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Dream It, Be It: Soroptimist Instills Success For Girls

OAKHURST — It was a landmark day for local girls and women as Soroptimist International of The Sierras held their 3rd Annual ‘Dream It – Be It’ Career Conference on at the Oakhurst Community Center, with more than 60 registered from 8th to 12th grade for the free all day event.

“The positive response to this year’s Dream It, Be It program far surpassed our expectations,” says Michele Shockley, Chair for “Dream It Be It.

“We had both an increase in community support and a record number of girls registering to attend, right up to the day of the event. And for several girls, this was their second or third time attending. Every year the event gets bigger, and we are already making plans to make next year’s even better!”

A framed group photo and goody bags were given to each girl in attendance, who also created dream boards and won prizes for their various efforts throughout the day. Key activities included learning a new hip hop dance, fun games, and listening intently inspirational speakers who shared their life stories and the paths they took to reach their chosen careers.

“I feel privileged to be a part of this program which impacts the lives of so many young women in our community,” says Club President Joelle Leder Rule. “This event gave them opportunities to ask questions, build confidence, make new friends and mentors for a lifetime. One of our speakers, Dr. Barker, received a high school scholarship and is now working in our community. She thanks the Soroptimist International organization for the confidence and that we believed in her.”

Speakers and topics included:

  • Kaci Lutz, California Highway Patrol Office: Rising Above Obstacles
  • Rebecca Brokaw, Yosemite High School Teacher: Creating Achievable Goals
  • Dr. Janae Barker, Camarena Health Pediatrician in Oakhurst: Turning Failure into Success
  • Sherri Stegge, Kaiser Permanente Director of Human Resources: Exploring Careers
  • Jennifer Janine, Golden Chain Theatre Artistic Creator: Balancing Your Stress
  • Elseana Skowronski, Yosemite Dance Company: Dance Routine

“Some of the young girls from my clinic who attended were definitely impacted by this conference,” notes Dr. Barker. “Some of them come from very challenging home lives. I saw them gain confidence and speak up to answer questions. They met new people and got out of the comfort zones. The Soroptimist women, mentors, and speakers from this event are making a positive impact in changing lives for our community.”

Sponsors and donors for the event included Pizza Factory (Oakhurst), Ameriprise Financial – Nemeth & Petrushkin, Kaiser Permanente, Branches Books & Gifts, Round Table Pizza, Joelle Leder Photography, and Camarena Health. Photos courtesy of Joelle Leder Photography.

Soroptimist International of The Sierras is a local service club and part of Soroptimist International of the Americas ( Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment. Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its two major programs including “Dream It Be It Career Conference” and “Live Your Dream College Grants” for women.

For more information about Soroptimist International of The Sierras, contact Club President Joelle Leder Rule at or on Facebook.



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