Soroptimist International of Vacaville took time out to honor some of its own during an award ceremony/Zoom call Tuesday, March 30.
Club president Mary Dickey noted that the club started 60-plus years ago with 25 members, and has nearly 50 today. And that if you add up all the years of service of current club members, it surpasses 600 years.
She followed that up with a tribute to five women who have all been with the Vacaville club 40 years or more: Jill Hunter (44), Jan Marie Whitley (44), Debbie Hitzeman (42), Jackie Ricketts (41) and Jana Boyce Stein (40) and then presented (via Zoom) Jana with her 40-year pin. The “Fab Five” have 213 years of service between them, according to Mary.
Tara Baumann was honored with her 25-year pin, while Lenora Fuller and Suzanne Clark both earned 20-year pins. Joy Swank collected her 10-year pin while LuAnn Hefner, Linda Johnson, Rachel Morgan and Bridgit Strachan all earned 5-year pins.
A special Soroptimist Forward Award was presented by the board of directors to past President Lisa Hilas, for moving the club forward in so many ways.
“Lucky for Soroptimist International of Vacaville, Lisa Hilas is a big dreamer – and her dreams always focus on how to make our club better, how to publicize the work we do, and how best to recruit new members,” said Mary.
Lisa was lauded for automating the financial reporting system and the scholarship application process, improving the annual lobster dinner fundraiser, the website, and more with innovation and energy. When the coronavirus closed businesses and nonprofits alike, Lisa moved SI Vacaville onto Zoom, and kept everything going. She dreamed up the Soroptimist Means Business: Women Investing in Women grant, and with her team’s help, was able to present $14,000 in grants to 18 women business leaders in Vacaville.
A special posthumous Fellowship Award was presented in honor of Charlie Ricketts to his widow, Jackie Ricketts, by longtime friend Debbie Hitzeman. Debbie shared Charlie’s history in Vacaville, how he met and married Jackie and continued to support her Soroptimist ventures, even as he was involved in his own business and Rotary. “He was a true Soropti-mister,” said Debbie.
The club Fellowship Award was presented to past President Beth Rowe for her many accomplishments in making Vacaville a better place for women and girls. Among her many efforts, she was lauded for raising attention and getting forgotten rape kits tested; raising community awareness of human trafficking issues; and taking a leadership role in organizing and connecting with local S Clubs.
“Beth is a real dynamo with a real passion for helping women, and we are so lucky to have her,” said Mary. A donation of $1,000 in her name to Soroptimist International of the Americas will support women who are in the final phase of their doctoral degrees.
The Club’s Laurel Society pin went to Diane Barney, for her efforts to raise community awareness about the club’s activities through both traditional and social media. A $1,000 donation made in her name will support Soroptimist International’s global Dreams programs that improve the lives of women and girls.
Soropimist International of Vacaville presented $14,000 in grants to 18 women-owned and women-led businesses Tuesday, March 23, as part of its first-ever Soroptimist Means Business grant, a program Founder Region Gov. Kris Chorbi called phenomenal and inspirational.
In a Zoom call with many of the 21 nominees and sponsors, Assemblymember Jim Frazier gave the keynote presentation, noting that it’s because of SI Vacaville’s commitment to community that “We’re connected at the hip.”
“You’re committed to the community and so am I. And this is going to be a game-changer in the life of young women,” he said, speaking from his Fairfield home. “The hand up you achieve with women in education and business, and all the things you do to help them, you’re are amazing.”
Grants in the amount of $1,000 and $500 were presented to all sorts of women-owned and women-led businesses, from retail shops to hair salons, fitness studios to restaurants and catering businesses, and to schools, focusing on ballet and academics.
SI Vacaville club member Lisa Hilas was president when the pandemic struck. As she wrestled with how to keep her Soroptimist club active, it hit her that many women-owned businesses were struggling too. She watched as the owner of Ebb and Flow Yoga pivoted to keep classes going, and it inspired Lisa to propose the grant.
At first, the goal was meager. After all, this was the first time ever doing such a grant.
“We hoped to raise $1,000,” recalled Lisa. But thanks to a kickoff from donors via Giving Tuesday Facebook campaign and an outpouring of generous sponsors, $7,000-plus was raised. When the club saw 21 nominees had applied for the grant, members voted to match funds, doubling the reach of the “Women Investing in Women” opportunity, said President Mary Dickey.
In announcing the winners, Soroptimist Brooke Fox, executive director of the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District, said she was proud to serve on the Soroptimist Means Business grant committee. “As someone who advocates daily for 650 businesses in downtown Vacaville, this last year has been challenging. I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s going to take everyone pitching in to do what they can to get everyone through this time.”
Businesses and their owner/leader honored on Tuesday were Tammy Anderson of Anderson Family Catering; Drea Cabillo of Essenza Salon Spa Studio; Lindsey Chelini of BackDoor Bistro; Alexandra Christensen of Imagine That!, Maria Collins of The Baby Shop; Fearon DeWeese of Hella Shirt Co.; Nicole Fahey of True Roots Juice and Eats; Rachel Lynn Felt of Moms Strong Fitness; Jema Hagerman of Merchant & Main Bar & Grill; Cassandra Kamakeeaina of the Royal School of Ballet; Siobhan Magee and Catherine Owen of Heritage House Café; Martha Meza of Aqua Hair Salon; Heidi Rydman of Ebb and Flow Yoga; Fatina “Fae” Saltifi of Bliss Urban Arts Center; Erica Serface of Erica Marie’s Catering; Marianna Schiovonne of La Borgata Italian Deli; Sarah Stetson of Stetson Academy and Ashley Tapp of Rise & Redemption.
Many of the winners took time to address the club and say thank you.
Lindsay, chef and owner at BackDoor Bistro, holding her six-week-old son on her lap, said she never would have thought about applying for the grant, but her stepmother told her about it.
“Thank you for everything you guys do,” she said.
Fae, owner of Bliss Urban Arts Center, thanked the group for helping her put a dent in the amount of studio rent she owes.
Fearon, owner of Hella Shirt Co., said winning the grant was a huge surprise.
“My mom did this for me, without me knowing. She was excited, because I got the honor.”
Fearon, who was an event planner for 20 years, pivoted to open her own business, and in the process has been able to work from home and enjoy the first years of her toddler’s life. “I appreciate it very much,” she said.
Heidi, owner of Ebb and Flow Yoga Studio, was delighted to be inspiration for Lisa.
“It warms my heart that I was the seed that started this whole thing,” said Heidi. “It has given us so much relief and recognition.”
Andrea, owner and lead stylist of Essenza Salon Spa Studio, agreed that it has been a difficult year for her industry.
“It’s tremendous to see my name with these other amazing women,” she said. “We are so blessed here in this area to have so many great women in small business. Thank you, for acknowledging us, putting us all in a space and place to be celebrated,” she said. “I appreciate it more than I have words to express.”
Gov. Kris said the program has inspired at least one change for this year’s Soroptimist International regional conference: instead of raffling off gift baskets, they’re going to give away gift cards – from women-owned business.
“This was the whole inspiration!” she said. “And it has been very well-received.”
Dana Holve, member and past president of the Soroptimist International Twilight of Vacaville club and current District II fellowship director, told the gathering that SI Vacaville is an inspiration, “Not just as a fellow club, but in the district and in the region and beyond that. You are going to affect Soroptimist International of the Americas, too. Thank you not just for what you’re doing locally, but globally, for the women of the world.”
Soroptimist International of Vacaville presented two young Vacaville women with Violet Richardson awards in a March 16 Zoom meeting, honoring them for outstanding community service. Violet Richardson was president of the first Soroptimist club, which was founded in Alameda County in 1921.
Madison MacDonald is a senior at Vacaville High School, and served as president of her school’s S Club, a service club affiliated with Soroptimist International. When COVID struck in 2020, she got busy sewing masks, producing more than 500 and donating them to friends, family, local restaurants, small businesses, fire houses and to Vacaville High as a back-to-school surprise for its 166 employees.
She earned an $800 award, and another $800 is being donated to her charity of choice, Safequest Solano, which is dedicated to providing prevention, education, advocacy and intervention services to those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Rachel Nelson, a senior at Vacaville Christian High School, earned a $700 award, and $700 will be donated by SI Vacaville to her charity of choice, Horseplay Therapeutic Riding Center in Dixon.
In fact, Rachel is a longtime volunteer with the riding center and it has affirmed her desire to help the disabled in her community. She also has served as president of her high school’s S Club, and volunteers for the Vacaville Storehouse, Adopt a Block and Make a Wish.
Thank you to our generous sponsors from local businesses and organizations. With their help a local woman-owned or woman-led business will benefit from a grant that will not only provide funds for education or trade memberships, but also business recognition and a one-year membership in the Soroptimist International of Vacaville organization. Thank you ALL, for helping us invest in the future of women in business.
Michelle Strand of I-80 Forklift, Inc
As Michelle said, “2020 put many woman-owned businesses in survival mode. Rethinking their ‘necessities,’ negotiating longer terms or lower monthly contract amounts and seeing shifts in their business income. Bottom line, it didn’t matter what industry you were in; you had to pivot from the status-quo. Although my business has been economically hit, I know there are many other woman-owned businesses that were hit much harder and it breaks my heart. So, when I learned of Soroptimist Means Business, I knew I had to participate. Woman investing in woman is essential during this unprecedented period in time. The emotional support and professional resources women can provide other women is endless. Too often women carry the heavy load so you must seek and ask for help!”
Michelle said that I-80 Forklift completely supports the cause in helping other woman and is a firm believer “When woman support each other, incredible things happen.”
Learn more at i-80forklift.com
Shylene Moize of Gourmet Grazers
As Shylene said, “It has been a dream of mine for many years to bring my passion for food to others. The ideas have changed a lot over the years, but the goal always remained the same. To become a small business owner, pouring my passion into my craft. It hasn't always been easy. As a single mom I struggled to be a mom, to be a career woman, and to find the funds and support available to help me follow my dreams. That was no easy task and I felt like a failure a lot of the time.”
Gourmet Grazers, she explained, came to fruition with the help from a lot of friends and helpful family. “I owe my success to everyone who shares my business and passion with people that they know. My biggest support group (besides my husband with his unwavering support and belief in me) has been other women. One of my very dearest and oldest friends was the biggest catalyst in getting me taking the leap, and an army of small business women helped with everything from designing my logo to building my website, to helping me with my social media marketing. The support system that I have now has been nothing short of amazing. Supporting an organization that can help women the way I was helped is a No. 1 priority for me.”
She said that Gourmet Grazers doesn't just want to be known for its amazing charcuterie, “We want to be known for our giving heart. We want to help and give back to the community as much as it has given to us.”
Learn more at www.gourmet-grazers.com
Solano Small Business Development Center
The SBDC offers free, individualized and confidential one-on-one advising for existing businesses and start-ups with 500 or fewer employees. Business advisors are experienced in a variety of areas, including business plans, marketing, restaurant operations, human resources, retail and product pricing. Additional SBDC services include free monthly webinars on business related topics; the new, no-cost Biz Rx program; and NxLevel, a comprehensive series for entrepreneurs.
Learn more at solanosbdc.org or call 707-646-1071.
Beth Rowe, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones
When Beth was president of SI Vacaville in 2018, her theme was “When women invest in each other, incredible things happen!” One of her main projects was raising enough money to help the Vacaville Police Department get all untested rape kits tested. Thanks to her work, an of-fender was identified.
Learn more at www.edwardjones.com
First Northern Bank
First Northern Bank is celebrating 111 years in business as an independent community bank that specializes in relationship banking. The Bank has consistently ranked as the #1 local small business lender in the greater Sacramento region for almost two decades.
The Bank, headquartered in Solano County since 1910, has 10 full service branches throughout Solano, Yolo, Sacramento and Placer counties as well as a commercial lending office in Walnut Creek. We specialize in small business, commercial, real estate and agribusiness lending, as well as mortgage loans. The Bank is an SBA Preferred Lender.
More information can be found at www.thatsmybank.com. You too can say “First Northern Bank – That’s My Bank!”.
Swank Construction Inc
We thank Vice President Jack Swank for his ongoing support of our Soroptimist club, which seeks to improve the lives of women and girls. He and his wife, Anabelen, have two daughters, ages 7 and 4, and they know the importance of “girl power!” Jack and his father, Jerry Swank, have been consistent donors for all Soroptimist fundraisers, and there is one important reason why: Joy Swank! Not only is Joy a member of the Soroptimist International of Vacaville club, but she’s a past president, has served as the District III Founder Region Director for four years, and is now the Founder Region secretary.
As she says, “I live and breathe Soroptimist.”
Learn more at www.swankconstructioninc.com
Sandy Esparza and Cal Inc
As Sandy said, “I know that 2020 has been a difficult year for all business, but especially women-owned and women-led businesses. As a longtime Soroptimist and former president of the Vacaville club, I wanted to do my part to make the burden on women in business a little lighter.”
Thank you, Sandy and Cal Inc., for helping us invest in the future of women in business.
Learn more about Cal Inc. at www.cal-inc.com
Toni Parkhurst, Budget Blinds of Fairfield/Vacaville
Thank you to Toni Parkhurst, owner of Budget Blinds of Fairfield/Vacaville, for sponsoring the Soroptimist International of Vacaville’s Women Mean Business grant. Thanks to her generous donation, a local woman-owned or woman-led business will benefit from a grant that will not only provide funds for education or trade memberships, but also business recognition and a one-year membership in the Soroptimist International of Vacaville organization.
Learn more at budgetblinds.com/fairfield/
Colleen Stafford, All Size Flooring Center
Colleen Stafford of All Size Flooring Center has overcome being a female business owner in a mostly male donimated industry. Her business has survived the economic downturn and foreclosure period through 2006 to 2008. She was able to build the business by strengthening her community relations and business to business relationships over the past 15 years. By becoming a sponsor of the Soroptimists Means Business Grant, she hopes to encourage other women owned businesses survive this economic trial.
Learn more at allsizeflooringcenter.com
Dr. Katheryn Conde, Northern California NeuroHealth
It took 11 years, but Dr. Conde earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the University of San Francisco, and completed a two-year neuropsychology post-doctoral fellowship at the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center.
She opened the doors to her behavioral health private practice in December 2020. She offers – in both English and Spanish – therapy to those experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues and she conducts neuropsychological evaluations for individuals who are experiencing memory problems as a result of dementia, strokes, head injuries or other medical or neurological conditions.
“2020 has taught us that now more than ever, mental health and behavioral services are needed to help get us through tough times,” she said. “My goal is to destigmatize mental health services and make it accessible to all, especially the Latino community, since there are so few providers who can offer services in Spanish.”
Since Dr. Conde is the sole employee of her business, she handles everything, including administrative, billing, scheduling, marketing, accounting, and so much more. She well understands the work it takes to run a business and hopes to encourage and support other women-owned and women-led businesses through sponsoring our grant.
And, as a member of the Vacaville Soroptimist Twilight Club, our sister organization, she wanted to lend her support.
To learn more about Northern California NeuroHealth please visit www.northerncalifornianeurohealth.com
Cornerstone Assisted Living
Cornerstone Assisted Living is a family-owned and operated senior living community located in Vacaville and has been named The Reporter's "Best Assisted Living Community" in Solano County seven years in a row.
“Our community's unique advantage is that it caters solely to those with assisted living needs,” explained Chantel. “This approach allows for younger and more active residents to feel comfortable with their move. Not to worry, Cornerstone maintains great relationships with local Memory Care & Convalescent Care facilities, so, should there be a need down the road, we will fully assist in helping arrange those accommodations.”
Cornerstone is strategically designed to offer the feeling of independent living while still providing support with everyday activities of daily living. The floor plan and team strategy have been developed to create a happy and healthy living experience while maintaining a warm, social, safe, environment that feels like home.
We stand by Soroptimist International of Vacaville in supporting the Soroptimist Means Business grant because we believe full-heartedly that supporting one another within our community during a pandemic is the key to success,” said Chantel.
For more information or to schedule a tour, call (707) 999-5029 or visit https://mycornerstoneliving.com/.
Soroptimist International of Vacaville Twilight
Since 1921 Soroptimist International has been chartering new clubs all over the world, empowering woman and girls to unlock their potential and achieve their goals. Soroptimist International of Vacaville Twilight Club recognizes that many local, women-owned businesses have taken a leap of faith to start their own business. The Twilight Club wants to acknowledge their resilience during this unprecedented time and encourage them to keep moving forward with their dream.
The Vacaville Twilight Club meets, via Zoom, the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm. If you would like more information about the Twilight Club, please visit
Law Office of Yvonne F. Thrasher Esq.
Thanks to Yevonne's generous donation, a local woman-owned or woman-led business will benefit from a grant that will not only provide funds for education or trade memberships, but also business recognition and a one-year membership in the Soroptimist International of Vacaville organization.
As an attorney specializing in estate planning, Yvonne offers personal and professional legal services to help her clients. After a loved one passes, she’s there to help with trust administration or probate services, as well.
Yvonne has been a member of the Soroptimist International of Vacaville club for more than a dozen years, and is committed to its mission of improving the lives of women and girls.
Thank you, Yvonne, for helping us invest in the future of women in business in Vacaville.
The Law Office of Yvonne F. Thrasher, Esq., is located at 78 Cernon St., Suite A, in Vacaville. You can call (707) 447-1200 or visit
Jim Fraizier, Assemblymember, District 11
Assemblymember Frazier has been a long-time supporter of SI Vacaville and its mission to make the world a better place for women and girls. In 2019, he teamed up with us to create legislation to ensure the testing of all existing rape kits in California, and made a sizeable donation toward our effort to get all outstanding kits in Vacaville tested.
He has attended our meetings as a presenter, answered our many questions, and supported our causes time and time again.
Thank you, Assemblymember Frazier, for helping us invest in the future of women in business.
For more information visit https://a11.asmdc.org/
During the global pandemic, businesses across the country – and certainly here in Vacaville – have struggled to stay alive. It’s especially challenging for women-owned businesses, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Consider the following:
“We cannot allow this pandemic to set back a generation of entrepreneurial women,” said Suzanne Clark, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Soroptimist International of Vacaville recognizes the many challenges women-owned businesses face and wants to help with a little extra encouragement: A “Women Investing in Women” business grant.
“This is a one-time award that we’ve dreamed up, to help a local woman in business continue to make their business dreams come true,” said chairwoman Lisa Hilas.
Nominations will open in 2021. To qualify, the business must be owned by a woman and must be in Vacaville, or operated by a woman who lives in Vacaville The winner will receive:
A Giving Tuesday campaign kicked off the fundraising for the grant. Donations are still being accepted, and businesses are invited to help with a sponsorship.
“Your donation will help us support a woman-owned business right here in Vacaville,” said Lisa. “You can make a woman’s business dreams come true with your contribution or sponsorship.”
To donate, visit https://givebutter.com/investinginwomen or text Best4women to 2028581233. For more information about SI Vacaville, to nominate a woman owned business go to www.vacavillesoroptimist.org/soroptimist-means-business.html
Vacaville girls between the ages of 14 and 18 have until Dec. 1 to apply for the Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes young women for outstanding community service. Soroptimist International of Vacaville, an international volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, will present up to $1,500 to a winner and up to $1,500 to the charity of the winner’s choice next spring.
“It’s what you do . . .
. . . that counts.”
The Violet Richardson Award honors young women, between the ages of 14 and 18, for volunteer action such as helping disadvantaged people; fighting drugs, crime and violence; cleaning up the environment; and working to end discrimination and poverty.
The award program is named after Violet Richardson, the president of the first Soroptimist club in 1921. Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly, as an active member in her community who was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women.
Applications for the award program are available online at vacavillesoroptimist.org [vacavillesoroptimist.org]. Just click on “Apply” or contact Susan Mays at email@example.com.
Thursday, Sept. 3:
It's Official! Our lobster is missing! Our lobster is missing! Has anyone see Lola the Lobster? She disappeared in October 2019, shortly after our successful Soroptimist International of Vacaville lobster dinner fundraiser! Description: Wearing red, two claws, two antennae, known to wear purple, goes by the name Lola. Be on the lookout!
Just like her namesake, past president Lola Devan, our Lola is impeccably dressed and is quite adventuresome. Last year she and many of her friends and relatives were caught off the coast of Main and air-lifted to Vacaville. They were to be the star attraction of our lobster dinner. But once Lola realized she WAS dinner, she escaped. Could she be headed back to Maine? Or maybe Main Street in Vacaville? Follow here on Facebook or here on our blog!
Saturday, Sept. 5
Lola the Lobster was spotted visiting Wasserman Travel this week. Apparently she was with owner Jim Kellogg looking at brochures showcasing Maine when she spotted her cousin Lesley on a plate! So she may be planning a trip, but probably not back to Maine!
Wednesday, Sept. 9
Lola the Lobster heard KUIC morning anchor John Young interviewing Soroptimist International of Vacaville member Lisa Hilas about the Missing Lobster Dinner this morning (Thank you, KUIC!!) and knows we are onto her! She's going to have to be more careful as she high-tails it around town, or we're going to catch her!
Lola was happy to learn that the "Missing Lobster Dinner," is going to benefit fire victims. We have her full support for both the "missing-lobster theme," and for helping fire victims through the Vacaville City Firefighters Charity Fund.
Thursday, Sept. 10
Lola the Lobster was spotted at Pawsh Place getting a physical exam from veterinarian Dr. Celina Hatt. Apparently she wanted to make sure she is fit before her journey. Dr. Hatt, a Soroptimist, didn’t realize it was THE Lola she was treating, or maybe should would have detailed her! And while Dr. Hatt has treated many different types of animals, Lola was her first lobster. Apparently Lola is the epitome of a healthy crustacean. Sadly for us, she was cleared for travel. We don’t know where she’ll go next, but please keep an eye out for her, Soroptimist International of Vacaville needs her.
Saturday, Sept. 11
While Lola the Lobster was visiting Pawsh Place last week, she ran into Darci Chadwick, and they started chatting about social media. Lola realized she needed a publicist to ensure that she was always putting her best foot, er claw, forward. Darci, owner of Modern Brand Marketing, promised all that and more. And although Sorotpimist International of Vacaville can’t seem to find Lola, we are finding lots of social media posts about Lola, including her very own Instagram account, Lola.thelobster. If you’re helping us in our quest to find Lola before she escapes on her next adventure, you’ll want to check out her Instagram account and report any sightings to us.
Sunday, Sept. 12
Lola the Lobster is getting sneakier and sneaker, as she scuttles across Vacaville, visiting various businesses and organizations. We know she plans to abscond soon, but apparently she stopped by Stems Florists to frolic in the flowers.
Stems Owner Caryn Mikovich never actually saw Lola, or she would certainly have arranged for her return. Please keep an eye out for Lola, as Soroptimist International of Vacaville needs her.
Tuesday, Sept. 15
Lola the Lobster heard that Vacaville firefighters could use a hand, er a claw, what with all the wildfire and smoke plaguing California. She thought it was only appropriate, as a portion of the proceeds from the Soroptimist International of Vacaville’s “Missing Lobster Dinner,” is going to fire relief. And, she pointed out, fire engine red is her color!
Thursday, Sept. 17
Lola the Lobster was spotted at Thrasher Law Office working with Attorney Yvonne Thrasher on her trust. After all, “A Will is a Thrill, but a Trust is a Must,” even for a Lobster. Looks like she’s intent on some serious travel and soon.
Yvonne, a Soroptimist, didn’t realize it was OUR Lola, or she would have surely put her under citizen’s arrest. Please keep an eye out for Lola, Soroptimist International of Vacaville needs her.
Friday, Sept. 18
A message from Soroptimist International of Vacaville: Those of you who have already ordered your “Missing Lobster Dinner” from Erica Marie Catering know that she provides sumptuous, gourmet meals and even offers cooking classes on occasion. Well, it turns out Lola the Lobster knows it too, and showed up at Erica Marie Catering’s kitchen all decked out in her chef hat and apron. Apparently she’s interested in learning how to make NON-seafood dishes.
Lola is still on the lam, but wants to remind you to purchase your Missing Lobster Dinner tickets a soon as possible. For $100, you get a meal that will feed four people plus wine or Brenden Theatres movie tickets.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Since wildfires have caused such destruction in the Vacaville area, Lola the Lobster knows that construction companies are going to be busy – too busy to notice if a crustacean slips in under a hardhat. And so she got swanky at Swank Construction Inc. on a recent visit.Unfortunately, Soroptimist Joy Swank was not in the office during Lola’s visit, or she would have apprehended the lively lobster.
Tuesday, Sept. 22
Everyone knows Joe the Barber, right? Even Lola the Lobster! She decided to visit Joe at Cornerstone Assisted Living recently, and they had a grand time, talking about her namesake, the devine Lola DeVan, who was a Soroptimist International of Vacaville member once upon a time! Lola snuck out before anyone was the wiser and is still missing!
Wednesday, Sept. 23
Lola the Lobster is apparently checking in on her investments, to make sure she has enough funds for a trip out of town. (Out of state? Out of country?) Sounds like the possibilities are endless, now that she conferred with Financial Adviser Beth Rowe, in her Edward Jones Investments Vacaville office.
Turns out, Beth and Lola planned for travel as one of her goals . . . Lola was thrilled that they planned for this and decided now was the time!
“She could be headed anywhere,” said Beth, a past president of SI Vacaville and co-fundraising chair.
Thursday, Sept. 24
Lola the Lobster is the charitable type, and she heard that Sandy Esparza of Cal Inc., is also so inclined. So she stopped by to check in on Sandy’s work and found that she wholeheartedly support the Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Society.
Lola applauded Sandy’s efforts to have a virtual event this year and wished she had time to stay until next year’s event, but she has a big trip coming up, and snuck out quickly. By the time Sandy realized she’d come and gone, all that was left was a little puddle on her couch.
Friday, Sept. 25
Lola the Lobster was so excited! She enrolled in the Witness Protection Program, so she could make her great escape, and *thought* she was going to get a facelift. But instead of arriving at 1-800-FACE-LIFT, she landed at I-80 Forklift Inc.
She thought about taking a ride on one of those lovely lifts, but was afraid she’d attract attention, so she scurried off the lot.
Saturday, Sept. 26
Being an organized and law-abiding crustacean, Lola the Lobster scurried over to CPA office of G&J Seiberlich & Co., LLP, where Soroptimist Yolanda Williams works.
Not realizing it was our Lola, Yolanda dutifully discussed various alternatives. They agreed her tax situation was complicated, requiring much more documentation. Yolanda quickly printed up some forms to have Lola apply for an extension on her taxes.
You wouldn’t think a crustacean would need such services, however, Lola has been on the lam for a year and has had to support herself with some very creative endeavors. She knows Uncle Sam has ways of finding out if you owe him anything, so she is handling her financial affairs responsibly and staying out of trouble.
Breaking News Sunday Sept. 27th
Oh no!! Lola the Lobster apparently convinced The Reporter to publish last year’s press release in today’s newspaper!! Obviously a ploy to throw everyone off her scent. Make no mistake, this year we are having the “Missing Lobster Dinner.” Soroptimist International of Vacaville is contacting the authorities, requesting a publication of the correct press release, and warning the community about Lola. She’s sneaky
Tuesday, Sept. 29
Lola the Lobster could not leave the city of Vacaville without a musical tribute to her many fans at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre.
With her magical claws, she tickled the ivories, but alas, it was to an empty house because of COVID-19. Still, rumors persist that the Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre may have caught the performance on tape and could possibly have a pay per view event coming up. Stay tuned for that. VPAT has been very enterprising of late with virtual performances!
Wednesday, Sept. 30e time for coffee? Even Lola the Lobster likes an occasional latte, letting the caffeine bring out her inner crustacean. So of course she stopped by Steady Eddy’s because she heard they rock the beverages, and since she’s got cousins who are rock lobsters, it all made sense. She slurped her way to a caffeinated crescendo and took off for her next adventure before anyone was the wiser.
Soroptimist International of Vacaville is still searching for her. She escaped from last year’s lobster dinner, and we need her to help us with our fundraiser.
Wednesday, Sept. 30 NEWS BREAK!
Thank you to The Reporter for publishing the true tale of Lola the Lobster in today’s edition! Lola is clearly on the run, keep an eye out for her!
Thursday, October 1 LOLA HAS LEFT THE COUNTRY!!
Lola the Lobster thought she spotted a long-lost relative at Sacramento International Airport, but alas, when she got closer she saw it was a giant red rabbit, part of an art project. “Harrumph,” she snarled as she made her way to the gate. At least there weren’t very many people standing between her and freedom! Looks like she boarded an international flight to put some distance between her and Soroptimist International of Vacaville, which is looking high and low for her. Who knows where she’ll go next?
Saturday, October 3
First stop on Lola the Lobster’s sojourn abroad appears to be Cancun, Mexico, where our feisty Crustacean was spotted skinny dipping at Playa Laghosta. Since Lola doesn’t speak Spanish, she had no way of knowing she was at “Lobster Beach. It appears she may have gotten a bit sunburned – she is very red.
Tuesday, October 6
Is that Lola the Lobster? At the Taj Mahal?
Word has it that Lola visited Soroptimist Dawn Shepherd and husband John before her trip and she was so inspired by the newlywed’s love that she decided to visit the Taj Mahal, which was built as a monument to a great love between a Maharaja and his beloved wife. Lola couldn’t resist jumping in.
Wednesday, October 7
“‘O sole mio, sta nfronte de te...” Who could resist the charms of a singing gondolier! Not our Lola the Lobster. She was seen in Venice, enjoying all the sights, including the lovely waterways. At this point, she knows Soroptimist International of Vacaville is looking for her, but her answer? “Ciao!”
Thursday, October 8
You have probably seen those funny photos of tourists holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Well, would you believe that our silly Lola the Lobster is measuring the Eiffel Tower between her claws?
Saturday, October 10
Is that the Amazon River? Lola the Lobster! What are you thinking? Don’t you know there are creatures in that river that could eat you for dinner? And you thought we were the enemy?
Wednesday, Oct. 14
This just in: We have intel on how Lola the Lobster is eluding customs from country to country! It seems Lola stopped by All Size Flooring Center before she disappeared. During her visit, owner Colleen Stafford tucked something special into Lola’s suitcase. Colleen is a Twilight Soroptimist, and she probably didn’t realize that SI Vacaville had an All Points Bulletin out for Lola’s return. Otherwise, she would have notified us pronto, as our clubs are very friendly! But Lola is as charming as she is devious, and so she tricked All Size into giving her not just any carpet, but a magic carpet! Who knows where she will go next?
Thursday, Oct. 15
Co-fundraising Chair Lisa Hilas files a Missing Person, er Lobster, Report with the Vacaville Police Department. Watch out, Lola, the PD is looking for you now!!
Friday, Oct. 16
Lola the Lobster was spotted walking on the Great Wall of China! She could be very ambitious and walk 1,000 miles or more, if she wants to. Although she is quite fit, we hope she is not planning on going very far. We need Lola to come home.
Saturday, Oct. 17
Lola the Lobster has found her way to the Cannes Film Festival. Where are the celebrities? Lola wanted to see the rich and famous. However, in fear of being trampled, she has scurried out of the crowd, back to a quiet park. If only there had been some Soroptimists’ in the area, she would have been FOUND and returned to us.
Sunday, Oct. 18
We have tracked Lola the Lobster down to a street fair somewhere in Europe. We think it could be France, or Italy, judging from the masterpieces she’s considering. Even more important, where will she be next?
Tuesday, Oct. 20
Lola the Lobster is quite familiar with sand, but not hot dry sand with a camel and pyramids. She thinks a ride on the camel would be great fun, but the camel is simply not having it. Better to have a siesta and relax in the heat.
Thursday, Oct. 22
After the heat in Egypt, needing to cool off, and never one to pass up an opportunity for a little fun, Lola The Lobster traveled to Switzerland. While in the alps, she couldn’t miss a little frolic in the snow. She found a saucer just waiting for her to take a mad dash down the mountain. We hope she dashes back to Vacaville soon, we miss her!
Monday, Oct. 26
SHE’S BACK IN VACAVILLE! Apparently Lola The Lobster learned that the Vacaville Farmer’s Market was extended to Oct. 24, and so here she is, pinching peaches with those claws of hers! If you spot her, please notify a Vacaville Soroptimist member ASAP!
We think she’ll be happy to know that lobster is NOT on the menu this year. But many other delectable dishes are! You won’t know how delicious unless you buy your ticket for “The Missing Lobster Dinner!”
Tuesday, Oct. 27
Be on the Lookout: Lola The Lobster was last spotted clawing her way around Main Street. She was spotted by one of our roving photographers trying to sneak into Fuso’s Italian Restaurant. Could she be looking for Soroptimist International of Vacaville? It could be, as we met at Fuso’s every week, prior to COVID-19. Oh Lola! Just say the word and we’d be happy to meet you somewhere!!
Wednesday, Oct. 28
Vacaville Museum staff were shocked to find Lola nonchalantly posing on a plate in their Sole Italiano exhibit. Perhaps she was thinking about what it would be like to BE dinner. As you know, you are not allowed to touch the artifacts in a museum, so she was quickly shooed away. It all happened so fast they didn’t have time to call us before Lola had scurried out of the museum.
Saturday, Oct. 31
Lola The Lobster
HAS BEEN FOUND!
She was visiting The Place of Peace, which is a lovely spot in Andrews Park, down by the creek. (In fact, Soroptimist International of Vacaville contributed to establishing the Place of Peace, which was the brainchild of one of our former members, Patricia Hunter, who dreamed of a community where there was no room for bigotry or hatred.)
Past President Jill Hunter, President Mary Dickey, Publicity Chair Diane Barney, and Past President and event Co-Chair Lisa Hilas were tipped off and found Lola checking out the plaque. We were able to convince her that she doesn’t need to run from us anymore. We will keep her safe until next year’s Lobster Dinner. In truth, Lola has become a local celebrity, so she will NOT be on the menu!
Soroptimist International of Vacaville, an international volunteer organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, is seeking local applicants for its recognition program targeted to young women who make the community and world a better place.The Violet Richardson Award honors young women, between the ages of 14 and 18, for volunteer action such as helping disadvantage people; fighting drugs, crime and violence; cleaning up the environment; and working to end discrimination and poverty.
The award program is named after Violet Richardson, the president of the first Soroptimist club in 1921.
Richardson believed in personal responsibility and the motto, “It’s what you do that counts.” She lived her life accordingly, as an active member in her community who was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women. Soroptimist established this award to honor her memory and her dedication to volunteer action.
Judges have the discretion of presenting up to $1,500 to a winner (or winners) and up to $1,500 to the charity of the winner’s (or winners’) choice.
Applications for the award program are available online at vacavillesoroptimist.org [vacavillesoroptimist.org]. Just click on “Apply” or contact Susan Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications must be submitted to Soroptimist International of Vacaville by Nov. 15.
Here is a short cut to download the application and the media consent form. Click below!
VRA Application | Media Consent Form
Chartered in 1960, Soroptimist International of Vacaville is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, which has its headquarters in Philadelphia.
What has happened to Soroptimist International of Vacaville’s annual lobster dinner for 2020? Depends on who you ask.
Some may say it’s a clever marketing campaign, while others will point to a thread of Facebook clues that challenge visitors to solve the mystery of “The Missing Lobster Dinner.”
“For 18 years, SI Vacaville has hosted a wildly successful lobster dinner every October, with themes ranging from Peace, Love & Lobster to Mobster Lobster and Lobster Safari,” explained President Mary Dickey. “But now, with a global pandemic raging, we had to get creative.”
So apparently, did the lobster – nicknamed Lola – who “disappeared” after the 2019 “Lobsters Around the World” event.
According to a website account, she was seen in downtown Vacaville booking a trip at Wasserman Travel. There have been other sightings – at Pawsh Place, Stem’s Florist, and other businesses around town. There is some speculation that Lola is planning a trip abroad – to escape the boiling heat of Vacaville.
“Apparently there are no travel restrictions for Crustaceans,” explained club member Tara Baumann, who created Lola’s image for a milk carton message. It reads:
“Last seen 2019. Description: Wearing red, two claws, two antennae, known to wear purple, goes by the name Lola. Be on the lookout!”
While there won’t be a lobster dinner for 2020, there will be a dinner, insists past President Lisa Hilas, who teamed up with past President Beth Rowe to organize the lobster-less virtual event.
The group is selling a $100 meal ticket for a dinner provided by Erica Marie’s Catering. The chef features one, two and sometimes three different entrée courses a week, and those who purchase a ticket will be able to decide when they want to use it. The meal will feed four and includes salad, bread, an entrée, two sides and dessert. It also comes with either a bottle of red or white wine, or two tickets to Brenden Theatres.
The price does not cover tax, tip and special packaging. Dinners can be picked up at Erica Marie’s Catering at 819 Davis St., Suite A.
“We thought this was a great way to support a local, female-owned business, and still maintain social distancing,” said Lisa. In addition, a portion of the proceeds earned from the fundraiser will go toward fire relief.
“It’s been our tradition to have a “Fund-a-need” highlighted at our lobster dinner every year,” explained Lisa. “This year, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Vacaville City Firefighters Charity Fund, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting victims of tragedy and underfunded programs in the community.”
Raffle tickets are available via email (email@example.com), and are four for a $100 donation.
Raffle prizes include a bouquet of flowers each month from Stems Florist for a year; a dessert of the month, every month for a year; and a catered lobster and beef dinner from Erica Marie’s Catering for eight.
“Even though we can’t get together and celebrate at this time, we think ‘The Missing Lobster Dinner,’ will be fun for everyone who decides to participate,” said Lisa. “This is our key fundraiser and will help us support all the many programs, awards, scholarships and international projects this year, and will go a long way in helping us make our community a better place for women and girls.”
To buy dinner tickets, visit www.vacavillesoroptimist.org and select “Events.” Sponsorships are also available for $250, and come with a dinner ticket, a visit from Lola and a choice of wine or theatre tickets.
“We invite everyone to follow us on Facebook and watch for Lola sightings! Share with your friends,” said Lisa. “It’s all for the good of the community.”
In the meantime, SI Vacaville’s Facebook page will offer posts twice a week to help visitors discover the whereabouts of Lola. Everyone who correctly guesses the final stop in her tour will be entered into a drawing. The winner of a gift basket will be announced in October.
With a theme of
“Soar to New Heights,”
Vacaville resident Mary Dickey has taken the reins as president of Soroptimist International of Vacaville for the 2020-2021 term.
The nonprofit international organization dedicated to making the community and the world a better place for women and girls selected Jackie DeVries to take on the role of vice president/president-elect, Chantel Reyes as recording secretary, Nancy Bennett as corresponding secretary, Vicki Nash as treasurer and Diane Irby as assistant treasurer.
Serving in the two-year director role will be Sandy Esparza while Sharon Marcacci will take the one-year director duties.
The two-year delegate will be Lisa Hilas, and one-year delegate will be Beth Rowe. The two-year alternate delegate is Lenora Fuller, while the one-year delegate is Faye Sheppard.
New officers were installed during a special Zoom ceremony on June 23.
Soroptimist International of Vacaville was chartered in 1960 and will celebrate its 60th birthday on Aug. 20