19 womens lunch 2

Astred Castro receives a hug from Jackie Hopkins after being awarded the Violet Richardson Award during the 12th Annual "Women Making a Difference" Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield, Tuesday. Castro chose to donate the money that came with the award to the Girl Scout Got Choices Program. (Aaron Rosenblatt/Daily Republic)

Suisun City

Soroptimists honor 3 with awards

By From page A5 | March 19, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Mischelle Loeza was a teenage mom who battled a riptide of challenges, ranging from raising two children by herself to being laid off from work.

Two decades after she left school to raise the first of two children, she plunged back into getting an education at Solano Community College with the goal of getting a degree in social psychology “so that I can be there for other people, families and women.”

Astred Castro, an Armijo High School senior, is already making a mark in her community as a volunteer at Kaiser Permanente’s Vacaville Medical Center in its radiology department. She helped organize the 2013 Solano County Turkey Trot and is involved with Armijo’s Helping Hand Club.

When not working for the city of Fairfield, Dawn LaBar dedicates her time to community groups such as the Solano Family Justice Center Foundation, the Community Action Partnership and the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Today program. She is now getting involved in the campaign to battle human trafficking.

“She works to make Fairfield a stronger, better community,” said Samina Masood of Heather House, whose homeless shelter has also benefitted from La Bar’s involvement.

All three women were honored by the Soroptimist International of Central Solano County at their 12th Annual Women Making A Difference Awards Luncheon, which took place Tuesday at the Hilton Garden Inn.

The luncheon honors the accomplishments of local women who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in their community.

A tearful yet happy Loeza was awarded the Soroptimist’s Women’s Opportunity Award, which is presented to women who are the primary support for their household and are enrolled in a vocational training or undergraduate degree program.

Castro was this year’s recipient of the Violet Richardson Award, which goes to local young women between 14 and 17 who are making a difference in their community.

LaBar was honored with the Ruby Award for Women Helping Women, which is named after Ruby Lee Minar, the first Soroptimist federation president. La Bar’s reaction to the honor was indicative of how she and the other honorees felt.

“I am very humbled and honored to get this award from this esteemed group of women,” LaBar told the gathered Soroptimists.

Reach Ian Thompsonat 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson

Ian Thompson has worked for the Daily Republic longer than he cares to remember. A native of Oregon and a graduate of the University of Oregon, he pines for the motherland still. He covers Vacaville and Travis Air Force Base for the Daily Republic. He is an avid military history buff, wargamer and loves the great outdoors.

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