Our Club has launched its search for applicants for its 2024 “Live Your Dream” awards program.

Click on the “Live Your Dream” logo on the Home Page to apply.

Live Your Dream Winners Honored

Four of our five Live Your Dream winners were presented with checks and certificates of congratulations from various elected officials at an awards ceremony on March 28 at the United Way of Santa Cruz County. One winner was unable to attend due to a death her family and will be honored at the April Club meeting.

Here are the winners and their stories:

  • Amanda, 28, is the divorced mother of two children, 11 and 2 years old, both of whom have special needs. She is currently a nursing student at Cabrillo College. Nursing runs in her family—her great grandmother, grandmother, an uncle and an aunt, are or were nurses. “I want to be able to give my children more opportunities and help families in need one day—people like me,” she wrote in her application. “I am a single mother, but I don’t want my kids to think anything can stop you from pursuing your dreams.”
  • Tammi, 52, calls herself a late bloomer who never had career goals as a young woman. But when her now 11-year-old daughter was born, her point of view changed significantly. She is pursuing a business training certificate program, which she believes will give her greater career opportunities. “By going back to school, I can really see how pushing myself is bringing up my self-esteem,” she said. “Having job security is something I strive for and I want my daughter to see the hard work that goes into achieving a dream.”
  • Renee, 39, has a 10-year-old son, and is pursuing an Associates Degree in Human Services at Cabrillo College in the hope of helping others make changes in their lives and find resources and services they need to thrive. “Being a first generation college graduate means everything to my son and me,” she wrote. “I really want to show him how important education is while also building a stable future for us.”
  • For Nanci, 27, working full-time, taking liberal arts with communication classes part-time at Cabrillo College and raising her 9-year-old daughter alone are serious challenges But, she is not deterred. “My dream is to become a lawyer one day and help as many people by continuing my school journey,” she wrote in her LYD application. “…receiving my associates degree will allow me to qualify to apply to law school and achieve my dream,” she added.
  • Similarly, Camilia, 35, mother of a 5-and-a-7 year-old, had been working full-time and raising her two children while attending Cabrillo College’s nursing program, until the contract under which she was working expired. Since then she has exhausted her savings, receives no child support, is looking for work and is unsure how she will continue her educational pursuit. “I am in the second semester of the four-semester program,” she wrote. “My savings has carried us through the first semester of nursing school, but that has run out. I live in a very expensive area and am struggling to find ways to pay for my bills while attending the program.”

Live Your Dream Journeys: Where are they now…

Live Your Dream (LYD) recipients are tenacious survivors who have overcome huge odds to become independent and financially empowered. Their LYD awards are designed to keep them on their path toward completion of their BA or technical training programs.

All are single moms (or were when they received their awards) with young children. As part of our Beyond the Cash Award program, our club members, Alison McClure and Susan Steely, created a Holiday Giving Event. It’s asking members, their friends and clients to “play Santa” to the children of our 2021 and 2022 LYD winners. The LYD moms are providing wish lists and Steely is sharing them with members, friends and clients who are shopping till they drop to make those wishes come true.

Here are testimonials from previous Live Your Dream winners:

“I greatly appreciate the Live Your Dream award for so many reasons, not only for the financial stability but all of the unforeseen blessings that followed. The amazing ladies at Soroptimist gave me a special gift by lifting me up and celebrating me for my courage and strength to start my life over as a newly single mother in recovery and as a student at Cabrillo. Today my son and I are thriving in Santa Cruz; I transferred to UCSC (during the pandemic) and majoring in Community Studies. Any chance I get to pay things forward to the less fortunate, I take advantage of because I know how special I felt when I received the Live Your Dream award.” — Jamie S., 2019 Live Your Dream winner

“Having the honor of meeting my local Soroptimists was the greatest reward after achieving the Live Your Dream award. They are an amazing group of kind, resourceful, and supportive women who encourage other women to conquer their dreams and goals. The grant was also extremely helpful to my children and I so that we could get by with our basic needs and so mom can continue to step up to the plate and tackle her educational and career goals. Thank You Soroptimists! My children and I are forever grateful!” — Mary D., 2022 Live Your Dream Winner

“When I became the winner of the live your dream award, not only did it help me tremendously financially, but it gave me the hope and acknowledgment I needed to feel confident that this is the path I am supposed to be on and that living my dream is possible. Thank you Capitola Soroptimist’s for aiding me on my path to living my dream!” — Gigi M., 2022 Live Your Dream Winner


Dream It, Be It

The Dream It, Be It: Career Success for Girls program will help girls grow up to be strong, successful, happy adults. This program targets girls in secondary school who face obstacles to their future success. It provides girls with access to professional role models, career education and the resources to live their dreams.

Soroptimist clubs work in partnership with girls in small groups or a conference setting to provide them with the information and resources they want and need to be successful. The topics covered include career opportunities, setting and achieving goals, overcoming obstacles to success and how to move forward after setbacks or failures.

Other Soroptimist of Capitola-by-the-Sea Programs

Stop Human Trafficking—our club partners with the Santa Cruz Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW-SCC) to raise awareness of sex trafficking locally and around the world through workshops and other special events. Online Community

LYDLogoFinalCircleLIGHTorange is an online activist network community of people who wish to support woman and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives. Anyone can sign up, members and non-members!

Check out the YouTube video below, then choose your cause and course of action based on how much time or resources you have to give (e.g., donate, share, pledge, advocate, take action offline).

Sign up today on the website, and become part of a self-motivated online volunteer and activist network that offers flexible advocacy and action opportunities to improve the lives of women and girls and help them live their dreams!

For inspiring articles, personal stories, tips and resources on education, career, finance and lifestyle, visit the blog.

See more exciting fund-raising news on our fund-raising page!