies and attend workshops with sister Soroptimists from around the world. Topics included: Good health and well-being — SI Africa Federation; Quality education – SI of the Americas; Gender equality — SI Europe; Women leading the way on climate change — SI Southeast Asia Pacific. Over 1,700 Soroptimists attended the Convention.

Founded in 1921, Soroptimist International is a global women’s volunteer movement with a network of around 66,000 club members in 120 countries. Advocating for human rights and gender equality, at the heart of Soroptimist International’s advocacy is its work across seven UN Centers, where its UN representatives ensure that the voices of women and girls are heard. Soroptimist members around the world work on grassroots projects that help women and girls achieve their individual and collective potential, realize aspirations, and have an equal voice in their communities.

The rebranding of the SI emblem was unveiled, showcasing the development and growth of the organisation, which is reflected in the new branding. Chris Gooch, the designer of the new emblem, shared his thought process behind the new design, illustrating how it captures SI’s message.

Soroptimist members from the Vista club who attended the Dublin Convention included (l-r in photo ): Jennifer Luz-Olson, Thoralinda Soyland, Karen Thompson, Runa Gunnars, Elizabeth Freed and Sherry Luz. Also present but not in photo was Pat Origlieri.

ABOVE l-r: Desert Coast Region Governor Pat Whitacre and SI Vista member Pat Origlieri at the SI Convention Banquet in Dublin, Ireland in July.

BELOW l-r: Mother-Daughter Soroptimists Jennifer Luz-Olson and Sherry Luz at the Dublin Gala.

Club Installs 2023-2024 Board

Club Installs 2023-2024 Board

VISTA, California, June 26, 2023–Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland held its Installation of Officers at a brunch held Saturday, June 24 at Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista. This year’s theme was “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”

2023-2024 Board

President: Thoralinda Soyland
Vice-President: Susan Roncone
Treasurer: Assly Sayyar
Asst. Treasurer: Jennifer Luz-Olson
Secretary: Nelly Jarrous

Fundraising: Catherine Manis
Programs: Dyana Preti
Membership: TBD
Public Awareness: Karen Thompson

1 yr. Delegate: Karen Thompson
1 yr. Alternate: Eden Weinberger
2 yr. Delegate: Allison Metzler
2 yr. Alternate: Jackie Huyck

ABOVE Incoming Board: Standing (l-r): Nelly Jarrous (Secretary), Jennifer Luz-Olsen (Asst. Treasurer and outgoing President), Thoralinda Soyland (President), Susan Roncone (Vice President), Aleta Dirdo, (member standing in for Treasurer Assly Sayyar), Dyana Preti (Director of Programs), Lani Beltrano (member standing in for Director of Membership), Catherine Manis (Director of Fundraising), Karen Thompson (Director of Public Awareness). Kneeling: Jackie Huyck (Delegate). Not present: Treasurer Assly Sayyar and Delegates Allison Metzler and Eden Weinberger. Photo by Michelle Moritz.

Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Update

Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Update

ABOVE L-R: Penny Harrington, Flavio Nominati, and Kaye Van Nevel. BELOW: Meeting in the new space at United Methodist Church of Vista.

Guest Speaker: Flavio Nominati, San Diego County Deputy DA
Human Trafficking Task Force

Next meeting: TBD, United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S Melrose Dr Vista, CA 92081

The May Meeting of the San Diego North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative was held in the newly refurbished community room on the upper level. Our guest speaker was Flavio Nominati, San Diego Assistant District Attorney on the Human Trafficking Task Force. He works with our original guest speaker Carolyn Matzger, who had a unexpected conflict. 

Collaborative leader Kaye Van Nevel opened the meeting by having all attendees stand and introduce themselves. There were quite a few new people attending, so Kaye  talked about Soroptimist mission and our recent Live Your Dream Awards, which included a survivor of trafficking among our six awardees. (That specially designated award was made possible by donations received during our “30 Miles in 30 Days” to fight human trafficking walkathon and the Awareness Walk.)

Our legislative guru, Penny Harrington, updated us on status of legislation, specifically SB 14, which includes human trafficking within definition of a serious felony for the Three Strikes Law. To pass out of Public Safety, Sen. Grove had to amend to apply only to minors 18 and under. See online spreadsheet here:

AB 1740, to post HT notices in pediatric care facilities has passed committee which is a great first step. Penny also mentioned the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition Freedom Luncheon and Angels of Trafficking Awards on May 19 in La Jolla at 11:30 am to 2:00 pm with Monica Dean as Master of Ceremonies, and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan as special guest. Tickets available on Eventbrite

Kaye introduced our guest speaker, Flavio Nominati. Flavio is Assistant DA in Human Trafficking Task Force. He told us about his path to law school and his background. Although he originally wanted to get into theater, he is glad he pivoted to law, because he enjoys helping victims of abuse and trafficking. He told us about the unintended consequences of the passage of Bill 375 which repeals California Penal Code Section 653.22, the law that criminalized loitering for the intent to engage in sex work. This new act took effect January 1, 2023…and the result has been a sharp increase in “street level trafficking” state-wide! He cited a particular street in downtown San Diego (Main St. and Roosevelt) that has seen “bumper to bumper” traffic of men seeking sex from women who are there, some as young as 14. Law Enforcement has temporary cameras to document the activity, but they are constrained form having the cameras there permanently.

On a positive note, their recent Operation Better Pathways which focused on making contact with victims was a “dramatic step in the right direction” and “sent a message to traffickers,” he said. He cited one victim who is now back in school and has a job and is close to being able to be reunited with her kids.

He said if we suspect someone is being trafficked don’t intervene but call the Task Force Tip Line: 888-373-7888 or text 233-733 (BE FREE)

Next meeting will probably be in September, Kaye will notify Collaborative members.

Rewarding Spring Conference!

Rewarding Spring Conference!

Our club received a lot of recognition at Soroptimist’s 44th Annual Desert Coast Region Spring Conference. We received five “Celebrating Success” awards in various categories, and our club president Jennifer Luz-Olson was presented with the Governor’s Service Award! We got to meet and honor 7 of the 9 Region Live Your Dream Finalists (2 were unable to attend) and hear their inspiring stories of resilience. One of them is going on to be considered for an additional award at the National level!

We heard from our SIA President-Elect Bobbi Enderlin, and from the keynote speaker Dr. Martha Sosa-Johnson who is a doctor of internal medicine and since 2018 a member of SI Santa Ana-Tustin. Currently on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Sosa-Johnson told us her very personal story of struggling against adversity to get where she is today.

The theme of this year’s Conference was “Inspiring Leadership.” There were three workshops: one on Stepping into Leadership, another on Asking for Big Sponsors, and the third on the Big Goal Accelerator and what does and doesn’t qualify as an Accelerator project. Speaking of the Big Goal, it was announced that Governer Pat Whitacre has offered to match contributions up to $10,000 to the Dream Big Campaign made by members and clubs in Desert Coast Region! See QR code below to make a donation!

Our club’s basket earned us about $250 towards our Club Giving. All the silent auction baskets were amazing. I think some of our members came away with nice designer handbags from the Chinese Auction. We all enjoyed watching Pat O. and Runa cavorting around as geese in flight in the fun part of the program (with Pat O. playing the part of the disruptive goose who flies out of formation. She’s such a rebel.). Some photos from the Conference are below:


Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting in May

Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting in May

Our guest speaker in May is San Diego Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Matzger from the DA’s sex crimes and human trafficking division. We will also invite the recipient of this year’s special Soroptimist Live Your Dream Education & Training award for a victim of sex trafficking. This award was made possible by all who donated and/or participated in last year’s “30 Miles in 30 Days” to Fight Trafficking Walkathon. Please join us! All are invited and complimentary water, coffee and pastries will be available.

2023 Live Your Dream Awards

2023 Live Your Dream Awards

by Jackie Piro Huyck, SI Vista NCI

VISTA, California, March 22, 2023—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland (SI Vista NCI) announces with immense pride this year’s winners of the Live Your Dream Education and Training Awards. The club distributed awards totaling $18,100 to six women during the club’s Awards Brunch held March 18 at Palomar Estates East clubhouse in San Marcos. In the 50 years since the award’s inception in 1973, the Vista-based club has distributed nearly $175,000 in cash awards for women’s education to women locally, most of whom have overcome enormous obstacles including domestic violence, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and sex trafficking. Recipients may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation.

Club president Jennifer Luz-Olson recognized local dignitaries present at the event including Vista Mayor John Franklin, Vista Councilmember Katie Melendez and San Diego Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Matzger from the San Diego DA’s sex crimes and human trafficking division. Each awardee received a Letter of Appreciation from the City of Vista.

“In addition to celebrating these six amazing women, we are also celebrating our club’s 70th year of service in the community, because our club was chartered in March 1953,” said longtime member Thoralinda Soyland, pointing to a display of decades’ worth of history-laden photo albums and news clippings on display at the event. Soyland has been a Soroptimist for 44 years and grew up in Vista.

Each of the awardees was invited to speak about their struggles and dreams for a better life.

Recipient of the first place Live Your Dream Award was Kathryn Seman of Valley Center. Her dream is to attend USC to obtain a degree in Urban Planning and Development. A single mom of three who has experienced domestic violence, she said “Considering I only completed one year of high school and obtained a GED at 16, I never thought I would ever go back to school, and here I am at 32, proof that it’s never too late to reinvent yourself… this award means everything to me and my children.” Currently Kathryn is holding down two jobs to support her family while attending Palomar College.

Amanda Rodriguez received a special award reserved by the club for a survivor of human trafficking. Single mother to a 10-year-old, Amanda is pursuing a BA at Pt. Loma Nazarene in International Development with a minor in Marketing. “During the pandemic I co-founded a nonprofit tech startup, Free Brands, with a mission to empower survivors of human trafficking to become thriving entrepreneurs,” she said. Her dream is to live in a world where survivors are no longer just surviving, but “thriving by pursuing their purpose, and by extension raising children free from bondage, who are empowered to dream audaciously, knowing they are supported,” she wrote.

Jane Ogwuegbu is single mom of a 1-year-old son. Jane currently holds an Associate’s Degree in Nursing with a dream of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. “As a victim of domestic violence, living in a shelter since last year, it’s even more challenging to meet our basic needs…and realistically impossible for me to fund my career…” she wrote. Despite these challenges and lack of family support, Jane believes her current situation is temporary and she is determined to remain positive and achieve her career goal.

Aline Ramirez is a single mom going through a difficult divorce. The sole support of her 3-year-old daughter, she works at a domestic violence shelter while attending Cal State San Marcos. Aline’s passion is to help women and their families in the community. She is working towards a BA in Sociology and her dream is to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work and work as a case manager for victims of domestic violence. “Winning this award will help me continue school and not stress each semester about paying for my classes,” she said.

Maria Solano (not her real name) asked that her name and photo be withheld for safety reasons. Single mom of 3 children, she is a student at MiraCosta College and is holding down a part-time job while studying social work and human services. Her goals are to complete her AA and ultimately earn a Bachelor’s degree. Her dream is to find a field of work that would match her desire to help families and children, especially those with disabilities. Her award will help her stay the course.

Monica Limon’s award will help her achieve her dream of becoming a Preschool Director and helping children and parents, especially at-risk children and children with disabilities. Monica is a survivor of domestic violence and is taking care of her mother, husband and child while working full time as program manager for a daycare center. She is attending Palomar College and wants to obtain a BA in Early Childhood Education.

Attendees of the awards ceremony enjoyed a delicious brunch catered by the Broken Yolk in San Marcos. The club thanked Program Sponsors Allison Temples, David Asbury, Diane and Steve Scheerhorn, Harcourt Hervey, Karen Kahrhoff, Lynn Flanagan, Marianne Grisez, Nancy DePaola-Brooks, Paula Nix and Runa Gunnars, and Brunch Sponsors Assly Sayyar, the Scheerhorns, Jody Haddon, Judy Gregorie, Paige McWey Acers and Sherry Luz.

SI Vista NCI fundraises throughout the year to support the awards program and other projects that lead to women’s economic empowerment. “It is thanks to our generous donors and those attending our fundraisers that we are able to give out these awards each year,” said Live Your Dream chair Sherry Luz.

“The special award for a survivor of sex trafficking was thanks to funds we raised from our annual ‘30 Miles in 30 Days’ Walkathon,” added Kaye Van Nevel, who spearheads the club’s human trafficking awareness efforts.

Upcoming fundraisers include a “Favorite Things with a Twist” event at the Vista Senior Center on April 8, a “Lunch and Bunco” fundraiser at Rhythm Church in Oceanside on April 15, and an “English Garden Tea” in San Marcos on May 20. To learn more about the club and its events, visit

The Vista-based club is part of Soroptimist International, a worldwide organization. The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award program provides over $2.8 million in cash grants to head-of-household women in need each year. Since the program’s inception 50 years ago, more than $35 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families—leading to stronger communities, nations, and the world.

For more information visit or email


Above L-R: First place awardee Kathryn Seman, Soroptimist Sherry Luz, and Vista Councilmember Katie Melendez at Awards Brunch in San Marcos.
Above L-R: Vista Mayor John Franklin, Second place awardee Amanda Rodriguez, Vista Councilmember Katie Melendez, and Soroptimist Sherry Luz.


Program Sponsors

Allison Temples
David Asbury
Diane and Steve Scheerhorn
Harcourt Hervey
Karen Kahrhoff
Lynn Flanagan
Marianne Grisez
Nancy DePaola-Brooks
Paula Nix
Runa Gunnars

Brunch Sponsors

Assly Sayyar,
Diane and Steve Scheerhorn
Jody Haddon
Judy Gregorie
Paige McWey Acers
Sherry Luz

Two Events in January

Two Events in January

Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland held TWO events in January, which was Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

The first event kicked off on January 1st: the club’s 3rd Annual “30 Miles in 30 Days to Fight Human Trafficking” Virtual Walkathon fundraiser. Proceeds support the club’s efforts to help women and children who have been victims of human trafficking. The walkathon began Jan. 1 and ran through Jan. 30 and raised over $2,000.

The second event was the club’s 17th annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk and Event held in person from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, January 28 at the United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Guest speaker Susan Johnson, of Alabaster Jar Project, spoke at around 10:30 a.m., and the walk started at 11 a.m. from the church, down Melrose Drive about 1.5 miles to Sunset Drive and back. There were information tables, water and “Stop Trafficking” signs for all. We will be posting story and photos from the Walk in the weeks to come.

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