Local Single Mothers Use Women United Awards to Advance Careers

Two of last year’s award recipients, Cassandra Zingg-Acuna (L) and Michelle Amesquita (R)

United Way of Ventura County’s (UWVC) Women United will explore the “Power of the Purse” during its 3rd Annual Luncheon May 10, featuring acclaimed social psychologist and author Dr. Aida Hurtado.

The luncheon will be held at 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 10, at California Lutheran University’s Gilbert Sports & Fitness Center. All proceeds will benefit United Way programs.

As an integral part of United Way, Women United fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Women United is a diverse, vibrant community, bound together by a powerful sense of belonging – to each other, to the organization’s mission and to the communities we call home. This powerful, global network of women leaders, over 70,000 strong, lives united against the most critical issues facing more than 165 communities in six countries.

One of the highlights of the annual luncheon is the awards presentation, honoring local single mothers looking to continue their educational journeys. The 3rd Annual Women United luncheon will recognize Ventura County single mothers who are pursuing their education and supporting their families in the process. Recipients of the Women United Educational Award are single mothers who are CARE, CalWORKs or EOPS students completing their associate’s degree and transferring to a four-year university or technical program, and have children under the age of 18 living in the home. The financial award may be used to offset any costs associated with efforts to attain higher education, including tuition, books, childcare, and transportation.

Two of last year’s winners reflect on the accomplishments they’ve made:

Cassandra Zingg-Acuna (pictured above), a single mother of two young children, is attending the Oxnard College Dental Hygiene Program with a goal of becoming a dental hygienist. “I have been educated by intelligent professors, guided by perceptive counselors and befriended by remarkable peers. There still lies ahead a bumpy road, but I am surrounded by wonderful people who can encourage along that path. And most importantly I depend on myself,” said Zingg-Acuna.

Michelle Amesquita (also pictured above), a mother of a 17-year-old, is attending CSU Northridge to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders. “While working in a skilled nursing facility, I had the privilege of seeing first-hand what a speech therapist does and have decided that is my future and am excited to get started on the journey,” said Amesquita.

“Not only are these women themselves inspiring, but they also serve as role models to others and show what resilience and hard work can do,” said Eric Harrison, CEO of United Way of Ventura County.  “We are so proud to be able to help these hard-working women fulfill their dreams.”

This year’s luncheon will feature a keynote by Dr. Aida Hurtado, who holds the Luis Leal Endowed Chair in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCSB. In her upcoming book, “Chicana Intersectional Feminisms: Sitios y Lenguas (Spaces and Languaging)”, Dr. Hurtado introduces the field of Chicana feminist analysis.

Presenting sponsors include Wells Fargo, California Lutheran University, Procter & Gamble, Union Bank, and Sage Publishing.

Women United 3rd Annual Luncheon

Time and Date: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, May 10

Location: California Lutheran University, Gilbert Sports & Fitness Center

Luncheon Tickets: $100 each. After May 1, 2019, price increases to $125.

Luncheon Tickets are available online at https://vcunitedway.org.

For sponsorship opportunities contact Mitchel Sloan at Mitchel.Sloan@vcunitedway.org  

For more, visit https://vcunitedway.org.

About Women United

Women United’s mission is to mobilize the power of women as change-makers, creating a community where women, families and communities thrive. Women United aspires to transform local, organic growth into exponential, enterprise-level growth, by rallying our strong and passionate women leaders around an enthusiastically positive vision of the future.

About United Way of Ventura County

Since 1945, United Way of Ventura County has advanced the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. Our focus is on education, income and health, because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life. We support local services and programs that are more than just ‘stop gap’ measures, but rather solutions that help create lasting change. We invite everyone to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. When we work together in common purpose, we LIVE UNITED. For more information about United Way of Ventura County, visit www.vcunitedway.org.

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