We’re moving this blog….

We’re phasing out this blog and moving it to our website: for latest info go to www.soroptimistvista.org

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Casino Night Tickets On Sale Now

Tickets are on sale now for the Soroptimist’s 2nd Annual Casino Night Fundraiser, to be held Saturday, September 28, 2019 at the Vista Optimist Club. Guests may purchase tickets from any Soroptimist member or order online at http://bit.ly/2IMckR3. The dining tables, Casino Games, Chinese Auction and Texas Hold’em Tournament will be indoors, with Bingo games and cash bar outside on the Patio.

This is our club’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Proceeds will go to fund scholarship grants for local women seeking to improve their lives through education and training, and other Soroptimist projects benefiting women and girls.

Cosmic Solar and Vista Main St. Suites are two sponsors of this year’s Casino Night fundraiser. We invite more companies to add their name and logo. Sponsorship levels and contact information are below.


HIGH ROLLER $1,500: 4 tickets, your logo on signs/poster/flyer, social media recognition, ad on Soroptimist website, 4 positions on continuous loop big screen ad rotator at event. Promo materials on table at event. Live promo (mike time) to talk about your company at event between 6-6:30 pm.
ROYAL FLUSH $1,000: 3 tickets, your logo on all signs/poster/flyer, social media recogntion, ad on Soroptimist website, 3 positions on continuous loop big screen ad rotator at event.
FULL HOUSE $500: 2 tickets, your logo on all signs/poster/flyer, social media recognition, ad on Soroptimist website, 2 positions on continuous loop big screen ad rotator at event.
GAMBLER $250: 1 ticket, your logo on all signs/poster/fl yer, social media recognition, ad on Soroptimist website, 1 position on continuous loop big screen ad rotator at event.

Sponsoring is simple! Just 1) email Melinda at mkj99@hotmail.com to let her know you are interested in sponsoring (or call her at 760-975-3973); 2) mail a check payable to SI Vista/NCI to “SI Vista NCI,” P.O. Box 382, Vista, CA 92085 Attn: M. Jarrell, Casino Night.

Posted in Events, Fundraisers, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

How You Can Help Soroptimists Help Women Succeed

by Jackie Piro Huyck, SI Vista NCI

May 20, 2019–Tears do not come easily to me, especially in public, but recently I found myself reaching for tissues at the Soroptimist Desert Coast Region Spring Conference held May 17-19, 2019 at Pala Casino Resort. At the podium was one of nine Live Your Dream Award finalists on the dais. Natalia, obviously nervous and unaccustomed to public speaking, faced an expectant audience of over 150 Soroptimists. Overcome with emotion, she was temporarily unable to speak. She recovered her composure and apologized for her tears.

“This story never gets easier to tell,” she began. Tearfully, she related how she was kidnapped at a young age from the U.S., brought by traffickers to Sinaloa, Mexico and forced into prostitution, enduring repeated beatings and abuse, and spending the next 8 years of her life there. When she tried to escape, the local Mexican police brought her back to her traffickers. “I completely lost hope,” she said. “I didn’t speak Spanish.  Nobody cared about me. Nobody was looking for me,” she sobbed.

But then, she said, “An angel saved me.” That angel was her son, to whom she gave birth in 2010. Becoming a mother brought a strength to her that she never knew she had. “I realized I had to fight,” she said. “I thought, if I die, who will take care of him?” She and her son were finally rescued by the local Child Protective Services and returned to the U.S. 

The good news is that Natalia is thriving and will soon graduate with an associates degree in Business from Southwestern College with plans to transfer to SDSU. Suffering from PTSD, her body still sore from repeated beatings, Natalia is determined to succeed for her son’s sake and to regain what was taken from her as a child. Grateful for the $5,000 scholarship grant Soroptimists were awarding her that day, she said the words we’ve heard from so many of our past scholarship recipients: “It’s not just about the money, the emotional support is to me more valuable,” she said.

Hers was only one of many heart-wrenching stories we heard that day.  The other awardees had stories equally moving. Those of us who grew up with supportive loving families and income security cannot imagine how alone these women have felt and how much they have overcome to even get to this point.

Our Desert Coast Region, representing 36 Soroptimist clubs that range from the deserts of Imperial County to the coast of Orange and San Diego Counties, gave each of the nine Region awardees a cash award, a computer and a printer. This is in addition to the awards they each received at the local club level. One of them—Natalia, nominated by the Coronado Soroptimists—was voted to be our Region’s nominee to apply for an additional grant of $10,000 at the National level.  We wish her well!

The Soroptimist Live Your Dream award program is the signature program of all Soroptimist clubs throughout the world, along with our other programs supporting under-served women and girls.  The multiplier effect of each local club awarding grants to one or more women each year means our collective impact is huge.

I’ve been a member of the Vista and North County Inland Soroptimist Club for 9 years now. We all worked really hard last year, holding fundraisers to raise enough money to give three $5,000 scholarship grants to our club’s Live Your Dream awards recipients. Yes, we were a bit disappointed that our club’s chosen nominee did not advance to the Region level for additional scholarship money.  But we were not surprised, because we know there are many more deserving applicants than there is money to award.

As anyone who volunteers their time and money to help a non-profit raise funds knows, we sometimes suffer from burnout. But attending the May Conference gave me a big boost, because I heard first-hand from these women that we Soroptimists are indeed making a huge difference in their lives and in the lives of their families. So I left this year’s conference re-energized and ready to work hard to raise funds for next year’s scholarship recipients. Along with all Soroptimist Clubs worldwide, our club will be busy holding fundraisers, seeking donations and support from our local communities. If you are among our past supporters, individually or on behalf of local companies like Tri City Medical Center, Modern Builders Supply, and Cosmic Solar, please know that your generous donations are making a real difference in these women’s lives, and the lives of their families.

If you or your company would like to help us continue to help women like Natalia, the easiest way is to attend or sponsor a Soroptimist fundraiser. Our next one is a Casino Night Fundraiser on Saturday, September 28, 2019 at the Vista Optimist Club.  All proceeds will go to help more women like Natalia. For more information, see soroptimistvista.org or leave us a message at 760-683-9427 and we will get right back to you.

Posted in Events, News | Tagged | Leave a comment

Soroptimists Award $15,000 in Scholarship Grants

by Jackie Piro Huyck, SI Vista NCI

VISTA, California, April 21, 2019—Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland awarded $15,000 in scholarship grants to three local women at their annual “Live Your Dream”  Awards gala held on March 23, 2019 at the Vista Optimist Club. About 130 people attended the $85 per plate event, which featured a reception with silent auction and cork pull, dinner and dessert. The event raised about $12,000 for the club’s Service Fund. Title sponsors were Tri City Medical Center, Modern Builders Supply, Runa the Realtor and California Real Estate Service. Dessert was donated by Sunrise Café of Vista.

Assembly member Tasha Boerner Horvath and Vista Mayor Judy Ritter were on hand to congratulate and present framed Proclamations to each woman. Vista councilman Joe Green was the guest speaker. He spoke about his own mother and her challenges as a single parent and lauded the Soroptimist’s mission of helping women get the education they need to support their families.

Each of the awardees spoke briefly about their struggles and aspirations. They asked not to be identified publicly for security concerns. Two of the women are attending Palomar College and one is a student at Cal State San Marcos. All are raising children alone after experiencing abusive and dysfunctional relationships and economic hardship. One is studying to become a registered nurse, another a lawyer, and the third, already a talented graphic designer, wants to be an e-commerce entrepreneur.  After the presentations, the women were surprised by an additional and unexpected award of a laptop and printer for each of them.

The club thanked the employees of Datron World Communications for their generous donation and also the Vista Optimist Club, who not only supplied the venue but also the food, which received rave reviews. “Everyone loved the venue, the appetizers and drinks in the bar, and the delicious dinner options,” said club Treasurer Pat Origlieri. “We’ve already decided to have our September 28 Casino Night fundraiser at the Optimist Club too.” Despite the similarities in name, the Optimists and the Soroptimists are two completely distinct non-profit organizations. “It’s a win-win to have our fundraiser there because the Optimist Club also makes some money from the event, which they then donate to their causes” observed Gala co-chair Aleta Dirdo.

Table Sponsors were: Catspaw Design-Build, Inc., Tri City Realty, Boys & Girls Club of Vista, Attorney Assly Sayyar, Massage by Lani, Attorney Paul Campo, Free Builders Supply, Charlie and Carol Buel, Law Offices of Phyllis J. McGreevey and the Rotary Club of Vista

The 2019 Gala Committee members were Co-Chairs Paula Nix and Aleta Dirdo, Sherry Luz, Thoralinda Soyland, Lani Beltrano, Runa Gunnars, Assly Sayyar, Karen Del Bene, Ellen Clark, Nelly Jarrous, Marge Swacker, Catherine Manis, Cherie Wilson, Judy Gregorie and Jackie Piro Huyck.

Posted in Events, Fundraisers, News, Press Releases | Tagged | Leave a comment

Soroptimist Desert Coast Region Spring Conference 2019

$24,000 in Scholarships awarded to 9 Region Live Your Dream Finalists

More photos are viewable at https://soroptimistvista-nci.smugmug.com/Soroptimist-DCR-Spring-Conferenc/

Posted in Events, News | Leave a comment

Andrew Schmidt of Awaken Fair Trade to Speak at May 2nd Collaborative Meeting

Save the date for this Collaborative Meeting on May 2

Soroptimist STOP Trafficking Program

Our next Collaborative meeting is Thursday, May 2nd at 9 am at our usual location: United Methodist Church, 490 South Melrose Drive, Vista, California (downstairs, in Fellowship Hall). Our guest speaker is Andrew Schmidt of Awaken Fair Trade.

Emily and Andrew Schmidt started Awaken with a vision that a business could create one of a kind products and change lives at the same time.

“We’ve always felt blessed to grow up in a country that supports freedom and has given us opportunities many would only dream of.We set off to find partners that were doing amazing work in challenging socioeconomic communities. Through a lead at a human trafficking presentation we heard about a Thai business that employs those coming out of prostitution and human trafficking in Thailand. We headed off to Bangkok to share our vision and hear theirs and have now been working together for over 5 years…

View original post 77 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tickets on Sale Now for Salad Bar Luncheon Fundraiser

March 27, 2019, VISTA, California–Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will host their annual Salad Bar Luncheon fundraiser at Grace Presbyterian Church in Vista at 1450 E. Vista Way on Thursday, April 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Soroptimist members and local dignitaries and will don aprons and serve up a smorgasbord of salads and desserts prepared by Club members and local restaurants. In addition to the salads, the luncheon includes roll, baked potato with toppings and beverage, and a selection of desserts. “This is a great community gathering as well as being a fundraiser for our club,” said Soroptimist member Jackie Huyck. “All proceeds go to help women and girls through programs that lead to social and economic empowerment. Great food, a gift basket and money hat raffle, and our wonderful Vista firefighters will be there to help serve the salads,” she said.

This year’s event sponsors are Kenny’s Kar Klinic, Judy Ritter, Dee Dee Timmons/Allstate, Dusty Hill Holistic Health, Orchard Gold and TLC Chiropractic (Thoralinda Soyland).

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets are available from any club member or online at soroptimistvista.org or by calling (760) 683-9427 or emailing soroptimistinternationalvista@gmail.com.

Soroptimist International of Vista & North County Inland is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, part of an international service organization of professional women who seek to improve the lives of women and girls both locally and internationally. The funds raised by the club are distributed to women and girls in need. The club meets every first and third Friday for lunch at locations in Vista.

Posted in Events, Fundraisers, News, Press Releases | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

March Collaborative Meeting

Soroptimist STOP Trafficking Program


Notes by Allison Metzler, SI Vista and North County Inland

Next Meeting is May 2, 2019 Guest speaker TBD

Kaye called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. Several first-time visitors joined us. (note *’s by their names on the attendance list).
• Andrew Schmidt from Fallbrook and his wife have launched program which assists trafficked survivors from Thailand.
• Several members of United Methodist Church expressed interest in our work which correlates with their United Methodist Women’s mission outreach program to address human trafficking.
• Mandy May-Fitzgerald, Registered Aroma Therapist, stated as a private citizen she wanted to learn more. (Later in the meeting she volunteered to join Friends of the Park, homeless outreach.)
• Jackie Huyck, Soroptimist Int’l Vista and North County Inland invited all attendees to attend the SIVNCI Live Your Dream Awards Gala

View original post 730 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Homeless Outreach Leaders to Speak at March 7 Collaborative Meeting

Coming up March 7 …

Soroptimist STOP Trafficking Program

Kaysee and Norio Morota of Friends of the Park

The next meeting of the North County San Diego Anti-Trafficking Collaborative is Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 9 am to 10:30 am at the United Methodist Church of Vista’s Fellowship Hall located at 490 South Melrose Drive in Vista. Guest speakers for the March 7, Collaborative meeting are Kaysee and Norio Morota and Lisa Adams, of “Friends of the Park” homeless outreach in Carlsbad. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome and coffee and pastries are available.

Kaysee Morota is the Pastor of the Community of Christ in Carlsbad. She and her husband, Norio, are engaged in a year-round ministry to assist homeless individuals and families in meeting their daily needs, help them find services that might be available to them help them secure lodging, employment and future stability. Lisa Adams works tireless as a…

View original post 65 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three Local Women to Receive Awards at March 23 Gala

Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland will hand out three education grants of $5,000 each to three recipients, all of whom are single head-of-household women who have overcome enormous obstacles and are trying to better their lives and the lives of their children, at the club’s annual “Live Your Dream” Awards Gala on to be held Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 5 pm to 10 pm at the Vista Optimist Club, 600 Optimist Way, Vista. 

Order tickets at http://bit.ly/2SuDdvG

Tickets are still available for the Gala. Tickets are $85 per plate, and Table Sponsorships are still available for $800 per table of 8. Proceeds benefit future education awards for women. Event sponsors are Tri-City Medical Center, Modern Builders Supply, Tri-City Realty and California Real Estate Services.

Guests are urged to choose from one of three “Main Course” options by March 9th.After that date there will be no guarantee but the Beef option will be the most plentiful (and good!)

Guests will begin their Gala experience with a 5 p.m. Welcome Reception with no-host bar, music, passed tray appetizers, and Silent Auction and Cork Pull. Dinner and dessert will be served concurrently with the award presentations. “The Optimist Club, a beautiful venue located in the heart of Vista’s Shadowridge community, is preparing an awesome menu for us, featuring their famous slow-cooked Beef Short Ribs,” said Soroptimist Paula Nix. “Non-meat eaters can choose the Salmon or Ravioli options if they reserve by March 9,” she added. “Our silent auction items include a beautiful handmade quilt, a ‘Man Crate,’ a Luxury Wine Basket, hand-crafted jewelry, and more.”

Tickets are available online at bit.ly/2SuDdvG or by contacting Gala Co-Chair Paula Nix at 760-500-0013 or emailing paula.eckerts@gmail.com.


(Their names have been changed to protect their privacy).

“Ruby” is pursuing a BA in Criminal Justice at Cal State San Marcos, while supporting three children with only scant financial help from her ex-husband, whom she divorced after he succumbed to alcohol and substance abuse. After being in “survival mode” following a traumatic divorce, Ruby, determined to improve her employment prospects, enrolled in classes. She earned her Paralegal Certificate (and made the Dean’s List) and now her long-term goal is to become a lawyer. “There is nothing that I want more than to be able to succeed, stabilize a good career with benefits, and provide a better life for my children. I want to be a positive role model and someone that they admire,” she said.

Theresa” escaped from a domestic violence situation and is now working part-time while residing with her four young daughters at Solutions for Change homeless shelter. The Solutions program has given her breathing room and the opportunity to enter a 2-year nursing program at Palomar College, with the goal of eventually becoming a Registered Nurse. “I am showing my girls that no matter what happens in life, to never give up on your dream and to keep going,” said Theresa.

Melissa” is a single mother of two studying Marketing at Palomar College after escaping an abusive husband. “Since I was young, I have loved everything related to business, art, and technology,” said Melissa. She plans to earn a Certificate in Social Media, Entrepreneurship and E-Marketing at Palomar College and then transfer to Cal State San Marcos for a BA in Graphic Design, and eventually earn a Masters in Business Marketing. Her dream is to be an e-commerce entrepreneur. Her natural aptitude for graphic design and computer software has allowed her to earn money as a freelance graphic designer, but the Live Your Dream cash award will help pay her books, tuition, transportation, bills, and allow her to focus on her studies more. “I am setting an example for my kids of good values, attitudes, and behaviors, and I see these reflected in the way they behave in school, their relationships, how they make difficult decisions, and when talking in therapy about their dad who abused us,” she said, proudly. “I’m showing my kids how to work wisely, and despite struggles and ups and downs, to just keep on going to achieve their goals.”


Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland (SI Vista/NCI) was chartered on March 23, 1953. 2019 marks the club’s 66th year of service to the community. We are a dynamic group of professional business women who seek to make a difference in our community through offering scholarships and grants to women in need and by raising awareness and educating the public about issues affecting women and girls, such as domestic violence and human trafficking. Funds are raised through our annual salad luncheon for the public, Casino Night, Scrip sales, and other club and personal fundraising projects. The club meets for lunch the first and third Friday of each month at Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista. For more information see soroptimistvista.org or email soroptimistinternationalvista@gmail.com

Posted in Events, Fundraisers, News, Press Releases | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment