Encouraging and Uplifting Women

Founded on October 3, 1921, Soroptimist International is the world’s largest service organization for business and professional women working to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. Beginning with only 80 working women, the international organization has grown to about 95,000 members in 120 countries. These members contribute time and financial support to community‐based and international projects that benefit women and girls.

The Women Making a Difference Award has been developed by Soroptimist International of Oxnard to honor women who, through their professional and/or personal efforts, improve lives and encourage women and girls in the greater Oxnard Community.

Download the Nomination Form

More Information

Awards will be presented to up to three deserving women at the annual Live Your Dream banquet. In addition to public recognition, each awardee will be presented with a donation of $300 for the organization of her choice. To further honor the awardees, a $500 donation will be sent to Soroptimist International of the Americas scholarship fund.

Women may nominate themselves or any other woman they feel is deserving of this honor.
Completed form and the essay is requested by April 1 of each year. Please send to:

Soroptimist International of Oxnard

P. O. Box 1325

Oxnard CA 93032

Contact person for questions:
Karen Baldonado

(805) 297-5192


2018 Awardees

Anna Zielsdorf
Channel Islands High School Performance Squad
During her tenure as a Zumba instructor at Channel Islands High School, Anna has raised over
$20,000. 100% of the funds she raises goes towards paying competition fees and hotel costs for the
high school’s performance squad. Anna’s fundraising helps ease family finances and allows students
to concentrate their efforts on practicing rather than fundraising. What started out as Anna’s idea for
raising money for
the high school performance squad has turned out to be so much more. Several women have been
dancing in her classes for the past 5 years, and their participation has cultivated friendships with
women who they would have never known. The women have attended each other’s childrens’
birthdays or even weddings. One woman, in particular, lost 40 pounds doing Zumba and looked
beautiful in her weddings dress.
Honorarium to Channel Islands High School

Cynthia Melendez
Prototypes Women’s Center
Prototypes is a lifeline to women who are struggling with addiction and other serious issues such as
domestic violence and mental illness. These are women and mothers who are facing impossible
choices. In her position as counselor at Prototypes, Cynthia provides the women and children in the
center a safety net of supports to help their recovery. Through Cynthia’s leadership and guidance,
mothers learn how to create and sustain healthy relationships, teaching them the power of believing
in themselves. Cynthia works closely with county and non-profit community agencies. These
organizations provide resources and services to the women and children at Prototypes, and at times
donate time and efforts towards organizing special events around the holidays, and family dinners to
help mommies create bonds with the children they have lost to the foster care system. Cynthia
believes in the power of change, be it small but significant steps, or life-changing moments like the
reunification of mommies with their children.
Honorarium to Prototypes Women’s Center

Carol Fujita
Amgen Biotech Experience
Even after retiring as a high school biology teacher, Carol did not retire from teaching. As the
Coordinator of the Amgen Biotech Experience (ABE), her teaching now involves
providing teachers with curriculum and professional development workshops on how to better
understand lab protocols and science. The direct impact to students is a series of labs that parallel
important steps taken by the biotechnology industry to develop medicines that treat a variety of
diseases. The program places additional emphasis in reaching students in groups traditionally
underrepresented in STEM fields. By bringing higher level hands-on science to all levels, students
learn that there are many different biotech careers that are possible options. To date, this program
has reached more than 38 teachers in 22 school, and more than 3,300 students,
Honorarium to Friends of the Library Oxnard

Jane LeMond-Alvarez
The National Association Against Child Cruelty
As a Crime Analyst for the Oxnard Police Department, Jane LeMond-Alvarez was responsible for
conducting briefings and providing Patrol Officers information regarding crime trends, and she acted
as a liaison between various branches of the department including Detectives, Major Crimes, Sexual
Assault Unit and the Chief of Police. After raising her own children, Jane adopted 3 severely

abused children and she has spent the past 27 years dedicating her life to learning the adverse
effects of child abuse, including the impact of a complex justice system and laws that can perpetrate
abuse. Her research and data collection efforts in the area of infant/child mortality due to crime
and abuse affords critical information to help law enforcement, legislators, and the general public to
learn the triggers and causes of these deaths, and aligning the inequity of sentencing
of perpetrators.
Honorarium to The National Association Against Child Cruelty