Soroptimist International of Long Beach held its
Fifteenth Annual Scholarship Luncheon
On May 6, 2023, Soroptimist International of Long Beach (SILB) held its Fifteenth Annual Scholarship Luncheon. SILB’s annual philanthropic commitment culminated in the awarding of $13,500 to local individuals who are pursuing their dreams and educational goals. All who attended were inspired by the awardees’ stories of overcoming obstacles of poverty, violence, and loss.
The afternoon began with a welcome from co-President Margo Wheeler. She welcomed invited dignitary Camino Real Region Governor and Soroptimist of Los Angeles member Lola Abrahamian. Lunch followed with the following awards announced.
Dr. Katherine White Achievement Award. This award is given to a previous SILB scholarship recipient. The award honors the memory of Dr. Katherine White, a dedicated leader in SILB for 43 years, and is made possible by a generous donation from Dr. White’s family. This year’s award was matched by SI Long Beach and made it possible to gift two awardees. Diane DeWalsche presented this year’s awards Deanna and Cholena.
Deanna received a Live Your Dream award in 2022 while working on education and working full-time. She has completed her 336 hours of education in Alcohol and Drug Studies at California Consortium of Addiction Programs (CCAPP) Academy and her 3,000 hours of related work. She can now take the exam to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Deanna works with a non-profit organization assisting the homeless and has returned to school at Long Beach City College. Her long-term goal is to add a degree in Social Work to her counseling certification.
Cholena was the proud winner of a 2022 Live Your Dream award, along with several other awards from Long Beach City College. She has completed her Vocational Nurse training at LBCC and is also certified in English/Spanish bilingual translation. Currently, Cholena is enrolled in the Compton College Registered Nursing program. Her long-term goal is to complete her AA in nursing and then transfer to Dominguez Hills University to earn her bachelor’s degree. While completing her education, she also works in the Recuperative Care field to gain clinical experience.
Women & Philanthropy. Women & Philanthropy at California State University, Long Beach seeks to inspire women to support the university and recognize the innumerable contributions women make to campus. All funds raised through member contributions are used for student scholarships in the categories of research, creative activity, and re-entry students.
Lori Brault introduced Jan Kellogg, who represented CSU Long Beach’s Women & Philanthropy. Lori presented the Scholarship Awardee, Alondra, who graduated from Elsinore High School in 2013. Several universities accepted her.
She is the youngest of four children born to immigrant parents. She was the first of her family to express an interest in a university degree. When she was just 13 years old, her father was deported. Her mother then had to care for herself and the family. It was a difficult time. Then two years later, her mother was deported, and soon Alondra had to support her family. The opportunity to attend college was then essentially revoked because she was deemed a “dependent person with no proof of income” and, therefore, not qualified for Financial Aid. At age 24, Alondra finally qualified for Financial Aid as “an independent student.” She continues working full-time while being a full-time student.
As she promised, “she kept the faith” that one day she would go to university. Alondra is now studying Mathematical Economics and Economic Theory at CSULB while maintaining a 3.8-grade point average. She received the honor of being placed on the President’s List for “Highest Grade Achievement” in the Fall of 2022. She has also been invited to join Honor Societies in Community College and at CSULB’s Omicron Delta Epsilon. She plans to graduate in Fall 2023.
Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards. The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Award provides a monetary award for women who are the primary wage earners in their families and are pursuing education and/or career training. There were five winners selected, Pamela, Keyanna, Doshima, Sara, and Alisha. Alison Reid presented three of the winners who were present with their awards.
The First place Live Your Dream winner, Pamela, a mother of two, is currently a student at Long Beach City College with the goal of enrolling in Cal State University Long Beach next fall and pursuing a career in social work. She has worked in healthcare and recognizes the need many patients have for assistance in navigating the healthcare systems. Pamela works, volunteers, and is raising two children, all while attending school.
Keyanna attended with her daughter, Kamiko. Keyanna is currently a student at El Camino College with the goal of enrolling in Cal State University Long Beach to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. Keyanna balances a busy life working, attending school, and raising her daughter as a single mom.
Doshima is attending Cal State University Long Beach, majoring in Theater Arts. She is an actor, singer, dancer, and model. Her goal is to complete her education and perform on Broadway. Doshima lost her mother recently and assumed guardianship for her younger brother. She works hard to balance a very time-consuming educational goal with new responsibilities at home.
Sara attends American Career College with the goal of becoming a nurse. She believes healthcare is not just a job, but a dedication to work with others to create the best care possible for her patients. Sara balances work, school, and personal responsibilities with perseverance and enthusiasm.
Alisha attends Long Beach City College, majoring in Addiction Studies. While overcoming multiple hardships, she has set the goal of completing college and using her education to help others. Alisha manages to focus on her education while working and taking care of others around her. Her instructor calls her an “inspiration to us all.”
Overall, SILB awarded $17,500 in educational awards and scholarships this year; $3,000 for Women & Philanthropy Scholarship at CSULB; $10,500 to the Dr. Katherine White and Live Your Dream Awards; and $4,000 to be awarded to LBCC students.
At the end of the luncheon, Victoria Wang, Co-President, presented several awards to SILB members, including a 50-year service pin to Nancy Hegelheimer, a 35-year service pin to Donna Skinner, and a 15-year service pin to returning member Erin Holloway.