2020 Conference – Program

Federation Program Report

Live Your Dream

The Soroptimist Live Your Dream education and training award for women provides women who serve as the primary wage earners for their families with the resources to offset costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education or additional skills and training

Since the program’s inception in 1972 more the $30 million has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their dreams for a better life for themselves and their families.  This leads to stronger communities, nations and the world.

As the Sierra Nevada Region Live Your Dream coordinator, it has been my pleasure to work with all the clubs as they processed the many applicants received this year.

Each club obtained applicants from various sources, shared applicants with other clubs and worked together for the success we achieved this year.

All of you are to be congratulated for a tremendous year!  52 clubs awarded $118,600 to 86 women.  A record!  Our region received $20,000 for Federation to fund the 6 Region winner awards.

At the 2019 Conference, the Region Membership voted to create a new committee: Region Live Your Dream Committee. This Committee provided for the award of a 7th Live Your Dream awardee to receive $3,000 and also provided an additional $1,000 for each of the 7 awardees. Governor-Elect Sarah will speak more about the Region Live Your Dream program after the presentations of the awardees.

These recipients are contributing to their communities in so many ways as they serve as role models to others who may aspire to achieve their dreams as well.

We are honored to recognize 7 amazing young women who are living their dream of achieving their education.  Each one has shown strength and tenacity in the pursuit of a better life for herself and her family.

Live Your Dream Region Award Winners

IRENE ECHAVARRIA was selected by Soroptimist International Woodland as our New Sierra Nevada Region Special Award winner.  Irene is pursuing two associate degrees in Behavioral Science and Sociology.  She has overcome may obstacles and strives to be a positive role model for her family. 

ANGELICA ROJAS was selected by Soroptimist International Elk Grove.  Angelica is pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. 

LEE R. was selected by Soroptimist International Davis.  She is pursuing a degree in Studio Arts and eventually a graduate degree as a Certified Mental Health Therapist. 

VIOLET WARD was selected by Soroptimist International South Yuba.  Violet is pursuing associates degrees in Social Work and Behavioral Science.

EILEEN MARTINEZ was selected by Soroptimist International Reno.  Eileen is pursuing a degree in Theology and Psychology.

ALISON LYNCH was selected by Soroptimist International Cameron Park/El Dorado Hills.  Alison is pursuing a degree in Education.

ERICA STRITENBERGER – our Region Top Honoree– was selected by Soroptimist International Fallon.  Erica is pursuing a degree in Nursing.  As the Region’s top honoree, Erica will also be receiving a laptop to assist her in her studies.

Live Your Dream – New Region Program

Dream It Be It Report

2019 – 2020
22 clubs reported to SIA
4 other clubs contacted late to donate
Projected total clubs this year 26 (up 2 from last year)

As we move into a “new normal” let’s continue to think outside the box to present this amazing program to the young ladies in our communities. Zoom, one on one mentoring in calls or Facetime, etc.

Elaine Cassell
DIBI Coordinator 2018-2020

Region Ruby Award


Sierra Nevada Region is pleased to announce the Ruby Award winner for 2020. Ms. Tara Taylor, founder of Single Mom Strong in Citrus Heights, California. Ms. Taylor was nominated by Soroptimist International of Citrus Heights and was a keynote motivational speaker for their Dream It Be It Program for 2019.

Ms. Taylor’s, Single Mom Strong organization is a glowing example of the definition of the Ruby Award: a woman who has worked to improve the lives of women and girls, has had a significant impact on the lives of women and girls, and inspires and encourages other women both professionally and personally.

Ms.Taylor is the Founder and Executive Director of Single Mom Strong. Inspired by her experience raising her own daughter as a single mom and motivated by her strong conviction that anything can be accomplished with effort and determination, she has dedicated herself to developing and leading the organization.

Tara began her career in property management, quickly advancing to travel the country as the company’s Training Coordinator, then eventually a Regional Manager, at the age of twenty-five. She managed every type of property from mobile home parks to large, new-construction retail centers. Seeking a new challenge, she obtained her Real Estate Broker’s license and opened her own property management company as a single mother with a young daughter and a mortgage. She succeeded because she had to, she had her daughter to provide for, and because she believed she could.

Concurrently, she became co-owner of an alarm company, and went on to operate one of the largest security dealerships in the nation for several years. Tara served in several capacities on the Board of Directors for the Rental Housing Association and went on to advise a major security alarm monitoring company through her position on their Dealer Council. After a prosperous 20-year career, she switched gears, listened to her heart and found her purpose, in Single Mom Strong and her work as a life coach.

Tara’s greatest achievement is raising her daughter on her own. It is by far the hardest, most rewarding thing she has ever done or will ever do. She believed early on, as a career woman and parent, that single mothers and their children have choices. Being a single parent, or the child of a single parent, does not diminish them. Tara chooses to believe the contrary… that being “single mom strong”, having grit and determination and refusing to lose, does not have to be detrimental at all.

Tara worked hard to give her daughter all of the opportunities every child deserves, along with the support of a caring, loving extended family “community”. It was through this experience that the concept of Single Mom Strong was born. “Believe and achieve” is her mantra, and goal setting and accountability are her tools.

In her “spare time”, Tara coaches women’s boot camps, runs half-marathons and continuously advances her education. Tara earned an Associate’s degree from Sierra College, by taking one class at a time and studying each night after she put Desiree’ to bed. She is currently attending University of Laverne, finalizing her studies in Business Management. Her daughter Desiree’ is now also attending college, studying kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“Single Mom Strong’s mission is to empower single mothers and their children through enrichment, encouragement and educational programs. It takes a village to raise a child, and for single mothers, we are that village.”

Congratulations, to Ms. Tara Taylor and Single Mom Strong for being our 2020 Sierra Nevada Region Ruby Award recipient.

Louise Brown
Sierra Nevada Region
Ruby Award Coordinator

Stop Trafficking

California/Northern Nevada

So, here I am with a heart full of gratitude for all that you have done to help girls, and some boys too that have been victims of sex trafficking for the last 9 years. Yes, that’s how long we have been advocating for them, with your help and compassion!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for all that you have done!!

I started to write down all of the things, and realized that they are so numerous that I couldn’t do it. So, what I am asking you to do as you read this article is remember what you have done and hold that in your heart.

The latest is that we have a full clothes closet in Marshall Hospital in Placerville. Thanks to the help from Placerville Club. I realized that El Dorado County needed some attention. So, I needed to do something for them. I was attending an affair in Citrus Heights with Lane, and the Sheriff Diagostini from El Dorado County was there. I walked up to him in the middle of the room, don’t let him tell you I corned him. I gave him my card and my elevator speech, and he said “Monday I will have someone from my team contact you.”
So, on Monday morning one of his men contacted me and… we set up a time to meet.
We met at the Sheriff’s Department. I took a picture of my grandfather who was Chief Police of Placerville with me. You know, as long is it legal and ethical, I will do what is needed for the kids!

He had two of his men also meet with us and after a very congenial meeting what they said they needed was clothes for the kids! They needed them 24/7. So of course, I said I will do what I can.

I looked into some of the organizations there and they don’t do 24/7. So, one of my Soroptimist sisters’ husband in my Club is an Emergency Room physician at Marshall Hospital in Placerville. Well the bottom line is that he introduced me to a Charge nurse named Jessica, who I believe is an Angel on Earth! “Charge nurse” is title also very appropriate for her! We were given space in the Emergency Room supply room for a full clothes closet. She also set up two in-service trainings for me with the Emergency Room staff. I also met with the Chief of Police to let him know about the closet.

My latest project is working with Sacramento City Police who has a new team that will focus solely on rescuing the kids. I was able to put in their office clothes, toiletries, personal hygiene items, stuffed animals and backpacks. They are putting together a new Interview room and striving to make it warm and comfortable. They mentioned the need for a new sofa and two chairs, that can be sanitized periodically. So, with the help of Tracey Edwards District 3 Director we got the word out to the Clubs. Sacramento Metro Club donated $1000.00, Placerville $ 250.00 and I donated $750.00 from my funds for the purchase of the sofa and chairs. There will be a sign in the room giving Soroptimist credit for the donation.

Now here is why we do what we do. Right after starting the new unit, they rescued a 17-year-old girl from Portland who was being trafficked in South Sacramento. She needed clothes for her flight home. Well, she was dressed appropriately for that flight.

Again, thank you for all that you have done for the CSEC kids.
Best regards to all,
Joanne Tremelling

Southern Nevada

Between Covid-19 and the Protests, Southern Nevada has been hit hard. I have been working from home since March 23, 2020 with no end in sight. Well, all in all, I guess I would say that Southern Nevadans are surviving and all of the problems that existed before Covid-19 and the protests are still here today – human trafficking, the homeless, domestic and child abuse, alcoholism and poverty.

Break These Chains Life Free is a member of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Human Trafficking Task Force and recently has been invited to join the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Services Project. Both committees concentrate on Human Trafficking in Southern Nevada. Our current assignment is to compile language appropriate verbiage for all ages when communicating on the topic of human trafficking; along with increased interactions amongst our members and joint fundraising. Both groups will continue to educate our communities on human trafficking and its buyers. Concentrating on the buyers might one day eliminate the problem.

Break These Chains Life Free (BTCLF) 2020-2021 Human Trafficking the Ugly Truth photo/art competition through the Clark County School District (CCSD) and Pahrump Valley high schools produced 153 entries. The chosen 20 winners were to be honored at the Soroptimist International of Greater Las Vegas “Sweet Fantasy” luncheon, on March 22, 2020, unfortunately, it was cancelled due to Covid-19.

BTCLF will continue to raise awareness through our Human Trafficking – the Ugly Truth photo/art competition in 2020/2021. Our focus will be on fundraising with a roll-out in 2021/2022 of an all new Human Trafficking – The Ugly Truth photo/art completion. This new teacher/student challenge will be presented to the Clark County School District (CCSD) and Pahrump Valley high schools in fall of 2021/2022.

Please remember to help your neighbor every day to make a difference in their day and yours! Break These Chains Live Free was created by Soroptimist International of Greater Las Vegas, Las Vegas Valley, Metropolitan Las Vegas and Pahrump Valley.

Jeanie Ferguson
SNR Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Coordinator
Soroptimist International of Metropolitan Las Vegas Member
Break These Chains Live Free Secretary and Treasurer


The Pillars For A Successful Stop Trafficking Program by Lesli Brisson, Northern Nevada Stop Trafficking Coordinator

What is CAPES? CAPES is what our Northern Nevada group of Soroptimist’s came up with at our first group meeting. CAPES stands for, community, awareness, prevention, education and Soroptimist. We decided that those are the pillars we would like to use as we develop a “Stop Trafficking” initiative.

  1. Community
    The importance of drawing community support is monumental. If we want to reach the citizens in our areas, we must include their involvement, obtain support, get encouragement and utilize outreach opportunities in order to stop trafficking.
  2. Awareness
    The importance of awareness is a large part of the battle.
    We can use visuals, statistics, the media, social media platforms and PSAS to spread awareness.
  3. Prevention
    Prevention is key when trying to put a stop to anything. In order to develop this pillar, we decided that it would be important to form strong partnerships within the community. Partnering with schools, universities, medical, law enforcement, homes for runaways, homeless youth, crisis centers, strip clubs, brothels etc.
  4. Education
    Education bears a strong foundational support for this initiative. We would look toward our community to help us educate the public. Ways to educate, include using our state and federal resources and implement them in community, forming public events.
  5. Soroptimist
    Helping women and girls live their dreams. Using our resources, time and energy in our communities, we can implement these pillars and make a profound difference and better the lives of victims and potential victims.

Our group had originally put a local community event together.The event was an outreach that included speakers from the AG office, the FBI, a trafficking survivor and local law enforcement. The guest list included anyone from the hospitality industry, local business, schools and the general public etc. It was cancelled due to the Covid virus. At this time, we do not have a new date.

We had also started contacting the promoters for the big local events that take place in the Reno, Sparks and Lake Tahoe areas. Events like, Hot August Nights, Air Races, Concert series, Reno Rodeo, etc. Our goal was to partner with them, get our awareness posters on the inside doors of the portable toilets and other areas at the venues . This could very well save victims. Our group will be working on this important project this summer.

A special thank you to Valerie Hahn and Roberta Benvenuto for being a part of this initiative.