August 2016
Issue: 35
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2016 Violet Richardson Award Winner, Fidelity Ballmer, to Speak at August 24 Program Meeting
Fidelity 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.
iEmpathize - The Empowerment Youth Program for Teens

By Kay Armstrong

On July 16, I attended a 3 hour presentation of iEmpathize. This presentation focused on The Empower Youth Program for Teens and was sponsored by Forever Found.

While an overview of sex trafficking was presented, the content was more focused on how to give youth the tools to prevent victimization.
I found aspects of this to be profound. Three main responses were described by people to harrowing events: apathy, sympathy and empathy. The latter is the only one which involves action "toward".

This program is geared to teaching aspects of empathy while also providing tools to teens to protect themselves and others from exploitation.

It consists of 5 modules each of which contains short video clips, group activity and exploratory questions.

The videos are geared to youth and provided by youth and therefore find resonance with youth. The activities that I participated in were meant to tap inward awareness of self and others as were the questions presented for discussion.

I think this is an excellent program. For further information and resources please go to
July 27 Lunch Meeting Featured Fundraising Planning  

Shirley Lorraine, Vice President and fundraising chair, led a discussion at the July 27 Program meeting focusing on fundraising ideas and efforts for our 2016 - 2017 year.  
All ideas were welcomed and as a general discussion ensued, the following thoughts emerged: 

Low-key with minimal effort
Book sales to occur at business meetings
Mini auctions - to continue
Amazon Smile - to continue
Axxess book sales - to continue 
Fining at business meetings - to continue with a new name 
Vendors - consider doing again
Mixed Bags

Most discussed
Wine mixers with craft 
Brewery mixer

High effort with high results
Annual Awards 
Direct Mail   

Please continue to submit ideas to Shirley or anyone on the board, or bring them up at any business meeting. Is there something new we should try? Remember, fundraising is an effort for ALL members - the more we collect, the more good we can do for women and girls in our community. 

Shirley Lorraine,  Vice President -  
VFA Co-Founder Lawrence Parkhill to Speak at the September 28 Program Meeting
Veteran 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 visit

Lynn Jacobs Memorial Fund -
Ventura County Housing Trust Fund

Friends of Lynn Jacobs,

The Ventura County Housing Trust Fund is privileged to honor the legacy of Lynn Jacobs with a Memorial Fund to benefit affordable housing development in our community.  

Lynn's lifelong passion for affordable housing was truly inspirational and impactful.  If you wish to make a donation in her name to the fund, the link is included below.  We will be providing a brief tribute to Lynn at our annual event on September 22.  

If you wish to participate in the event, you can find information about that on the VC Housing Trust Fund website.  Thank you.
Why Not Use Amazon Smile for your regular Shopping Needs? Try the Subscribe and Save Service.
Subscribe and Save is a subscription service that will automatically ship the products you purchase every 1, 2, 3, or 6 months.
Amazon gives you discounts on these items + free shipping and you can cancel at any time with no penalty. Subscribe and Save also gives you 15% off purchases when you add 5 or more items to your subscription plan for any month or 5% off for less than 5.

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.
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.
2016 Pledge & Inspiration Schedule 
August 10 Meeting: 
Pledge - Shirley Lorraine    
Inspiration - Karen Flock 
August 24 Meeting:
Pledge - Kellye Patterson 
- Trevor Summerlin 

Please email Cyndi Damron at  if you would like to lead the pledge or inspire us at a meeting. 
Soroptimist logo


August 10 - 
Business Meeting - 

August 24 - Program  
Meeting - Noon

September 14 - Business Meeting - 

September 28 - Program Meeting - 
Penny and DeDe to attend August 10 Business Meeting
Don't miss visiting with two long time SIV members who are making major location changes.

Penny Jarecke is moving to Connecticut and will come to say farewell. She will be bringing some items for us to auction at our meeting.

DeDe Taylor has already made the move to Bakersfield but will continue with our club when she is in town.  
Check out our new Website 

Fellow Soroptimists:

This month's message will be a short one. I'm at the end of a two week vacation, lakeside in Ontario, Canada. With the exception of a couple of trips into town, I've had no internet access and haven't heard a phone ring. Just the sounds of family laughing during the day and loons and owls at night. This is true respite.

Before vacation, I attended the SIA Americas Convention in Orlando, Florida. Twenty-eight women from our El Camino Region participated in this bi-annual event. In addition to great and inspiring presentations, I really appreciated the opportunity to meet Soroptimists from around the world. I'll provide a more thorough report in next month's newsletter.

The last time I visited Orlando I attended another convention on a very different topic: active aging. Remembering that earlier convention's theme, reflecting on the selfless dedication of the Soroptimists I know, and coming off my body and soul vacation, I have been thinking about self-care and voluntarism. Truthfully, I met people in Florida who were burning the candle at both ends and were about to give up. And if they weren't going to quit, their health might make their bodies quit.

Just a thought for SIV. In the sincerity of friendship, I promise to ask people to step up AND I promise to have honest conversations about volunteer overload. In this case, it starts with me!

Ann Hewitt 
SI Ventura 2016-2017   

Cindy Daly 8/5

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805-647-1554 or
email her at

Club Meetings
  • 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month
  • Luncheon Meeting at 12 noon
  • Ventura Beach Marriott Hotel, 2055 Harbor Blvd., Ventura