Local service organization Soroptimist International of Oakdale hosted 23 girls from seventh through tenth grades at its “Dream It, Be It” conference held in the Oakdale High School library on a recent Saturday. Gaby Ceja, 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. She also stressed the importance of getting an education advising the girls to look to the future with excitement and curiosity because they have the potential for endless amounts of success. In addition to Gaby, Distinguished Young Women alumni and Oakdale High School seniors Alexa Da Rosa, Karima Ghimire, Allison Reberg, and Natalie Verduzco served as facilitator helpers mentoring the girls during the sessions and activities throughout the day.
The girls participated in sessions facilitated by Soroptimist and community members. Discovering Your Dreams, led by Soroptimist Member Tamberly Stone, included making a “dream” collage of their future goals and aspirations. Balancing Your Stress 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. Creating Achievable Goals, led by Soroptimists Chris Fallentine and Lois Kobayashi, taught the participants how to develop clear, reasonable goals and map out action steps to achieve their goals. Turning Failure into Success, led by Soroptimist Members Pam Craig and Charlotte Metcalfe, addressed the fear of failure and introduced the idea that experiencing a failure is a key step in the process of learning and growing. During this session, Alexa Da Rosa spoke to the girls about resiliency relating some personal failures. She explained there’s always a lesson that can be learned from a failure and that after failure, success can follow.
In addition, presentations on Internet safety by Oakdale Police Officer Chelsea Stilwell and skin care by Soroptimist and Mary Kay consultant Charlotte Metcalfe proved very popular with the participants.
As the concluding activity, the girls were provided with “Dream Pillows” in which they wrote their dreams and goals on index cards and inserted them 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.