Soroptimists Donate to Ukraine Relief
August 6, 2022, Vista, CA—Soroptimist 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
by April Frisby
Member, SI Vista NCI
2022 Live Your Dream Awardee
2022 Live Your Dream Awardee
2022 Live Your Dream Awardee
2022 Live Your Dream Awardee
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
May 5th HT Collaborative
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
VISTA, California, April 7, 2022—Soroptimist 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
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 email@example.com.
Congratulations to Rebecca and Jasmine, and two our other two out of area awardees, Diana Diaz and Amy DeMar Sifuentes!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
QuarterMania! Fundraiser March 20
VISTA, California, February 17, 2022—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will host a QuarterMania! Fundraiser on Sunday, March 20 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Vista Optimist Club, 600 Optimist Way, Vista. Doors open at 12 noon for check-in, lunch and viewing the vendor booths. The auction starts at 1 p.m. Tickets cost $30 and include bidding paddle and poker chip, chicken caesar salad, roll, non-alcoholic drink, dessert and coffee. There will be 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, and more. Guests are urged to bring plenty of quarters. Maximum bid is 3 quarters, so no one spends more than 75 cents on any item. “Bring your kids, friends, and neighbors to this family-friendly event,” said event chair Pat Origlieri. “And bring a roll of quarters!” she added. Additional paddles and quarters will be available.
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. 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.
Tickets may be purchased online at SoroptimistVista.org or by calling Pat Origlieri 760-724-9674 or emailing her at email@example.com. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door. Proceeds support Soroptimist’s Dream programs promoting women’s and girls’ education and empowerment and human trafficking awareness. See soroptimistvista.org.
Human Trafficking Awareness Walk Jan. 29
VISTA, California, February 2, 2022—After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland held its 16th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Walk and Event on January 29 in Vista as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Month. “Last January, we had to settle for holding a virtual event, so it’s great to be able to gather in person again,” said Soroptimist member Kaye Van Nevel, who has chaired the Walk every year since 2006. Walkers gathered outside on the grounds of the United Methodist Church of Vista. Van Nevel welcomed the crowd and recognized local dignitaries present, including San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones, and representatives from State Assembly member Marie Waldron’s office and from the San Diego Board of Supervisors Office, District 76, Jim Desmond. Van Nevel then introduced keynote speaker, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. Stephan has long been an advocate for victims of human trafficking, pioneering San Diego’s Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking Division. Recently her office unveiled an anti-human trafficking training program aimed at the tourism and hospitality industry.
Saving “the best for last,” Stephan ended her talk by announcing the opening this April of a new family justice center in North County called “One Safe Place” in a revamped warehouse in San Marcos. “It has been a dream of mine for 15 years….it will be a state-of-the-art facility…a place of hope, healing and justice in the North County” Stephan said, where survivors of sex trafficking, domestic violence, family violence, elder abuse, and sexual assault can seek justice, begin healing, and reclaim their lives with help from a variety of agencies operating on-site.
The walkers then collected their “Stop Human Trafficking” signs and headed to Melrose Drive, walking from the church to Sunset Drive and back to the church, eliciting honks of support from passing drivers.
Van Nevel and her Soroptimist Club also coordinate the North County Anti-Human Trafficking Collaborative, open to the public which meets every other month at the church. Their next meeting is Thursday, March 3 at 9 am in Fellowship Hall, United Methodist Church, 490 S. Melrose Drive, Vista. Masks required.
Live Your Dream Awards® 50th Anniversary
Let the Soroptimist celebrations continue! While we are still in the midst of our 100th anniversary, 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Live Your Dream Awards®. Even though the program has adorned other names since 1972—including the Training and Awards Program and the Women’s Opportunity Awards—our ambition to help women create a better life for themselves and their families through access to education and training has always remained the same. See how the program began and how it evolved over the last half century.
Read about the evolution of our Live Your Dream Awards HERE.
Profiles of 3 More Live Your Dream Awardees
by April Frisby
Member, SI Vista NCI
2021 Live Your Dream Awardee
2021 Live Your Dream Awardee
2021 Live Your Dream Awardee
October 19, 2021, Vista, CA–If the past year has taught us anything, focusing on positive actions and forward momentum is essential as we slowly emerge from the strange anti-social cocoon forced upon all of us. There is no better time than now to introduce a few of the women who are currently pursuing higher education to better the lives of themselves and their children during this global pandemic. The Live Your Dream Awards were created for this very purpose, to help support these courageous women to make a difference in this world by empowering them to be the best possible versions of themselves.
This year, the club has raised over $21,000 to award seven 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.
For many of these women, the Live Your Dream Award is a lifeline, becoming instrumental in stopping the perpetuating toxic cycle of abuse, neglect, or addiction that could have otherwise led them down a darker path. Situations often experienced by young mothers struggling to support themselves can include being abused or abandoned by a partner, suffering with mental health or addictions, or being forced into risky situations against their will have become all too common, which is why Soroptomist is dedicated to improve the lives of women in the community and around the world.
This month there are three more Live Your Dream Awardees we would like to celebrate. Each is a positive, strong, brave, independent woman who has worked hard to make impressive progress in her personal and professional lifes. All are stars and serve as shining examples to us all.
Raniqua is a mother of two daughters, Journey and Amiah, and is working at Solutions for Change, a non-profit in Vista that most of us are familiar with that helps get individuals and families back on their feet.
Raniqua has a certification and works as a Peer Support Coach and only has one semester left at Vista Adult School until she gains her qualification in Medical Administration. Coming from a large family–she has nine brothers and sisters–she enjoys sports like cross-country running, track and field and basketball.
Rachel is a mother of three boys, Daniel, Isaac and Junior, and enjoys being active in activities at her church in her spare time. Her youngest son, Daniel, suffers from Mast Cell Disease, which often triggers sudden, unpredictable food allergies that can leave him hospitalized. After spending a lot of time in hospitals, Rachel’s dream is to help people by becoming a nurse.
Rachel goes to Palomar College and will graduate in 2025 with her degree in Nursing. In the meantime, she will also gain an MA or LA certification from MiraCosta College before she gains her nursing degree. One interesting fact is that Rachel’s father is an author, and she hopes to write a book one day to follow in his footsteps.
Monica is mom to three boys and her children are active in soccer and boxing. Monica works at a school for children with special needs during the week and, on weekends, works at Aurora, which helps people with mental health and addiction issues.
Monica is dedicated to helping people and is graduating with a degree in Psychology from Cal State San Marcos next August.
In addition to studying Psychology, Monica is also considering attending the academy to become a probation officer. ⬛