It was a night of cheers and tears, stories of courage and determination as Soroptimist International of Vacaville honored a room full of amazing women and gave away nearly $14,000 during the 2018 Dream Awards Banquet March 21, 2018, at the Opera House in downtown Vacaville.
LeTrianna B. Starling took top honors in the Live Your Dream category and received $4,000 to help her complete her education. Returning to college after an 11-year hiatus, she has been inspired to pursue a career in nursing, with a focus on mental health issues.
She said becoming a mother two years ago gave her the strength, confidence and determination to follow her dream. She is currently attending Solano Community College, with the goal of eventually becoming a registered nurse.
Rae A. Quinata received $3,000 to help her achieve her dream of completing a four-year degree, which will open up new career possibilities. As a single mother, she’s raised four children, always putting their goals and dreams ahead of hers. Now it’s time she followed her own dream, she told the audience.
A woman described as a survivor, a spark plug and a messenger of hope for incarcerated women earned the distinguished Ruby Award for outstanding service to the community. Deanna Allen, speaker, author and founder of Abundant Place, A Better Way, was heralded for her prison ministry outreach.
Allen was nominated by longtime Soroptimist member Wendy Wasserman, as well as coworker and friend Pat Nicodemus, who won the SI Vacaville Ruby Award in 2014 for her role in establishing the Women’s Reentry Achievement Program (WRAP) in Solano County jails.
SI Vacaville donated $1,000 in Allen’s name to Abundant Place.
Brooke Fox, executive director for the Downtown Vacaville Business Improvement District and charter member of SI Vacaville Twilight organization, was the evening’s featured speaker. She described her hometown as “a city of 98,000 that thinks it’s still a small town of 9,000.”
As a third-generation Soroptimist, Fox lauded SI Vacaville’s good work and pointed to several downtown examples of success, including donations to the community’s library and museum, an after-school reading program, establishment of a “Place of Peace,” in Andrews Park, the creation of an outreach program for at-risk high school students and more. She applauded the organization’s theme this year of “Cultivating Community,” comparing downtown to a giant, patchwork garden that needs a community of gardeners to keep it growing.
SI Vacaville used the evening to celebrate and encourage a number of high school students to continue their good work in making the community a better place.
Bridget Higgins, 18, a Vanden High School senior, took home the Violet Richardson award for community service.
She has volunteered with the USO, founded peer-to-peer counseling at her school and served as co-president of Best Buddies, but the biggest impact she’s had on community service has been her involvement with TEAM Vacaville, she said.
It stands for “Together Everyone Always Matters,” and it brings together kind young leaders with special needs friends.
The need for support for special needs children in the community has “always been grossly undermined,” she wrote in her application. “Most of the time it doesn’t even register as an issue within our status quo as a nation. Too often these children are tossed aside and disregarded, dehumanized even, to a point that entirely contradicts the essence of American ideals.”
$1,500 will go to Bridgit and $1,500 to TEAM Vacaville.
Five “stars” of the Soroptimist’ STEPS (Soroptimist Teaching and Empowering for Personal Success) Program were given $500 scholarships each and honored for their commitment to the program. They are Country High School students Crystal Barallobre, Faith Bruns, Gillian Langwell, Kylissa Eckley and Leeann Rassitan.
STEPS coordinator Linda Johnson also surprised Country High Principal Ami Blackstone with flowers, thanking her for her support.
It was also a night for Soroptimists to honor some of their own, for longevity, service and commitment, explained club President Colleen Berumen.
Longtime members Stephanie Corrington and Wendy Wasserman received Fellowship pins, with money donated in their names toward educational programs for women and girls. Then Wendy surprised her husband, Jim Kellogg with his own Fellowship pin, thanking him for being her rock.
Colleen was presented with the prestigious Laurel Society Pin, and a donation made in her name to the program that supports the Live Your Dream and Dream It, Be It awards.
Longtime distinguished member, member of fellowship and past president Jackie Ricketts was honored for 40 years of membership in SI Vacaville.
Celebrating 35 years in the club were Denise Suihkonen and Judy Dykes, both past presidents. Denise is a fellow, a member of the Laurel Society and longtime treasurer. Judy is a life member and member of the Laurel Society.
Mary Ann Thurmond is celebrating 30 years as a Soroptimist, having transferred from the Fairfield club years ago.
Distinguished member Clara Oakes was honored for 20 years as a Soroptimist. She is a fellow and member of the Laurel Society, and has served as president for SI Vacaville twice.
Kathleen Heeren and Yvonne Thrasher celebrated 10 years with the organization. Kathleen is a member of the Laurel Society and a fellow.
Berumen, Dilenna Harris and Susan Freedlun all celebrated their five-year anniversary with SI Vacaville.
Happy 54th Birthday to our Vacaville Club today- we celebrated by honoring former presidents and playing Bingo! LOL, it was fun.
We are three weeks into our new club year and we added four new members already. Wow, good job us. Please spread the news and tell your friends.
No more should people say, " What is Soroptimist?"
Membership is open to any individual who cares about our core mission, improving the lives of women and girls. We act locally with our STEPS program- assisting young at-risk girls at Country High, and globally we support the many outreach programs that our parent organization, Soroptimist International of the Americas, monitors and supports. No girl left behind.
We are a member of the Founder Region, which is one of 28 regions within the Americas; there are six districts or 56 clubs within our Founder Region.
We are a force to be reckoned with, and I am so proud of our efforts.
Tell your friends and come visit us any Tuesday. Be sure to attend our major fundraiser, The Lobster Dinner on Oct. 18th at the Ulatis Community Center.
I had a fabulous, inspiring time in Vancouver. The thrill of walking into a room of one thousand women who share your desire to make the world a better place filled me with awe and hope. These fellow Soroptimists gathered in Vancouver at the Soroptimist International of the Americas biennial meeting the end of July. I was with former President Sandy Esparza, and my sister Jackie DeVries. Both brilliant and fun loving ladies who helped me distribute the wonderful luggage tags from Wendy Wasserman - they were a hit. Lenora Fuller labeled them all Vacaville, California. These cute gifts thrilled the women.
I was excited to be invited to meet the head honcho herself, President Cheri Fleming, thanks to the generosity and foresight of our club. We were one of the clubs who had the wisdom to realize that giving at least 10% of our total funds to promote all Soroptimist programs was an idea that made total sense. Thanks former President Clara Oakes for helping us make that decision and to former President Sandy Esparza who followed her lead.
We were listed as Dream Builders in the program, and I made sure everyone at my table knew it! Pres. Cheri is a little tiny thing but a giant in her own way. I shook her hand, thanked her for inviting me then proceeded to mingle with the other club presidents in order to pick their brains about their fundraisers. I also shared our success with our STEPS girls- our on-going local educational impact project that supports at-risk girls in our community's continuation high school. After about forty five minutes I asked Pres. Cheri if she was going to make a speech, she said NO, so I said, " In that case, I am out of here and on to my Region's party! Thanks for thinking of us!"
(Notice the view behind our photo. A 360 degree view of the Vancouver harbor. There are perks to being the president!)
More about the convention later....
Dona Gaddis Wolf President of Soroptimist Founder Region and Shannon Richards District Director came to club today to support Patricia Hunter and her personal and compelling presentation about Domestic Violence. 20 20 the TV show was there too showing a interest in Patricia's story. Patricia story about her daughter's domestic abuse, will be aired sometime this year. What is important is that our club was present to support Patricia and her presentation was excellent and now there is a message that will get out to the people.
I received a very nice email from a visitor to our Soroptimist Place of Peace in Andrews Park. I was impressed by the sign which the visitor took a picture of. I will include the contents of the email.
I saw your sign at Andrews Park in downtown Vacaville while taking a
walk in the park after church.... I liked the sign so much I took a photo and featured it on my Facebook page:
The sign looks a bit weathered, otherwise is very nice.
God bless you for helping to proclaim Vacaville as a Place of
Our new member Vanessa Williams did a presentation for us about the Leaven Organization.
Her presentation about The Leaven brought lots of interest. We all jumped in and talked about helping this project thrive.
Vanessa is the director of an after school neighborhood program. an has a lot of fun and shares with us the exciting things that are happening there.
Dr. Andrew Brooks talks to the Soroptimist International of Vacaville Club about arthritis and joint replacement. Dr. Brooks, Cyndy Giaquinto, Joint Replacement Program Manager and Orthopedic Patient Navigator at NorthBay VacaValley
Hospital was our guest as well as NorthBay Marketing Representative Kelly Rhoads-Poston.
Dr. Brooks does several hundred knee and joint replacements a year. He has a lot of positive things to say about this surgery and how it helps you have a better life.
There was a lot of giving going on this last couple of weeks at Soroptimist functions. First we gave gifts to our STEPS girls, then we had a white elephant gift exchange at club. We also sang at two senior rehab facilities and presented over 100 wrapped gifts of lap blankets. There were a lot of smiles, laughter and singing going on. Our club had a great time. Have a wonderful Holiday Everyone. PS We meet again on January 8th and have a board meeting January 9th and the business meeting is Jan 15th.
This group is amazing. We put on a Lobster dinner for 300 people and it went very smoothly. Like Wendy said the event is amazing and so is our club. Thank you all. Team work is alive and well at Soroptimist. We will do some debriefing soon and fine tune our event for next year!! Peace Out...
August came and went but our club started STEPS. The excitement of STEPS is reaching the female student population at Country High We had 35 young women in attendance. The students are excited and were thankful for the great lunch. Next session is on Interviews and first Impressions. I can't wait!!
The Lobsters are coming October 19th. This is our major fundraiser and allows us a healthy budget to do our work throughout the year. I am planning on filling 2 tables with my friends and family. I also get to dress like a hippy and revert back to being a child in the 60's again.
Club Members we have the call to District Meeting which is October 5th on a Saturday.The cost for registration is $20 and the meals are $25. It will be held in St. Helena. It is a one day affair loaded with Soroptimist information and training. Are you in??? Carole Warren is making the basket we donate to raise money for Fellowship. I still have many raffle tickets to sale. We traditionally win something. The baskets are very well done and Carole does us proud and our basket is a wonderful gift to the person who wins it.
Before I close I want to give a shout out to Mary Harris for doing the Camino Walk in Spain. For her 75th birthday she rewarded her self with the experience of a lifetime and signed up for this famous walk. Mary has allowed me to ask for donations in support of her walk. She wishes these donations to go to Soroptimist Scholarships. Please send all donations to our P O Box 6054 Vacaville CA 95696 in honor of Mary's walk. That is all for now Peace out... and Sell tickets to our lobster event. Lets have a sold out event!!
It is July 11th. I missed going to our lunch at Fuso on Tuesday since we are dark this month. Joy and I met that day to go over some agenda items and fun things that we would like to see happen at every meeting. We want you to enjoy your Soroptimist meetings. Let us know if you have any ideas. On another note, Thank you for the wonderful installation. I will remember it always.
Making a difference Matters...