Vista, California, March 21, 2018— Three local women were honored at Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland’s annual “Live Your Dream” Awards Gala held Saturday, March 10 at the elegant Vista Valley Country Club. About 140 guests attended the $75 per plate dinner, including Vista Mayor Judy Ritter, Vista Councilman Joe Green, and Oceanside Councilman Jerry Kern. Author and Communications Coach Sheryl Roush of Sparkle Presentations was the guest speaker and music was supplied by DJ Party Pam. Event sponsors were Tri-City Medical Center and Modern Builders Supply.
The featured event was the presentation of the Club’s “Live Your Dream” Award to three single mothers who are all attending college locally. As presenter Catherine Manis explained, Soroptimist Live Your Dream awards are designed to help women who have overcome great obstacles and are the primary source of financial support for their families by giving them the resources they need to improve their education and employment prospects. Each of the three awardees received a $5,000 check and award certificate as well as a proclamation from Vista mayor Judy Ritter and Certificates of Recognition signed by State Assembly woman Marie Waldron. “We’d like to also recognize the employees of Datron Communications for their donations,” said Jackie Piro Huyck. “Their generosity made that third cash award possible. It is our goal each year to raise enough money to help three women,” she explained, “and we met that goal this year. Plus, due to other generous donors, we were able to present each woman with her own laptop computer and printer.”
Alaina, Linda (not her real name) and Grace all wished to keep their identities private, for safety reasons. Alaina, supporting three young children, is studying at Cal State San Marcos with the goal of pursuing a degree in Sociology. “Linda,” after escaping an abusive marriage, will be attending Miracosta College this fall in pursuit of an Associates Degree in Nursing. Grace, a single mother of two, is working towards her Associates Degree in Nursing at Palomar College. All are balancing school while working to support their families. They each spoke briefly of their struggles to pull themselves out of very bad situations in order to follow their dreams. “They were grateful to the Soroptimists for not only the financial assistance, but also the moral support and encouragement, which was very important to them,” said Gala co-chair Aleta Dirdo. “And one of our past Live Your Dream award recipients, Alisha Donaldson, also talked briefly, updating us on her experiences since winning her award last year. She spoke of the way that Soroptimists are always available to help in any way they can,” added Dirdo.
Keynote speaker Sheryl Roush gave an inspirational talk, sharing with the audience her own experience of abuse, depression, and other hardships, as well as her determination to improve her life and follow her own dream of being an entrepreneur. She spoke of the power of a positive attitude and believing in the worthiness of oneself and others. “She was awesome,” said Soroptimist Karen Thompson. “I think she should always be a part of our Gala!”
A silent auction was held featuring a myriad of enticing items, including a dinner for eight at a Firehouse, which was won by Denise Boulton of Boulton Mortgage and Real Estate. Proceeds from the auction will go into the club’s Service Fund for next year’s awards.
Gala Committee members were Paula Nix and Aleta Dirdo (co-Chairs), Sherry Luz, Thoralinda Soyland, Lani Beltrano, Runa Gunnars, Assly Sayar, Karen Del Bene, Ellen Clark, Nelly Jarrous, Catherine Manis, Judy Gregorie and Jackie Piro Huyck.