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Career Support For Girls Conference Sees Success
DReam it Be it

A one-day conference providing career support, guidance, and mentorship to high school girls was hosted Oct. 26 by local service organization Soroptimist International of Oakdale. The annual “Dream It, Be It Career Support for Girls” conference on Saturday, Oct. 26 was staged in the Oakdale High School library.

Jaden Chau, Oakdale’s Distinguished Young Woman and 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 Jaden, Distinguished Young Women alumni and Oakdale High School seniors Ryleigh Bellington, Madison Blanc, and Grace Leitjen, as well as conference alumna Cynthia, served as facilitator helpers mentoring the girls during the sessions and activities throughout the day.

The girls participated in sessions facilitated by Soroptimists and community members.

Discovering Your Dreams/Values and Goal Setting, led by Soroptimist Members Tamberly Stone and Chris Di Cristina featured making a “dream” collage using inspirational quotes and pictures and writing letters to themselves naming their future goals and aspirations.

The Exploring Careers session, moderated by Soroptimist Member Tena McLane Ceja, featured a panel of five professional women who spoke about their careers, education, and work experience. The panelists were Oakdale Leader reporter/journalist Teresa Hammond, Oakdale Police Officer Chelsie Stilwell, licensed clinical social worker Veronica Tovar, respiratory therapist Evelyn Fernandez-John, and children’s dentist Gurneet Chahal, D.D.S. 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 Lisa May 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 alumna Shirley assisted with this session sharing a personal story of how she had experienced a failure and the steps she took to overcome it 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, the Women’s Haven Center’s HARRT (Healthy and Responsible Relationships Troop) representatives spoke to the participants about adolescent relationship abuse prevention. And, a presentation on skin care by Soroptimist member and Mary Kay sales director Charlotte Metcalfe was 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 Nov. 15, 2019.