Ventura, CA- Soroptimist International (SI) of Ventura, California, a local service club for business and professional women with the goal of making a difference in the lives of women and girls, celebrated their 85th anniversary, honored longtime members and announced this year’s scholarship award winners at a luncheon on April 16, 2016, attended by 84 members and guests. Its members raise funds throughout the year to provide two awards each spring and to provide additional grants to local community organizations serving women and girls. This year’s funds were raised through a direct mail campaign, a silent auction at the event and various restaurant/local business fundraisers.
At the event we honored nine long-time members who have devoted thousands of hours of personal and professional time to our cause. Our longest serving member was with our club for almost 54 years. The members who have been with our club for over 30 years include: Dixie Adeniran (36 years), Arlene Briggle (35 years), Liz Heaton Brown (31 years), Garnet Carroll (54 years), Lynn Jacobs (35 years), Sandra Masiel (34 years), Donna Nelson (31 years), Dorothy Prairie (33 years) and Dolores Taylor (34 years). We thank them for their service and for helping to make the Ventura Soroptimist club what it is today.
We also awarded our scholarships for 2016 at the luncheon. The Violet Richardson Award honors young women for their volunteer efforts in their school or community. It is awarded annually to a teen, ages 14-17, and her volunteer organization to recognize the inspiration and dedication it takes to be a volunteer making a difference in the lives of others. This year’s scholarship was awarded to Fidelity Ballmer who is a senior at Foothill Technology High School. Fidelity started the Girl Up club at Foothill. Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations, works to prioritize the health, safety, leadership and education of girls in developing countries. Fidelity’s mother, Shelly Ballmer, and Linda Kapala, Counselor at Foothill, accepted the $1500 award which is shared between Fidelity and the Girl Up club at Foothill.
The Woman’s Opportunity Award is dedicated to women who are heads of household and need to further their skills, education or training to upgrade their employment status. This year’s scholarship of $1,500 was awarded to Mary Kay Leon, a single mom of six children who is student and a business owner. Mary Kay wants to make a difference for families trapped by addiction and abuse. She is on track to obtain her AA and then wants to transfer to a University so she can work as an advocate within the court systems.
A special thank you goes to Erik Nasarenko, Ventura City Mayor, Anna Gonzales, 2014 SIV Women’s Opportunity Award winner, our event sponsors, the businesses and individuals that donated items to our silent auction and all of the individuals that helped make our 85th anniversary celebration/scholarship awards event a success!