Friday, February 23 , 2018, 2:19 am | Fair 49º

 
 
 
 

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Honors Five Local ‘Women of Inspiration’

The community leaders take center stage at the 'Garden to Table Celebration' luncheon and fundraiser

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the luncheon.]

The recent “Women of Inspiration: A Garden to Table Celebration” luncheon and fundraiser at the Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria headquarters was a gathering for empowering girls to be smart, strong and bold that honored three local women as mentors and leaders within the community.

The luncheon began with welcoming messages from two Girls Inc. members, National Scholar Andrea Delgado, returning from last year’s event, and Eureka! program participant Maria Zamora, who are both continuing a tradition of excellence in the organization that has produced 18 national scholars since 1995.

Both girls confidently strode to the podium to share their experiences with Girls Inc. and their excitement for the future.

Delgado participated in the Girls Inc. Operation SMART program (Science, Math And Relevant Technology), opening her eyes to the field of science and inspiring her interest in becoming a pediatrician.

“Girls Inc. has always nurtured this dream. The great majority of scientific jobs are held by men, so I am adventuring on a nontraditional route,” Delgado said. “But Girls Inc. has equipped me for any challenges I may face by giving me the opportunity to explore science and helping me build the confidence to pursue it. Being a part of Girls Inc. means you know you’re one of many girls defying expectations.”

The senior from Carpinteria High School continues to defy expectations as student body president with a GPA over 4.0, and is also a two-sport varsity athlete in swimming and water polo.

“It is such an amazing organization; I am incredibly grateful to have had it growing up,” Delgado said. “The skills, confidence and sound foundation I have gained through Girls Inc. are invaluable.”

Science is also a favorite of the Eureka! representative, Zamora, who spent four weeks last summer at UCSB gaining the confidence to be a university student.

Following these inspiring young women, guests enjoyed a garden to table menu as Executive Director Victoria Juarez shared introductory remarks and introduced keynote inspirational speaker Sarah Elizabeth Ippel.

At 23 years old, Ippel strove to “reimagine what it is possible in public education today,” and three years later, in 2008, the Academy for Global Citizenship opened in a Chicago public elementary school.

Ippel shared with Noozhawk a description of some of the broad leadership abilities needed for young women to thrive in this global interdependent world.

“Being critical thinkers, being effective communicators, problem solvers, innovators, being able to create and invent our way out of these challenges by thinking differently about our role in the world,” Ippel said.

The mission of the Academy for Global Citizenship is to impact 20 million students by 2020 with a commitment to environmental sustainability and academic results.

“Sarah Elizabeth absolutely embodies the Girls Inc. philosophy of strong, smart and bold,” said Nini Seaman, event co-chair and member of the Girls Inc. of Carpinteria Board of Trustees. “We are delighted to have her join us in honoring women and girls from the community who share her courage and tenacity in achieving their own goals.”

Later, the 2013 women of inspiration were introduced and the talented women in attendance included Beth Cox, Dorothy Largay and Pamela Lewis.

Cox has followed the lead of her parents as an active community volunteer, and while a student at San Francisco State University was honored by the city’s mayor for creating a domestic violence prevention program for San Francisco public schools.

Upon returning to Santa Barbara after completing her undergraduate degree, she was involved with the local Domestic Violence Solutions and the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center as well as the American Cancer Society.

Cox shared with Noozhawk the honor of following in her mother’s footsteps, Sally Green, who was also a woman of inspiration in 2009, and the impact that Girls Inc. has on her daughter, Mia, who goes to the Carpinteria location.

“This is an amazing, incredible program,” Cox said. “I honestly believe she (Mia), is bold, smart and strong. Most definitely. I am incredibly honored to be here and was absolutely awestruck when I was asked.” 

The Linked Foundation in Carpinteria founded by Largay is dedicated to alleviating poverty by improving the health of women in Latin America, impacting the lives of more than 150,000 women and their families.

The foundation is also a strong supporter of Eureka! and THRIVE in Carpinteria, and Largay spoke glowingly of the impact that Girls Inc. has locally in Carpinteria and on the community at large.

“When you consider that they support over 700 girls every year in Carpinteria, how many lives does that change, not only for those girls right now and the opportunities going forward and the people that they are going to influence,” Largay said. “The impact is exponential. It’s just extraordinary.”

Lewis joined the Hutton Foundation in 1996 and now as executive director is an advocate for applicants and evaluates and manages new and special initiatives among other critical tasks. She has also served as a committee and board member for several local nonprofits, including SB Museum of Natural History, SB Zoological Gardens, Channel Islands YMCA and many others.

“Girls Inc. is just one of those organizations that’s so easy to support because girls need support, inspiration, education and opportunity in order to blossom,” Lewis said. 

Founded in 1971, the summer camp for 33 girls has grown into a modern 16,000-square-foot facility that provides a computer lab, full-service kitchen, gymnasium, theater and a SMART room for the study of science, math and technology.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria provides cultural arts programs that expand young minds to explore performance, music and writing for teen and middle school-age girls. Healthy lifestyles and relationships are fostered in a setting that encourages engagement in business, athletics, arts and self-reliance in varied skills, including computers, science and history. Each of these unique programs provides a path for future leaders and enhances self-esteem to make responsible decisions.

Click here for more information on Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. Click here to make an online donation. Click here to connect with Girls Inc. on Facebook.

Girls Inc. thanks the generous sponsors of this year’s Women of Inspiration luncheon, including:

» Heroine/Hero — Hutton Parker Foundation

» Advocates — Montecito Bank & Trust and Union Bank

» Partners — Griffith & Thornburgh LLC, Orfalea Foundation, Santa Barbara Foundation, Maryan and Richard Schall, Nini Seaman, Peter Seaman, Sandra and Sam Tyler, Leslie and Robert Zemeckis, and Venoco Inc.

» Patrons — Olivia Erschen, Doug Ford, The Fund for Santa Barbara, Lynda.com, Nanette Nevins and Gail McMahon Persoon

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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