Pasta Dinner Mixer

Don’t Miss the Pasta Dinner Mixer on Wednesday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m. Bring yourself, bring a friend and something to drink to Vega’s house located at 2953 Seahorse Ave., Ventura!!! We hope to see you there.

Please RSVP for this event to
Sandy at
805-278-3607 or
Sandra.Masiel@
morganstanley.com

STOP Human Trafficking & Sexual Slavery 10th Annual Event

Soroptimist International of Ventura joins with Oxnard, Camarillo, Fillmore, The Conejo, Santa Barbara and Simi Valley SI clubs to present the Stop Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery Annual Event on March 8, 2017 at the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3290 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura.

This event includes an Community Walk at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Speakers Forum of experts at 6:30 p.m.

Speakers include:

  • Judith Porter, Deputy Sheriff, Ventura County Special Unit
  • Kristina Fitz, Mentor Survivor Advocate
  • Michael Munn, Ventura County District Attorney Investigator

This event helps raise awareness about this rapidly growing problem in Ventura County, the state of California, our country and throughout the world. Anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises. We are working on education, advocacy and involvement.

VFA Co-Founder Lawrence Parkhill to Speak at the September 28 Program Meeting

VFA.Co-Founder Lawrence ParkhillVeteran Farmers of America-Connecting Veterans to Agriculture – VFA’s mission is to connect veterans to agriculture as a viable occupation in order to assist with their successful reentry into civilian life. Mary Maranville, Founder and Executive Director, recognized a growing need in the regional industry for a technically-skilled, younger workforce while experiencing the food system through the agricultural relationships she cultivated while developing SEEAG. Farm partners conveyed concern over the aging workforce and the challenge of finding employees who were capable, dedicated and hard working, while also being skilled and potential leaders.

VFA Co-Founder, USMC Veteran Lawrence Parkhill, was experiencing difficulty with finding direction in his life as a civilian after registering to fight for his country at 17 following 9/11. Parkhill served 5 years in the Marines, including 3 tours in Afghanistan. After transitioning, he took advantage of his GI Bill and enrolled in courses, but had no idea what occupation to pursue. Parkhill knew he was just one of many who were struggling with reentering civilian life and the civilian workforce for the first time as adults. 

Knowing Parkhill’s service experience and his need to find employment, Maranville connected him with a variety regional farms, ranging from small organic farms to the largest lemon producer in the country, so that he could experience agriculture as a possible vocation. These internships were impactful and instructive, and also served to enlighten the farms to a highly-employable population demographic. 

The success of the internships lead to the founding of VFA on July 4th, 2013 in order to link two community needs, and to further SEEAG’s mission. Ultimately, Parkhill became the first VFA success story, as he found employment at a major agricultural producer who partners with VFA today. 

While Maranville oversees VFA, Program Coordinator Julie Sardonia executes program implementation and development. Sardonia is a certified therapist, and is the Founder of Reins of H.O.P.E., a nonprofit serving active duty military, veterans, and their families utilizing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning. She combines her therapy background and experience with veterans in order to realize program outcomes and goals.

VFA connects veterans to agriculture as a viable occupation in order to assist with their successful reentry into civilian life. VFA does this through paid vocational internships and advisement programs at various local agricultural facilities throughout Ventura County. This 80-hour internship offers veterans the opportunity to explore agriculture as an optional immediate vocation or as a specialty to pursue in higher education. In its 3 years of operation, VFA has already successfully enrolled 13 veterans in internships and placed 8 in jobs. Many veterans currently enrolled in local colleges also express interest in the program as a way to determine whether agriculture is a career pathway they wish to apply their GI Bill to pursue. The program also educates regional agriculture employers about veteran employment and its many benefits.

The program is open to all veterans from all branches of the military. The majority of participants are Post-9/11 veterans, with some who served in the Gulf War. VFA welcomes veterans with a variety of physical and mental challenges, and pairs participants with internships and eventual placements that are conducive to their needs. The program and internships are offered within Ventura County, however veterans from throughout the nation have participated in the program.

The veterans served by VFA face a variety of challenges, particularly those recently separated from service. They are used to working in physical conditions, in close teams, and with a clear purpose to their work; which rarely occurs in civilian life. This sense of pride is lost, which can make facing civilian work discouraging and un-motivating.

Veterans often struggle with mental and physical challenges, which they do not look forward to discussing with their employer and coworkers. They may need accommodations to their work schedule, demands, and conditions. These conflicting variables and can lead to unemployment, as veterans are challenged to find employers who understand these difficulties, don’t stigmatize PTSD, and don’t confuse them with a lack of work ethic. This can further contribute to existing mental health difficulties, thus exacerbating the initial challenge.

The agricultural industry is poised to accommodate many of the employability challenges veterans face, as it offers unique flexibility and a workplace that is devoted to the higher purpose of feeding America. Furthermore, the hands-on experience of farming helps to decrease,and potentially  alleviate, some of veterans’ mental health issues. Being outdoors and in touch with the soil is restorative.

For more information about Veteran Farmers of America please visitwww.vetfarm.org

If you are interested in attending this meeting please call Sandy Masiel at 805-278-3607 to RSVP by Monday, September 26. The cost is $15.

2016 Violet Richardson Award Winner, Fidelity Ballmer, to Speak at August 24 Program Meeting

web_Fidelity-BallmerFidelity Ballmer graduated from Foothill Technology High School as the Class of 2016 Valedictorian. Throughout high school, Fidelity served women and girls through founding and leading a 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 club raised awareness and funds through campaigns, movie screenings, fundraisers; advocacy with members of Congress; guest speakers; and initiating a campus conversation on women’s empowerment.

Don’t miss out on meeting our Violet Richardson Award winner, Fidelity Ballmer and hearing her speak on the Girl Up campaign. If you are interested in attending this meeting please call Sandy Masiel at 805-278-3607 to RSVP by Monday, August 22. The cost is $15.

Soroptimist of Ventura Celebrates 85th Anniversary, Honors Long-time Members and Awards Scholarships

web_SIV.85th.longtime.member.honorees
Long-time members from SI Ventura were honored at the 85th Anniversary/Scholarship Awards Celebration by President Kay Armstrong. (middle with microphone) Members include: (L to R) Dorothy Prairie, Donna Nelson, Sandy Masiel, Garnet Carroll, Dolores Taylor and Arlene Briggle. Not shown are Dixie Adeniran, Liz Heaton Brown and Lynn Jacobs.

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!

The 38th Annual Camino Real Region Spring Conference is May 13-15, 2016

web2_2016spring.conference.graphicPlease join the Soroptimist Camino Real Region on May 13-15, 2016 at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel at the annual Spring Conference.  The Region Board and Spring Conference Committee have been busy creating a fabulous experience specifically for you!  Spring Conference is designed to recognize the work, members, and what has been done collectively to carry out the vision and mission of Soroptimist.     

We will see a return of Club photos, Women’s Health Related workshops in the morning and the Leadership Academy in the afternoon.  The Dreams on Parade is Friday night where each clubs creative banners are on display. Governor Elect Ginger Cole will be installed on Saturday evening with a Mardi Gras themed celebration so put on your glitz and glamour for this.

SIA Federation Director, Beverly Bucur, will be a special guest during the Conference. The speakers for Friday and Saturday lunch will inspire as well as call on you to be the catalyst for change in a positive fun way.  The week-end will be filled much shopping, education, region updates and lots of celebration!

The Call to Conference, agenda and pertinent forms are available here on the Camino Real Region website for your convenience.

Soroptimist International of Ventura Announces 85th Anniversary & Awards Event

web_85th-anniversary-flier.mar2016

When:

April 16, 2016, at 11:30 a.m.

Where:

Wyndham Garden Ventura Pierpont Inn
550 Sanjon Road, Ventura, CA 93001

What:

Luncheon, Longtime Member Recognition, Scholarship Awards and Silent Auction

Cost:

$30 per person

RSVP:

April 4 to Cyndi Damron at 805-216-4728

Tickets:

Deadline: April 4
May be bought online at: www.soroptimistventura.eventbrite.com
Or checks made out to SI Ventura may be mailed to: P.O. Box 6133, Ventura, CA 93006

Menu choices:

Chicken, beef or vegetarian.
Please provide choice when registering or purchasing tickets at www.soroptimistventura.eventbrite.com.

We are also looking for sponsors and silent auction donations to make our event a success. For more information about our the various levels, go to www.soroptimistventura.org. To become a sponsor or to donate a silent auction item, please contact Cyndi Damron at 805-216-4728. All contributions are greatly appreciated.

Soroptimists raise funds throughout the year for scholarship awards and to provide additional grants to local community organizations serving women and girls.

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.

The Live Your Dream award is dedicated to women who are heads of household and need to further their skills, education or training to support their families.

STOP Human Trafficking & Sexual Slavery Annual Event – March 9, 2016

fb.stop.human.trafficking.event.2016Soroptimist International of Ventura joins with Oxnard, Camarillo, The Conejo, Santa Barbara and Simi Valley SI clubs to present the ninth annual Stop Human Trafficking and Sexual Slavery Annual Event on March 9, 2016 at the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura. This event includes an Awareness Walk followed by a speaking panel of experts from social service agencies, government, and law enforcement.

The Awareness Walk starts at 4:30 p.m., and the Panel begins at 6:00 p.m. Speakers for the panel include:

  • Shannon Sergey, Founder of Forever Found 
  • Von Nguyen, Santa Barbara Deputy District Attorney
  • Judith Porter, Deputy Sheriff, Ventura County Special Unit
  • Megan Riker-Rhineschild, Santa Barbara Human Trafficking Task Force

This event helps raise awareness about this rapidly growing problem in Ventura County, the state of California, our country and throughout the world. Anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises. We are working on education, advocacy and involvement.

This year’s event is being sponsored by the County Board of Supervisors. For questions about the event please call Debbie Gohlke at 805-320-5215.