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Dream It, Be It Career Support For Girls
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Young women attending Oakdale High School were treated to a day of information and inspiration as participants of the Dream It, Be It Career Support event hosted by Soroptimist International of Oakdale. A panel of six professionals was invited to speak to the group on their varying career paths and experiences.

Local service organization Soroptimist International of Oakdale recently hosted its annual “Dream It, Be It” Career Support for Girls conference in the Oakdale High School gym.

Shannen Yang, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman and a senior at Oakdale High School, served as keynote speaker relating personal experiences and providing advice and encouragement to the girls as they navigate school, activities, and life. In addition to Shannen, Distinguished Young Women alumni and Oakdale High School seniors Misha Mistry, Jean Pagaduan, and Natalie Williams served as facilitator helpers mentoring the girls during the sessions and activities throughout the day.

The girls participated in four sessions facilitated by Soroptimist and community members. Discovering Your Dreams/Values and Goal Setting, led by Soroptimist member Chris Di Cristina, featured making a “dream” collage using inspirational quotes and writing letters to themselves naming their future goals and aspirations.

The Exploring Careers session, moderated by Soroptimist member Lois Kobayashi, featured a panel of six professional women who spoke about their careers, education, and work experience. The panelists were public health nurse Bette Bloominstein, insurance sales/City Council member/community volunteer Cherilyn Bairos, children’s dentist Gurneet Chahal, D.D.S., reporter/journalist Teresa Hammond, loan officer Nicole Serpa, and software engineer Ping Yang. The girls were advised to listen to themselves, follow their hearts, and choose careers that they love.

Turning Failure into Success, led by Soroptimist member Deborah Tussing addressed the fear of failure and introduced the idea that experiencing a failure is a key step in the process of learning and growing. Distinguished Young Women alumni Misha and Natalie assisted with this session sharing personal stories of how they had experienced failures and the steps they took to overcome them and move forward.

The Balancing Your Stress session was led by Baptiste yoga instructor Kathy Wallace who provided the girls with breathing and relaxation techniques as well as yoga exercises to help relieve their stress and bring calm to their busy lives.

In addition, presentations on Internet safety by Oakdale Police Officer Chelsea Stilwell and skin care by Soroptimist member and Mary Kay sales director Charlotte Metcalfe were very popular with the participants.

As the concluding activity, the girls were provided with “Dreams Do Come True” pillows in which they placed their letters to themselves inside the pillowcases as reminders of their aspirations for the future.

Dream It, Be It and Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women are the “Soroptimist Dream Programs” created to provide sustainable, measurable change for women and girls, and ensure they have access to the education and training needed to reach their full potential and live their dreams.

Soroptimist International of Oakdale is currently accepting applications for the Live Your Dream Award. For more information, call or text Jackie Hair at (209) 840-2134 or e-mail The deadline to apply is Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

Oakdale is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas, a cause-related philanthropic federation of clubs improving the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment. To learn more about Soroptimist International of Oakdale, visit or follow them on Facebook at Oakdale Soroptimist.