Vista Fire Chief to Speak at Collaborative

Vista Fire Chief to Speak at Collaborative

February 21, 2024, Vista, CA—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will host the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting on Thursday, March 14th, 9 a.m., at United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista. The event is free to the public, and complimentary coffee and pastries will be provided.

Our guest speaker will be Chief of the Vista Fire Department, Gerard Washington. He will speak about how firefighters are now being trained to spot and assist human trafficking victims. Chief Washington recently attended the Soroptimist’s Human Trafficking Awareness Walk held in January.

The North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative is a diverse group of citizens and community organizations committed to raising awareness about human trafficking, sharing information, improving victim services, educating the public, and advocating for related policy and legislation. The Collaborative meets quarterly at 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the United Methodist at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista, California. The event is free to the public, and coffee and pastries are served. Schedule posted online at

For more information contact Kaye Van Nevel at or visit

Vista Fire Chief Gerard Washington (far right) participated in Soroptimist’s annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk in January, led by Vista Strawberry Festival Queen Serenity Serda and members of the Miss Bonsall Court. Washington will be guest speaker at the March Collaborative Meeting. Photo by Jackie Huyck.

February 16 Program Meeting

February 16 Program Meeting

Our November Program Meeting topic will be Medicare. Guest speaker is Karen Leyva.

WHEN: Friday, November 16

TIME: 12 Noon – 1 pm

WHERE: Vista Village Pub, 224 Main St., Vista

COST: $20 per person for member includes lunch. RSVP Required

NON-MEMBERS: Contact us if you would like to attend as our guest!
Call 760-683-9427 or email

Human Trafficking Awareness Walk 2024

Human Trafficking Awareness Walk 2024

Vista, CA – Our Soroptimist 18th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Event and Walk took place under sunny skies on Saturday, January 27th at the United Methodist Church of Vista. We had a great turnout! Community members, leaders, advocates, and elected officials all came to help us raise awareness about human trafficking. In addition to our Soroptimist club’s info and registration tables, there were representatives from Alabaster Jar Project, San Diego HHSA (Health and Human Services), North County Lifeline, San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) Coalition for Justice, and TrueCare Community Health Services.

Event Chair Kaye Van Nevel welcomed all attending and invited the local civic leaders who were present to speak.

Our featured guest speaker, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond, addressed the dangers our youth face through social media exploitation. He announced his commitment to promoting education about human trafficking in schools, and emphasized the importance of teaching students to recognize grooming tactics and potential dangers.

California State Assemblywoman Laurie Davies discussed recent legislative efforts, like Bill SB14, aimed at classifying trafficking a minor as a serious felony. Davies also presented a plaque from the Assembly honoring our own Kaye Van Nevel, recognizing her tireless advocacy for the safety of women and children and her relentless pursuit of a safer community.

Vista Council Member and Deputy Mayor Katie Melendez (a new member of our SI Vista club) spoke about labor trafficking. She pledged to advocate for corporate accountability and supply chain transparency, and she stressed the importance of being aware of where the goods we purchase come from.

Others who spoke included Vista Mayor John Franklin, Vista Council Member Corinna Contreras and Vista Fire Chief Gerard Washington. Vista Council Member Dan O’Donnell arrived just in time for the walk, which was down Melrose Avenue from the Church to Sunset Drive and back. Vista Strawberry Festival Queen Serenity Serda and members of the Miss Bonsall Court led the way, holding our club’s big “Stop Human Trafficking” banner. The walkers held their HONK to STOP HUMAN TRAFFICKING signs or held signs of their own making, and were rewarded by lots of honks from passing motorists.

Thanks to all who attended and helped out this year! Thanks Terri Haskins and SI Oceanside-Carlsbad for coming and supplying the water! Thanks to United Methodist Church for the beautiful venue!

30 Miles in 30 Days Fundraiser

30 Miles in 30 Days Fundraiser

*30 Miles in 30 Days Fitness Challenge Fundraiser:

WHEN: The challenge begins January 1, 2024 and ends on January 30, 2024

WHERE: Anywhere you can walk/run/bike safely!

WHAT: You sign up online, pledge $1 per mile walked (or whatever you can afford) and walk/run/bike a total of 30 miles in January. Online options include donating without walking, signing up as an individual, joining an existing team, or forming your own team.

WHY: This is a fundraiser and all funds raised through pledges and donations will go to our Service Fund to support our mission of helping women and girls get the education and training they need to succeed.

HOW TO SIGN UP: Visit or text the code “3030WALK” to 44-321.

Whether you choose to walk or run inside, outside, on a treadmill, on a bike…we only challenge you to cover 30 miles in 30 days in January. This challenge is excellent motivation for you to get in shape while raising money for a good cause!

November 17 Program Meeting

November 17 Program Meeting

L-R: Kathleen Ables, Soroptimist Vice President Susan Roncone, and Chuck Ables.

At our November Program meeting at Wildwood Crossing in Vista we were honored to host guest speaker Kathleen Ables, a retired Marine Corps captain, who spoke to us about the challenges faced by herself and other women in the Marine Corps over her 20-year military career, which spanned 1967-1987.

We also welcomed Kathleen’s husband Chuck Ables, a Marine veteran with 28 years of service under his belt. Kathleen credits Chuck with contributing to her success as a female officer in the Marines. (Among his words of advice to her were: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”)

Ables was one of the first females to serve as a commanding officer in a predominantly male unit. During her 20 years of service, she was a trailblazer, using her influence to raise issues concerning women Marines. One example: she urged a change to a policy that excluded females from certain assignments and deployments, which denied them the operational experiences they needed to be competitive with their male peers. After Kathleen briefed a new incoming commander on the problem, that commander ended the policy then and there!

Kathleen Ables retired from the military in 1987 in order to raise the couple’s two daughters. Kathleen and Chuck now reside in Carlsbad, where they have both been active in local veteran’s associations.

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

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.

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