Soroptimists Donate Blankets to One Safe Place

Soroptimists Donate Blankets to One Safe Place

 “I loved the sensitivity they provided the trauma victims of every age. Every aspect of their services were designed to respect the needs and feelings of their clients: privacy, confidentiality, compassion and humanity.”  Dyana Preti, Soroptimist Member

by Lani Beltrano

On November 1st, Dyana, Pat O, Sherry and I met with Claudia Grasso, the Executive Director of One Safe Place in San Marcos to donate over 70 blankets collected from club members and supporters (with SI Vista NCI labels attached) and to get a private tour of the facility.

One Safe Place helps people of all ages who have suffered domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking. Since its July opening, the facility has seen over 1,000 victims. Many services are offered at this location at no cost, including legal services, crisis response, foster care, health and wellness, pet assistance, restraining order assistance, food, housing and employment help. As of October 30, the facility had 84 committed partners available to give clients help and help them begin their healing process. It is associated with Palomar Health, so victims may also be seen at that facility if necessary.

During the tour we were able to see the kid’s playroom, medical examination room with showers, computer room, various conference rooms, professional kitchen, district attorneys’ rooms, prayer room, tele-court room and Sharia’s Closet. Sharia’s Closet is a non-profit that accepts gently-used clothing for the victims and their families. The members were very pleased and grateful to have this wonderful opportunity. It is indeed One Safe Place! Below are Dyana’s, Pat’s and Sherry’s thoughts about One Safe Place.

Dyana Preti: “I loved the sensitivity they provided the trauma victims of every age. Every aspect of their services were designed to respect the needs and feelings of their clients: privacy, confidentiality, compassion and humanity.”

Pat O: “My take is that they would benefit from hands-on volunteers, as their collaborations with other agencies garners lots of donations of what is needed. The donation of blankets is ours as Soroptimists, fulfilling a need that their collaborators did not already address. Loved our tour!”

Sherry Luz: “The facility was beautiful and you could tell that it will be well used. Space for every agency, kids, moms, nurses, clothing. You name it and it was covered. Such a fine place! Very thoughtful place. Congratulations to our county!”

 

Photo top (l-r): Soroptimists Sherry Luz, Lani Beltrano, Dyana Preti and Pat Origlieri pose with donated blankets and One Safe Place Executive Director Claudia Grasso. Our club is still collecting blankets, and will be making a second trip. Our goal is to donate as many blankets as possible by the end of 2022 (and possibly beyond. If interested in contributing, leave us a voice mail at 760-683-9427 or email us at soroptimistinternationalvista@gmail.com and we’ll get back to you.

Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

November 10, 2022, Vista, CA—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland hosted the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting on Thursday, November 3, 9 a.m., at United Methodist Church of Vista’s Fellowship Hall at 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista. Guest speaker was Don Meredith, Rancho Santa Fe Rotarian, who was inspired by the RSF Rotary’s focus on human trafficking. After listening to multiple speakers at weekly Rotary meetings on the topic he became aware of the severity and extensiveness of human trafficking around the world. He wanted to help, and the idea simply came to him in a dream! The Signal! This SOS Signal, a quick hand gesture for victims to let bystanders subtly know they are in distress and that they “Need to Get Help!”

L-R: Kaysee Morota, Liz Ferguson, Jacque Howard, Terry Haskins, Don Meredith, Kaye Van Nevel and Donna Weber

The next meeting is in January. The event is free to the public, and coffee and pastries will be provided. For more information contact:
Kaye Van Nevel at valentinestella147@gmail.com or visit
http://www.soroptimistvista.org/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls

ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE: The North San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative is a Program of Service of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland in partnership with United Methodist Church of Vista. The Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking. Our Collaborative Meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 10:30 am in the Church’s Fellowship Hall (lower level) at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Admission is free and all are welcome. Complimentary coffee and pastries are be available. 

Foster Children are Subject of September Program Meeting

Foster Children are Subject of September Program Meeting

Our guest speaker for our September Program Meeting was Paul Ammons, CASA Outreach Coordinator for Voices for Children, a San Diego nonprofit that recruits, trains, and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers who speak up for the needs and well-being of children in foster care in our area. Paul is asking us to help spread the word to find more CASA volunteers to help these kids, whose lives are chaotic and who often need to move frequently, changing school districts, being reassigned social workers, etc. And as we know, foster children are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. They are in need of one stable adult in their life who cares about them and will have their back for a sustained period.

Voices for Children recruits and trains and supports CASA volunteers. Each volunteer is vetted and appointed by a judge to get involved in the life of a child, spend time with them, and report to the court about the child’s progress and needs. Unlike the high caseloads social workers and legal advocated face, a CASA is able to focus on just one child or sibling group at a time. By building a trusting relationship with that child, a CASA is able to help the judge understand not only their situation but also what they like to do, what their favorite subject is in school, or why they are struggling in a certain placement. This helps judges make the most informed decisions for children’s futures.

To become a CASA, no legal experience or prior knowledge of foster care are required; Voices for Children provides all the training needed. Volunteers must be at least 21, able to visit with their case child at least once per month, have a good driving record and pass a background check, and commit to a minimum of 18 months, with average service of 10-15 hours per month.

For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org

 

Deputy DA Tafreshi Speaks at Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

Deputy DA Tafreshi Speaks at Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

September 1, 2022, Vista, CA—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland hosted the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting on Thursday, September 1, 9 a.m., at United Methodist Church of Vista’s Fellowship Hall at 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista. Guest speaker was Deputy District Attorney Brooke Tafreshi, Community Partnership Prosecutor assigned to North County San Diego, who spoke about the new Family Justice Center, “One Safe Place” that opened in San Marcos in July. (PHOTO: Brooke Tafreshi with Soroptimist Kaye Van Nevel, who chairs the Collaborative.)

The center is a place where child, adult, and elderly victims of abuse and their families will walk through the doors and receive acute crisis-care, advocacy, counseling, legal services, connection to shelter and housing, long term mentoring, workforce readiness, and educational opportunities – all under one roof. The goal of the North County Family Justice Center is to provide hope, healing, and justice by creating pathways forward for victims and their families as they move through the process of “surviving to thriving.” Before, victims and survivors had to travel to several different locations across North County to receive a full continuum of support which could be exhausting and a barrier to getting healed. While existing service providers provide excellent services, there was little interconnectivity, and providers often operated in silos, rather than under one umbrella of victim care. For more info see https://onesafeplacenorth.org/

ABOUT THE COLLABORATIVE: The North San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative is a Program of Service of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland in partnership with United Methodist Church of Vista. The Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking. Our Collaborative Meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 10:30 am in the Church’s Fellowship Hall (lower level) at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Admission is free and all are welcome. Complimentary coffee and pastries are be available. 

Soroptimists Donate to Ukraine Relief

Soroptimists Donate to Ukraine Relief

August 6, 2022, Vista, CASoroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland (SI Vista NCI) has donated $1,000 from the club’s general fund to aid Ukrainian refugees in Hungary and Ukraine through Soroptimist International of Europe’s War Zone Initiative projects. The money was wired directly to Soroptimist International of Szombathely (Hungary) which will use it to provide families who have fled the war in Ukraine with basic medical supplies. Many Soroptimist clubs in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Moldova have set up funding mechanisms to provide assistance to the 3.2 million refugees who have fled their Ukrainian homeland. Individuals and clubs who wish to donate to any of the Soroptimist global relief efforts can donate to a specific project of their choosing here:  https://soroptimist-projects.org/explore-projects/

SI Vista NCI is part of Soroptimist International, a worldwide service organization with the mission of working at local, national and international levels to educate, empower and enable opportunities for women and girls. There are more than 72,000 members in 121 countries and 5 federations worldwide. The local club meets twice a month and new members are always welcome. See soroptimistvista.org or call 760-683-9427 for more information.

Spotlight on 2022 Live Your Dream Awardees

Spotlight on 2022 Live Your Dream Awardees

by April Frisby

by April Frisby

Member, SI Vista NCI

Diana

Diana

2022 Live Your Dream Awardee

Amy

Amy

2022 Live Your Dream Awardee

Jasmine

Jasmine

2022 Live Your Dream Awardee

Rebecca

Rebecca

2022 Live Your Dream Awardee

June 8, 2022, Vista, CA–This year, our club raised over $15,000 to award four women, giving them a much-deserved opportunity to improve their lives through further education. With funding and support from our Soroptimist club, the women can utilize the awards for food, rent, bills, travel, tuition, or in any other way that will help them along the path to ultimately achieving their dream jobs and inspiring other women in the process.

This month we would like to celebrate our four Live Your Dream awardees. Each is a positive, strong, brave, independent woman who has worked hard to make impressive progress in her personal and professional life. All are stars and serve as shining examples to us all.

 

Diana Diaz is a single mother to a seven-year-old daughter named Daniella and is studying to achieve her childhood dream of becoming a nurse. After applying to a number of competitive colleges across the state of California, Diana recently uprooted her life in San Marcos to accept an offer to train as a Registered Nurse at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California. With her parents residing in Mexico, Diana is determinedly and single-handedly supporting herself as a full-time student and primary caregiver to her daughter and is on-track to graduate as an RN in 2023.

 

 

 

Amy DeMar was awarded a Live Your Dream Scholarship as an at-large applicant this year, as there was no local Soroptimist chapter close to where she currently resides in Aztec, New Mexico with her five-year-old son, Samuel. Amy is studying Psychology and her ideal role is to become a civilian military psychologist and practice in the field with service members during their deployments. She hopes to help and inspire those suffering with PTSD, giving them the proper tools to live long and productive lives long after the battles are over.

 

 

 

 

Our next awardee, Jasmine Davis, has been amazingly resilient and persistent, dealing with abusive relationships, overcoming homelessness and recently experiencing the loss of a parent from Covid-19. A loving mother to her three-year-old son, RJ, Jasmine has persevered through tragedy and is now studying for an Associate’s Degree in Information Technology at Miramar College. Her dream role is to work for the Department of Justice, the FBI, or CIA in a cybersecurity-related capacity, serving her country to do what comes naturally to her – helping make the world a safer place and protecting members of the public from harm.

 

 

 

Rebecca Villalobos is a self-employed esthetician and mother of two small children under the age of three. After suffering with low self-esteem in her teen years, Rebecca has used her experience and role as a single mother to aspire to help others. She is studying for an Associate’s Degree in Sociology at Mira Costa College, with a view to attending graduate school at Cal State San Marcos and pursuing a career in the public service sectors

Deputy DA Tafreshi Speaks at Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

May 5th HT Collaborative

 

Collaborative Update 

by Kaye Van Nevel

Our May North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting was held 9 am on Thursday, May 5th at the United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista in Fellowship Hall (lower level). 

Our guest speaker was Kathleen Thomas, North County Lifeline, Project Life. 

Kathleen (Kay) Thomas is the Clinical Training Coordinator for North County Lifeline’s Project LIFE providing trauma-reprocessing, intensive case management, victim advocacy, and psychotherapy to individuals who have experienced exploitation and trafficking in San Diego County. 

Kathleen spoke about the importance of easy access of information to the public.  Project Life’s recently produced comprehensive 11 minute video is just that. It is now available on the North County Lifeline Website and on their Facebook page. 

There is also a webinar available with valuable information on how to get involved in the fight against Human Trafficking (see below). 

We also discussed contacting prospective applicants for Soroptimist’s Live Your Dream Awards who are survivors of human trafficking for 2023 and the much-anticipated opening of One Safe Place in San Marcos, California in June.  

QuarterMania! Fundraiser Enjoyed by All

QuarterMania! Fundraiser Enjoyed by All

VISTA, California, April 7, 2022Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland held a QuarterMania! Fundraiser on Sunday, March 20 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Vista Optimist Club. Doors opened at noon for check-in, lunch and viewing the vendor booths. The auction started at 1 p.m. Tickets were $30 and included bidding paddle and poker chip, chicken caesar salad, roll, non-alcoholic drink, dessert and coffee. There was an opportunity drawing plus a silent auction with items such as a Charcuterie Board “basket,” handcrafted jewelry by a local artisan and more. Participating vendors include Nice & Bella Jewelry, Popcorn Factory, Hotel Life Sheets, Sweet Treats, Tupperware, unique clothing and food vendors and more. In addition to the auctions, attendees could purchase items, many of which were offered at a 50% discount by the vendors.

The turnout was good and, as usual, many happy guests went away laden with gift baskets won and items purchased.

In QuarterMania, each guest gets a numbered paddle and a correspondingly numbered poker chip, which they place in the auctioneer’s drawing basket. The auctioneer displays an item and states the number of quarters needed for a chance to win that item. Usuall the number is between 1-3 quarters for any item. At least one item was auctioned for 4 quarters. Guests may bid on the item by placing the specified number of quarters into a small bucket on their table and holding up their paddle. The buckets of quarters are collected, and the auctioneer pulls a random numbered chip from the drawing basket. The bidder holding the paddle that matches the number pulled wins the item. If the number pulled did not bid, another number is pulled until a winner is found.

All funds raised went into the club’s Service Fund to be distributed as educational grants to women in need. 

Live Your Dream Awards Picnic

Live Your Dream Awards Picnic

by April Frisby, SI Vista NCI

VISTA, California, April 4, 2022—On a bright, sunny day at the beginning of March, Soroptimist Vista and North County Inland (SI Vista NCI) hosted a Live Your Dream Awards Picnic at Alamosa Park in Oceanside to announce four recipients of the 2022 Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award. These awards are given each year to qualifying women who have faced obstacles such as violence, poverty, and teen pregnancy and are attending college or trade school to achieve economic empowerment and provide a better life for themselves and their families. Each Soroptimist club then chooses one of their awardees to be eligible to apply for an additional Region award and possibly a larger award at the national level.

The outdoor event brought together the new and past awardees and their families. Raising Cane’s of Vista generously donated their famous chicken fingers, coleslaw and Texas toast for the picnic, and Dr. Bronner’s provided gift baskets for the attending awardees.

This year, SI Vista NCI was able to give a total of $15,500 to four women, two who live and attend local colleges, Rebecca Villalobos and Jasmine Davis, and two out of area, Diana Diaz, (who is originally from San Marcos but relocated to Northern California after being accepted into a nursing program there), and Amy DeMar Sifuentes, who is based in rural New Mexico.

After a bite to eat, Rebecca and Jasmine were presented with their scholarship checks and award certificates, bouquets of flowers, gift cards and large baskets provided by Dr. Bronner’s. The awardees’ children were included and were gifted their choice of board game or Lego toys donated by club members. The two remote awardees, Diana and Amy, were mailed their checks and certificates.

The picnic was also attended by Vista City Council Member Joe Green, who announced an additional generous reward to local winners Jasmine and Rebecca, offering them dinner and tickets to the Moonlight Amphitheater in Vista. In addition to local club members, honored guests included Soroptimist Desert Coast Region Governor Thoralinda Soyland and Governor-Elect Pat Whitacre.

After the award presentation, the children played games in the grass and then headed over to the craft table to make Mother’s Day cards and origami. Overall, the picnic proved to be a wonderful, fun and safe way to honor the women, and the club would like to thank Raising Cane’s of Vista, Dr. Bronner’s and Vista City Council Member Joe Green for their support.

For more information visit soroptimistvista.org or email soroptimistinternationalvista@gmail.com.

 

Congratulations to Rebecca and Jasmine, and two our other two out of area awardees, Diana Diaz and Amy DeMar Sifuentes! 

Rebecca Villalobos with Programs Director Eden Weinberger and Club President Melinda Jarrell

Jasmine Davis with Eden Weinberger and Melinda Jarrell

Diana Diaz with her daughter

Amy DeMar Sifuentes with her son

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS!

March 3rd Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

March 3rd Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative Meeting

by Jackie Huyck, Soroptimist International of Vista & North County Inland

February 21, 2022–Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will host the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative meeting on Thursday, March 3rd, 9 a.m., at United Methodist Church of Vista, 490 S. Melrose Ave., Vista. The event is free to the public, and coffee and pastries will be provided. The topic will be the new Family Justice Center, “One Safe Place” set to open in San Marcos in April. A video preview of the facility will be shown with discussion afterwards.
For more information contact Kaye Van Nevel at valentinestella147@gmail.com or visit  http://www.soroptimistvista.org/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls

The center will be a place where child, adult, and elderly victims of abuse and their families will walk through the doors and receive acute crisis-care, advocacy, counseling, legal services, connection to shelter and housing, long term mentoring, workforce readiness, and educational opportunities – all under one roof. The goals of the North County Family Justice Center will be to provide hope, healing, and justice by creating pathways forward for victims and their families as they move through the process of “surviving to thriving.” Currently, victims and survivors must travel to several different locations across North County to receive a full continuum of support which can be exhausting and a barrier to getting healed. While existing service providers provide excellent services, there is little interconnectivity, and providers often operate in silos, rather than under one umbrella of victim care.

The North San Diego County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative is a Program of Service of Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland in partnership with United Methodist Church of Vista. The Collaborative is a diverse group of individuals and community organizations committed to eliminate human trafficking and modern day slavery. Our mission is to raise awareness of human trafficking, provide a platform to share information, improve services, educate ourselves and the public, and advocate for policy and legislation related to human trafficking. Our Collaborative Meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 10:30 am in the Church’s Fellowship Hall (lower level) at 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Admission is free and all are welcome. Complimentary coffee and pastries will be available.

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