By Virginia Dumas and Kayla Anderson

Last week, the Mineral County School Districts hosted a ‘Dream It, Be It’ program for junior high and high school girls in grades 7-9 at the Hawthorne Elementary School gym. Sponsored by local Soroptimists,

‘Dream It, Be It’ helps support young women with their education and career goals while also empowering them to break cycles of violence, poverty, and abuse. ‘Dream It, Be It’ Day for the young women began with an anti-drug presentation and then touched on the subject of human trafficking. The people who introduced the speakers included Soroptimist International members Elaine Cassell and Tamaya Ferguson. After lunch, inspirational speaker and author of the book, Take Back Your Life Norris DuPree Jr., PhD, spoke to the students about how they can increase their awareness and follow their life’s vision. As a therapist, he believes that exploring and learning from one’s past experiences can help influence and improve one’s present and future.

Virginia Dumas photos
Kristy Bekiares, MCHS Gear Up advisor, runs an interactive activity during the ‘Dream It, Be It’ program for junior high and high school girls in grades 7-9 at the Hawthorne Elementary School gym last week.

After Dr. DuPree Jr.’s presentation, a few local and regional career advisors including Mandy Glazier (Jobs for America’s Graduates), Kristy Bekiares (Gear Up/MCHS), Andrea Saavedra-Nieto (Gear Up/UNR), Tawnie D’Angelo (Western Nevada College/ Gear Up), and Jairo Castellanos-Boteo (Gear Up/Truckee Meadows Community College), spoke on interactive topics ranging from what life is like after high school to how to begin the college application process and prepare for career opportunities. Mineral County Building Inspector Stephanie Flow and juvenile probation officer Nicole Mathias also talked to the young women.

Soroptimist International members, sponsors of the event. From left, Elaine Casell, Tamaya Ferguson, Kellie Duniga, Janette Cunningham and Jean Peterson.

The next day, a few of the students who attended commented that the positive messages were inspirational, they thought it was informative and nice to hear other survivors’ stories, and another student liked the interactive relationship exercises.

‘Dream It, Be It’ was sponsored by Soroptimist International of Hawthorne led by President Jean Peterson. Meaning “best for women”, soroptimist groups are comprised of women at their best who work to help other women be at their best. This global volunteer organization has branches all over the world, providing women and girls with access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment.

For more information about Hawthorne’s Soroptimist organization, visit