Soroptimists Award $15,000 to Three Local Women at Live Your Dream Gala


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.

PHOTO ATTACHED CAPTION: Members and supporters enjoying the Soroptimist Live Your Dreams Awards Gala reception at the Vista Optimist Club. L-R: Catherine Manis, Nelly Jarrous, Sandy Garcia, Jackie Piro Huyck and Jody Haddon. About 130 guests attended and the event raised over $12,000. The club handed out $15,000 in scholarship grants to the three award recipients. See

More photos of the event are viewable on SI-Vista’s online photo site at


Working in 21 countries and territories, Soroptimists nationally and worldwide economically empower women and girls who have been disadvantaged by poverty, violence, homelessness, addiction, teen poverty or other circumstances. Through our Dream Programs, Soroptimist provides these women and girls with access to the education and skills training they need to reach their full potential and live their dreams.


Soroptimist International of Vista and North County Inland was chartered on March 23, 1953. Our members make a difference in our community through our annual Live Your Dream Program (educational awards to qualifying women), Our “Dream It Be It” mentoring sessions for teenage girls, and our efforts to raise awareness about issues affecting women and girls, such as domestic violence, homelessness and human trafficking. Funds are raised through our annual Salad Luncheon for the public, Casino Night, Scrip, and other club and personal fundraising projects.


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