2018 Congressional Women of the Year
Source: Office of Rep. Salud Carbajal
[On Friday], to mark the conclusion of Women’s History Month, Rep. Salud Carbajal announced the winners of the 2018 Congressional Women of the Year Award.
The annual Congressional Women of the Year Award honors exceptional women across the 24th Congressional District who have left a positive impact on their communities. Winners span a variety of backgrounds and professions and represent the thousands of women working tirelessly to improve quality of life on the Central Coast.
“The recipients of this year’s Congressional Women of the Year Award are all doing incredible work to improve the quality of life on the Central Coast, from caring for our homeless population to helping our communities through devastating natural disasters,” Rep. Carbajal said. “It is a privilege to recognize these women leaders for their contributions to our community.”
Rep. Carbajal will recognize the winners by entering a special written tribute for each woman into the official Congressional Record, preserving their stories and their impact on the community.
Below is a full list of this year’s honorees:
Dr. Amy Alzina (Montecito)
Dr. Amy Alzina is the Principal and Superintendent of Cold Spring School in Montecito. Dr. Alzina’s positive spirit and strong leadership was vital to helping her community recover after the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslides forced the school to temporarily close for nearly six weeks and took the lives of two students. From meeting with families who lost loved ones to hosting events that gave the community comfort and security during a difficult time, Dr. Alzina has been instrumental to helping Montecito recover from the devastation.
Deanna Cantrell (San Luis Obispo)
San Luis Obispo Police Chief, Deanna Cantrell is one of less than 2% of female police chiefs across the nation. Through the Police and Community Together (PACT) Program, Deanna has facilitated dialogue and understanding between the police department and local action groups representing marginalized communities. She also started the Policing Education And Community Engagement (PEACE), a series of community workshops to increase understanding between community groups and law enforcement. Chief Cantrell has strived to support every member of her community and her compassion and commitment to service makes her a role model and inspiration to the community.
Becky Jorgeson (Santa Margarita)
Becky Jorgeson is the Founder and President of Hope's Village of SLO. She is dedicated to building a sustainable community village of tiny homes for chronically homeless people with little or no income.
Through their "RVs for Veterans" program, 74 motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth wheels have been passed on to local homeless veterans getting them off the streets and into their own tiny homes on wheels; 734 showers have been given through their mobile "Showers of Hope" program; and numerous sleeping bags, tents, tarps, blankets, jackets and food have been passed out down by the creek and on the streets of SLO through their outreach program.
She collaborated with the Cal Poly Construction Management Class to build and donate two “cabins on wheels” for their soon to be community village; Nipomo Tech HS is building another tiny home for Hope's Village, and Cuesta College begins building in the Fall. Atascadero and San Luis High School will follow. Some schools may build a cabin each term.
Becky’s work to support the homeless population of San Luis Obispo has been a tremendous asset to members of the community in need.
Gloria Soto (Santa Maria)
Gloria Soto was born and raised in the Santa Maria and Guadalupe areas of Santa Barbara County. She comes from an immigrant family who instilled the value of hard work and determination, and made numerous sacrifices to ensure she would have a chance at a better life. Gloria took advantage of every opportunity and graduated from Pioneer Valley High School, Allan Hancock College, and then from Bradman University all while working full time.
Gloria has been a champion for women, youth and immigrants and her impact on social justice in our community is immeasurable. As the Regional Development Manager for Planned Parenthood California Central Coast, Gloria, strides to protect and expand access to reproductive health care in her community. Additionally, as a Board Member for Future Leaders of America, Gloria volunteered hundreds of hours training youth leaders and directing week-long youth leadership camps. She is also a Board Member for the Fund for Santa Barbara, a member of the Activist-Led Grant Making Committee, and a key organizer for the Latino Legacy Awards in Santa Maria.
Beth Farnsworth Ward (Santa Barbara)
Beth Farnsworth Ward is an Anchor and Reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 in Santa Barbara. By helping residents navigate information, warnings, and updates after news of the Thomas Fire broke in December, her coverage of the disaster ensured residents all throughout the Central Coast were well-informed during the largest wildfire in California history. Beth stepped up once again in January, when the deadly mudslides left many in need of resources and information. Beth’s news coverage is exemplary of the importance of journalism and local reporting to our community.