Capitola Soroptimists Announce Live Your Dream Award Winners

Soroptimist International of Capitola-by-the-Sea has selected three local women winners of 2020 Live Your Dream Awards. They will be honored at a ceremony on March 24 and each will be presented with a $2,000 cash award. 

The winners are Lorena Miller of Capitola, Celia Montesino of Santa Cruz and the third winner’s name is being withheld for her safety, also of Santa Cruz.

The Live Your Dream awards are given to women who are enrolled in or have been accepted into a BA or technical training program, are the heads of their households and have demonstrated a financial need.

Miller is a single mother of two and full-time student with the goal of becoming a surgical nurse. Unfortunately, she grew up with parents plagued by drug and alcohol addiction and suffered mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.

After escaping those circumstances, she began her pre-nursing classes, but suffers from a significant learning disability. That requires a tutor and extensive work outside the classroom including on weekends and during summer. 

“I know that my future as a surgical nurse will be the most beneficial and most rewarding job that I can do,” she wrote in her Live Your Dream essay. “I look forward to hands-on patient care, providing support and aiding in healing.”

Similarly, Montesino is a single parent raising two children, one of whom suffers from a learning disability. A first generation immigrant and college student, she is also a domestic violence survivor. 

“Studying offered me a new found comfort, I was able to escape into the realm of books and knowledge,” she wrote in her Live Your Dream application essay. “Whenever I learned something new, it made me feel competent, capable and most importantly—powerful.”

Currently enrolled in a Radiologic Technology program at Cabrillo College, she hopes to become a licensed Radiologic Technologist, but she also wants to be an educator as well as a beacon of hope, and an example to her children, single parents and abuse survivors.

The anonymous winner is the mother of two who is pursuing a degree in social work and has been able to maintain a 4.0 grade point average while raising her children, going to school full-time and working part-time.

“I want to work with women and mothers and help them to overcome difficulties and to enjoy their precious life,” she said in her Live Your Dream application essay.

Soroptimist International of Capitola-by-the-Sea is a global volunteer organization that provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. For more information follow us on Facebook, email us at or visit our website at