Soroptimist Cottage Tea Honors “Live Your Dream” Winners

Soroptimist members Sarah Donaldson and Irene Moreno congratulate May Pa SIA Vu, Stephanie Gomez, Rachel Lanseadal, Ariana Maciel, and Priscilla Munoz. (Photo by Joelle Leder-Rule)

Soroptimist International of Clovis celebrated their inspirational “Live Your Dream” ceremony on Saturday, April 9, 2022, at the Belmont Country Club. This year a record eleven women were honored.

This program recognizes and benefits women who are the primary provider for their family, have a financial need and are enrolled in or have been accepted to a vocational/skills training program or an undergraduate degree program.

Since 1972, the Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards program has disbursed more than $30 million to tens of thousands of women who have overcome poverty, domestic and sexual violence, divorce, the death of a spouse, or other life challenges. They are women who had the courage and determination to turn their lives around.

Recipients may use the cash award to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education, including books, childcare and transportation. The program begins on the club level, where amounts vary. Club recipients become eligible to receive region-level awards. The first place region award is $5,000.

During the 2022 Cottage Tea and Award event, guests heard poignant speeches from three of the recipients and had the chance to meet Miss Clovis and Miss Teen Clovis. Festivities included delicious food, a chic fashion show hosted by Nonnie’s House Boutique, and a fun hat contest. A raffle and door prize rounded out the activities.

First place winner, May Pa SIA Vue, mother of three and holding a full-time job, said, “I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t think I had a chance.” Ironically, she put down her application and decided not to apply, only later to complete and submit it.

Trafficked when she was younger, second place winner Stephanie Gomez told the audience, “I gave up on dreaming. When I got sober, I allowed myself to dream again. Never stop dreaming.” Gomez credits her faith for the changes in her life.

San Joaquin College of Law recipient Karen Lopez Pena said, “At a very young age, I had to grow up. Whatever it takes, I want to give my children a better life.”

Asked if she had advice for others who struggle, she said, “Keep fighting and do not be afraid to speak your truth. You shouldn’t be ashamed; whatever happened, happened for a reason. There are always good people.”

Clovis Soroptimist International is a worldwide volunteer organization that helps women and girls gain economic empowerment through education. Programs such as “Dream It, Be It” for girls, “Live Your Dream,” and “Furthering the Dream” for women award financial resources for continuing education. Deadlines and qualifications apply.

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