Soroptimist International of Clovis Celebrate 2021 Graduates

Avery (top) and DJ (bottom) visit Elle Style Bar in preparation for graduation, then, the big day. (Courtesy of Linda Gillis and Lesley Chance)

Despite the challenges faced due to Covid-19 restrictions, Soroptimist International of Clovis (SI Clovis) was determined to continue to reach high school girls in their community through the Dream It, Be It (DIBI): Career Support for Girls Program. It was more important than ever to provide support and hope to girls facing a wide variety of challenges.

Through relationships previously established with the Clovis Unified School District and San Joaquin Memorial High School, SI Clovis recruited ten girls to participate in a hybrid DIBI program. The event was presented over a span of five weeks via Zoom and at socially distanced meetings at a local park.

SI Clovis club members and guest speakers presented the DIBI curriculum. Tools such as setting goals, overcoming obstacles, exploring careers, and self-care provided resources for success. In addition, emphasis was placed on how each girl could be a future student facilitator at the next in-person DIBI.

SI Clovis offered ongoing mentoring once the DIBI event concluded.

They worked with the CUSD Transition Team for Alternative Education High School Programs to support girls who face additional challenges and may be homeless or in foster care.

The culminating highlight of this challenging year was in partnership with Elle Style Bar in Old Town. Two senior girls living in group homes had their hair styled and makeup was done for their graduation from Gateway High School on May 28th, 2021.

Avery, born in Russia, was adopted and brought to the USA when she was three years old. She entered the foster system when she was thirteen.

After finding out she was pregnant, she moved to a group home and entered Gateway High School in January. Determined to graduate on time, she completed 70 credits and was awarded a scholarship for her hard work.  Avery will be attending Fresno City College to become a radiology technician after welcoming her baby in August. 

DJ is registered at Fresno City College and will pursue a career related to the medical field. When asked about her journey this year, she eloquently replied, “Stars are only visible in darkness. You need to see the light to achieve great things.  I did that by believing I could.”

SI Clovis extends congratulations to Avery and DJ, who overcame huge obstacles and demonstrated tremendous resolve to achieve their goals. 

Soroptimist International of Clovis is the local branch of Soroptimist International. This global volunteer organization provides women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.

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