November 2015
Issue: 26
Soroptiviews masthead
SI Ventura Learns about a New
Non-profit, Step Up Ventura
(L to R) Mary Kerrigan, Executive Director of Step Up Ventura, Lorie Balzer and Kay Armstrong.
We were pleased to welcome Mary Kerrigan, Executive Director of Step Up Ventura, as the speaker at our Program Meeting on October 28.  Step Up Ventura is a non-profit organization with a mission to stop the cycle of homelessness and trauma, strengthen parent-child relation-
ships, and promote the well-being of homeless children and their families by providing attachment-based, trauma-informed all day therapeutic infant and toddler care and preschool for homeless children aged zero through five.
The program is still in its start-up phase and has many needs, though much progress has been made. The intention is to open in February of 2016 with an initial enrollment of 12 children. The program will run from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., 12 months a year. The cost per child is $1,000 and while they have been very successful in their fund raising efforts, $50,000 is still needed to open the program. They are actively pursuing grants and federal funding as well as soliciting private donations and business sponsors.
With a significant population of homelessness in our community, programs such as Step Up Ventura can have an enormous impact on assuring children have a chance to develop, grow and become contributing citizens of the community. Parental involvement is required so parents can learn to understand and care for their children. This program will be free of charge for the participants.

There are many ways you can help this important program get off the ground. Please visit Step Up Ventura to see how you can get involved.  
Empowering Young Women's Economic Success

(L to R) Ann Hewitt, Cyndi Damron, Cindy Daly and Sherri Tarpchinoff Bennett
On Saturday, Oct. 24, Soroptimist of Ventura was privileged to participate in WOMENTUM!, which was co-presented by the Ventura County Women's Economic Roundtable and the Young Women's Advisory Council. The event was sponsored by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors.
WOMENTUM! was a free conference for young women aged 15-25 yeas old. It was designed to pave roads to empowerment and pay equity.  It included inspiring speakers, such as Eliana Murillo, head of Multicultural Marketing at Google Inc. who spoke about roads to empowerment. This included self esteem, confidence and acceptance. She also spoke about social media opportunities and pitfalls, building personal brands and educational pathways.
(L to R) Cindy Daly, Peggy Ruesink, Ann Hewitt, Cyndi Damron and Sherri Tarpchinoff Bennett at the Selfie Station.
In addition, WOMENTUM! also included networking roundtables and plenary panels with women CEOs, Presidents, VPs, Directors and emerging leaders from Ventura County.
Soroptimist Ventura participated in the Asset Marketplace. We displayed information about our club and the scholarships we give out each year. We were able to connect with women and girls. All of the Soroptimists that participated will agree, we were inspired and awed by the women presenters and speakers at the event. We look forward to participating again next year.
SI Ventura Volunteers Read to Kids 

Ventura Soroptimists participated in a children's reading program at Snapdragon Place in east Ventura on Thursday, October 29.

Volunteers, including Karen, Kellye, Lorie and Shirley, read and created works of chalk art with the children.  

This is part of a program by the Ventura County Library system.  They will provide a small library for the community room and teach parents how to read to children.  Snapdragon Place, at 11094 Snapdragon Street, Ventura, includes 28 affordable apartments, most for farmworkers, was developed by and is owned and managed by Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation, where Karen Flock is the Real Estate Development Director.
Join Membership at the Painted Cabernet for a Human Trafficking Awareness Fundraiser

Come and paint like Picasso.  
Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 6 p.m.
$50 includes glass of wine, snacks, canvas, paint supplies and instruction to create this Picasso knockoff!

Click here to register: Under group name please reference Soroptimist Ventura so that we will all sit and create together. This event is open to the public so invite your friends and family.

Contact Trevor with questions or more information: 805-625-2402 or email:  
Why Not Use Amazon Smile for all your Holiday Shopping Needs?
What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to our Soroptimist International of Ventura.

How do I select a charitable organization to support when shopping on AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to AmazonSmile ( ), you need to select Soroptimist International of Ventura to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at will result in a donation.

How much of my purchase does Amazon donate?
The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes, or service charges. From time to time, there may be special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations.

AmazonSmile Donations to Charitable Organizations
100% of the donation amount generated from your eligible purchase on AmazonSmile will be donated. The donation amounts generated by your purchases are combined with the donation amounts from all other customers that selected the same organization, and each quarter the AmazonSmile Foundation makes donations to registered charitable organizations by electronic funds transfer. Donations are generally transferred approximately 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter.

Please tell all your family and friends to choose Soroptimist International of Ventura to support in their Amazon online purchases through the AmazonSmile program.
Applications for the 
Live Your Dream
Scholarship are Due Nov. 15, 2015
The Violet Richardson Award Application Deadline is
Jan. 15, 2016

Applications and information about Live Your Dream (formerly called the Women's Opportunity Award)
and the Violet Richardson Award are now available on our website at

Live Your Dream is a scholarship awarded to a local woman who is the primary wage earner in her family to assist with meeting career/educational goals.  Click here to download the application.   
Live Your Dream also requires two reference forms.  Click here to download the reference form.

The deadline for the
Live Your Dream application is
November 15, 2015

The Violet Richardson Award is a scholarship awarded to a local young woman, age 14-17, recognizing her commitment to the betterment of our community through her volunteer efforts. This scholarship is shared with the volunteer organization she has volunteered for. Click here to download the application.

The deadline for the Violet Richardson Award application is January 15, 2016.

The minimal award to be given is $1500 per winner. Completed applications and reference forms can be emailed to or mailed to Sherri Tarpchinoff Bennett, PO Box 6133, Ventura, CA 93006. For questions, please contact Sherri at 805-910-9620.
Kay Armstrong of SIV Receives Proclamation from City of Ventura

On Oct. 12 the City of Ventura presented Kay Armstrong, President of Soroptimist International of Ventura and the Camino Real Region with a Joint Proclamation declaring the month of October as "Breast Cancer Awareness Month" and November as "Domestic Violence Prevention Month." They acknowledged the region-wide campaign  to end domestic violence called Color Me Pink and Purple.   

This was Kay's first foray to a City of Ventura council meeting and she was impressed as she entered the old City Hall and the council chamber. She was accompanied by fellow Soroptimist Karen Flock who joined her in accepting the Proclamation.
Update from Our Recipient of 
the Woods/Nagel Scholarship - 
Avalon Elliott   

On Tuesday, October 20, 2015, Lorie Balzer received the following update from Avalon Elliott, recipient of our Woods/Nagel scholarship.

Subject:      VCCF Scholarship Recipient Update
From:          Avalon Elliott (aelliott@dons.usfcaedu)
Date:           Tuesday, October 20, 2015 3:10 PM
Dear Lorie and Soroptimist Club,
Now that I am two months into my college experience, I am excited to update you on my progress thus far. I am currently enrolled in human physiology, art appreciation, nursing in the Jesuit tradition, and Martin Baro Scholars (MBS). In MBS, there are only 16 people in our classes for rhetoric and literature and we do projects in the community that focus on poverty and social justice. In the MBS class, we just finished a neighborhood case study in which I studied The Fillmore and Western Addition for about a month. After research was finished, I wrote a 15 page research paper and presented about the history, progress, and culture in the neighborhood. I am really enjoying my scholars program, but my favorite class so far is physiology because I am able to see exactly how the subject is leading me into my nursing classes and career.
Other than academics, I recently joined the Students For Cancer Awareness Club and Nursing Student Association, and I am excited to start my new job as a tutor for Families and Youth in Transition (FYIT). The focus in FYIT and in my tutoring is on homeless students anywhere from elementary school to high school.
Although I find myself studying most of the time, I have made myself a goal to discover something new in the city once a week. Whether that be a new running trail or a local coffee shop, I have been able to discover a new sense of open-mindedness and adventure in myself.
All in all, I am beginning to settle into my new life here in San Francisco, but I can't wait to visit home for six weeks during my winter break!
I think about the opportunity you have given me through VCCF often, as I would not be where I am today without your club. I am so thankful for your support as I move through my undergraduate nursing curriculum.
Avalon Elliott
PS: I would love to hear from any members with suggestions for fun places to check out in San Francisco!
Soroptimist International Survey 

Soroptimist logo
We, as club members, have been asked to 
participate in a conversation around the future of Soroptimist. Kay sent an email containing a discussion quide and survey that we will go over at the business meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11. The discussion guide explains what we are trying to do as an organization to create another outstanding 100 years. It also introduces the concept of a big goal and asks for the club's help in defining our organization-wide big goal. 

Please read and reflect on the discussion guide and be prepared to discuss the questions listed toward the end of the guide on Wednesday. Be prepared to share your ideas about how we can grow our organization-wide collective impact to help more women and girls achieve their goals and live their dreams.   
Advertise in Our E-Newsletter and Help Support Our Community Service Fund
For a donation of $100 to our community service fund, we will advertise your business in our e-newsletter every month for a year. That is a $20 dollar savings over the monthly rate of of $10 per month. 
Or, donate $50 to our community service fund and we will advertise your business in our e-newsletter every month for six months. 
Mail your donation check to:  Soroptimist, P.O.Box 6133, Ventura, CA 93066 -- Include your ad information and email contact -- or contact us at We will contact you to finalize the ad copy.

2015 Pledge & Inspiration Schedule 


November 11 Meeting: 

Pledge - Pam Pecarich     

Inspiration - Lorie Balzer    

December 9 Mee

Pledge - Cindy Daly       

Inspiration - Trevor Summerlin  


Please email Karen Flock at if you would like to lead the pledge or inspire us at a meeting. 
Soroptimist logo
November 11 - Business Meeting - Noon

November 11 - Human Trafficking Awareness Fundraiser - 6 pm
The Painted Cabernet
630 Collection Blvd., Oxnard
December 9 - Holiday Celebration & Gift Exchange - Noon

March 9 - Stop Human Trafficking Event
Ventura County Government Center

April 16 - Scholarship Awards/85 Celebration 
Pierpont Inn, Ventura 
SIV's Holiday Celebration is on Dec. 9th
We will be celebrating the season and having a gift exchange at our December 9 meeting. Anyone interested in participating in the gift exchange should bring a wrapped gift worth $20. 

Reminder - We will not be holding Program Meetings for the months of November and December. 

2016 Axxess Books are Now Available

The 2016 Axxess Books are now available for $30.

If you are interested in either selling the books or buying a book for yourself, please contact Lorie Balzer for details and more information at 805-443-8757 or email her
Save the Date
Scholarship Awards Lunch and 85th Celebration

April 16, 2016
Pierpont Inn, Ventura
Please plan on attending this special event and bring a guest or two!  Help celebrate our Scholarship Awards winners and our Club's 85th Birthday.

There will also be a silent auction so that we may continue supporting our efforts to help women and girls in our community. 
If you would like to help plan this event or to donate an item for our silent auction, please contact Cyndi Damron at 216-4728 or email her at
More information will follow. 
"Small but mighty?"  

On the mighty side we have accomplished much in the last month.

WOMENTUM! - Thanks to Cindy for organizing this event for us (and to Gina for inviting us!) and for all who attended: Ann, Cindy, Cyndi, Peggy, Sherri and Sherry. I thought it was an amazing event and I am glad we were there.

Snapdragon Place Reading Event - Thanks to Karen for organizing this hands on project and to those who were able to attend: Karen, Kellye, Lorie and Shirley. I think we all enjoyed the children and learning about our library's outreach to the community.

Direct Mail Fundraiser - Thanks to all who participated in organizing and licking many envelopes: Cindy, Cyndi, Kellye and Pam.

Life Skills - Thanks to Lorie for all the work she does to make this an empowering event for women at the Salvation Army. Thanks also to those of us who were able to attend the meetings: Cyndi, Sherri and Roseandra. There were only a few women at the center who made it through but our putting ourselves out there to help is really "having their backs." 

On the small side Thank you all who were able to attend our meetings this month. Several of you were on vacations and we missed you! I am grateful for each one of you and thankful that our club is out there for women and girls.

Kay Armstrong 
SI Ventura 2015-2016  

SIV to Help Provide Food for Holiday Meal Baskets 

We have committed to helping Project Understanding provide Thanksgiving Baskets to local families in need. Please bring your items to the Business Meeting on Nov. 11. See list below for the item you signed up for.
  • $10 grocery gift card for a meat of their choice or a frozen turkey or ham
  • Box of mashed potatoes or bag of fresh potatoes
  • Gravy mix or jar of gravy
  • Canned yams & small bag marshmallows
  • 1 pound butter
  • Box of stuffing
  • 2-3 cans vegetables
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Pre-made pie (pumpkin or apple) or items to make ie. pumpkin pie mix, cond. milk & crust
  • Bag of rolls or bread item
Anne Hewitt
Cranberry Sauce
Sherri Bennett
Cindy Daly
Canned Veggies
Pam Pecarich
Mashed Potatoes
Pam Pecarich
Gift Card
Kay Armstrong
Gift Card
Trevor Summerlin
Rolls & 
Shirley Lorraine
Penny Jarecke
Gift Card
Sandy Maisel
Yams & Marshmallows
Karen Flock
Gift Card
Lorie Balzer
Cranberry Sauce
Lorie Balzer
Gift Card

Contact Lorie Balzer for
more information at 805-443-8757.

Lynn Jacobs 11/19
Pam Pecarich 11/11
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805-647-1554 or
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Club Meetings
  • 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month
  • Luncheon Meeting at 12 noon
  • Ventura Beach Marriott Hotel, 2055 Harbor Blvd., Ventura