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‘Strong, Smart and Bold’ Speakers, Honorees to Take the Stage at Girls Inc. Inspiration Luncheon

Are you ready to be inspired? Girls Inc. of Carpinteria invites the community to its annual Women of Inspiration luncheon on Monday, April 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 5315 Foothill Road in Carpinteria.

Girls Inc
The women and girls who will be part of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria's Women of Inspiration luncheon as honorees, emcees, event co-chairs and featured speaker. (Girls Inc. of Carpinteria photo)

Saran Kaba Jones, an international leader and social entrepreneur, will serve as the Inspirational Speaker. As the founder of FACE Africa, Jones has made it her mission to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and services in remote communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Her efforts are specifically focused on access to safe drinking water and empowering women and girls through education and skills training.

“At Girls Inc. of Carpinteria, our mission is to help cultivate confident and successful girls who will go on to become powerful figures and make a positive difference,” said Victoria Juarez, executive director of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria. “Saran is not only a quintessential role model to women and girls, but her resilience, dedication and passion also make her a shining example of Girls Inc.’s ‘strong, smart and bold’ mantra. She has already accomplished more than most people dream to accomplish in a lifetime and, for that alone, she is a true inspiration to all of us.”

Jones was born in Liberia, but left at the young age of 8 shortly before the country’s civil war began. She returned almost 20 years later to find a country in desperate need, and founded FACE Africa as a solution to address the problems of contaminated water.

In recognition of her commitment to safe water initiatives that have benefited over 20,000 residents in Liberia to date, Jones was appointed International Goodwill Ambassador for the county of Rivercess in Liberia. She was also named by Forbes as one of the “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa.”

"It is truly an honor to be able to speak in support of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria on the incredibly important subject of empowering young girls,” Jones said. “Inspiring and supporting girls to reach their full potential is a mission we share at FACE Africa and I’m thrilled to share my story at the Women of Inspiration luncheon.”

The fundraiser luncheon will also honor four local women with deep roots in the community: Michelle Apodaca, director of the Offices of the Chairman, CEO, COO and CFO at Deckers Brands, who oversees the company’s philanthropic efforts; Jennifer Freed and Rendy Freedman, co-founders and co-directors of AHA! who bring more than 40 years of combined experience working with youth; and Donna Jordan, Carpinteria’s first female mayor, former councilwoman and co-founder of Carpinteria Beautiful.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria participants Ana Delgado and Arianna Lopez will emcee the luncheon and present the 2015 Women of Inspiration awards to the honorees. Ana and Arianna both grew up on the Girls Inc. campus, soaking up the empowering messages and acquiring the skills to self-sufficiency and success.

Ana received the prestigious Girls Inc. National Scholar award in 2013 and was selected by the JASON National Argonaut Program last summer from a global pool of participants for a four-week, hands-on marine research experience in the Bahamas.

Arianna was recently named a 2015 Girls Inc. National Scholar and was awarded $20,000 to help further her education. She helped nurture a diverse local coalition to ban smoking in Carpinteria, which successfully went into effect in 2011. She was recognized for her community service efforts last year by Radio Disney with the “Hero for Change” award.

“Ana and Arianna are just two examples of our Girls Inc. family who already have a hand in changing our community for the better, and it is fitting to see them present the awards to our Women of Inspiration honorees,” Juarez said. “Michelle, Jennifer, Rendy and Donna are mentors and leaders who demonstrate that teaching girls to grow beyond their comfort zones and take risks will enrich their lives and our community as a whole for generations to come.”

This year’s luncheon is co-chaired by the community-minded trio of Nancy Koppelman, Nini Seaman and Sandra Tyler.

Tickets to Women of Inspiration are $75 and proceeds will support the mission of Girls Inc. of Carpinteria to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Girls Inc. of Carpinteria currently serves more than 700 girls ages 5 to 18 each year through a variety of programs, motivating them to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges.

For tickets or more information, please contact Ericka Loza-Lopez at 805.684.6364 or [email protected], or click here.

— Daniella Alkobi is a publicist representing Girls Inc. of Carpinteria.

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