Santa Paula Times

SPPD Explorer Jaleza Bobadilla (above left) was honored by SISP with the Violet Richardson Award for volunteerism. (Center photo) Crystal Freeman received the SISP Women’s Opportunity Award to continue her college studies while raising her sons Gabe (standing) and Johnny. Sabrina Espino (above right) received the SISP Scholarship to start her studies in Biology at UC Davis. (Photos by David Curran Jr.)

Best for Women: Freeman, Espino, Bobadilla receive SISP awards

July 27, 2012
Santa Paula News

Soroptimist International of Santa Paula presented awards to three local women at their annual Installation Dinner, where Crystal Freeman, Sabrina Espino and Jaleza Bobadilla were lauded for living up to the meaning of Soroptimist “Best for Women.” The June 28 dinner was held at the historic Glen Tavern Inn and the buffet was provided by Enzo’s, the hotel’s restaurant.

President Barbara Kroon, who later in the evening handed the SISP gavel to new President Heidi Juarez, noted Freeman was the recipient of the Women’s Opportunity Award. The award provides cash grants for head-of-household women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. 

The mission of Soroptimist is to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world. Kroon said Freeman well deserved the award.

“Crystal is a full-time student studying alcohol and drug counseling, who is on the Dean’s List” with a 4.0 GPA and a record of perfect school attendance. Freeman has two children, 3-year-old Gabe and 1-year-old Johnny. 

“Crystal has overcome many obstacles, she turned her life around and knows education is also a way to become a good mother,” by setting an example that self-esteem, hard work and dedication make for a better future. Kroon presented Freeman with a $1,000 check, noting, “We’re very proud of you.”

SISP Scholarship Committee Chair Cindy Jordan said Espino was selected for the $1,000 educational gift due to her accomplishments as a student and community volunteer. Espino just graduated from Santa Paula High School, where she maintained a 4.0 GPA for four years, was a National Honor Society member, and was active in the campus Interact Club, among her other activities. She was also honored with the Helen Hardison Best Girl Award. 

Espino, who was accompanied by family to the SISP event, will be attending the University of California-Irvine and will major in biology. Her parents, Elvira and Sergio, “always,” said Jordan, “encouraged Sabrina to pursue higher education.”

Martha Brown presented the Violet Richardson Award to Bobadilla. Named for the first president of the first Soroptimist club of professional and businesswomen, the award was created as a way to recognize young women 14 to 17 for their volunteer service to their communities.

Brown, an active public safety volunteer and Explorers program advisor, said Bobadilla has demonstrated the “exemplary community service” the award was created to recognize. Bobadilla is a SPPD Police Explorer, and “I’ve worked alongside of her, watched her interact with people.”

SPPD Explorers “donate so many hours helping officers doing small tasks, being their support,” and Brown noted Bobadilla is not only one of the best, but also among the most dedicated. 

“What Jaleza does is unbelievable... I love her like a daughter, she’s a good girl” whose honor drew the presence of Reserve Sgt. Dave Curran, the Explorers assistant coordinator and his wife Melanie. “The Currans teach Explorers how to become better citizens,” and oversee their participation in numerous community events that Explorers always volunteer for. 

Brown noted Reserve Officer Rosalie Madrigal, an Explorers advisor, was at the SISP event to show support for Bobadilla, the 2011 Explorer of the Year, who plans to pursue a law enforcement career. Bobadilla received a $50 check and a $200 donation for the SPPD Explorer Post. 

Violet Richardson (Ward) was committed to creating opportunities for girls and young women through her affiliations with Soroptimist, the Girl Scout Council and the American Association of University Women. Her passion for volunteer service, particularly as it affected women and girls, has been an inspiration to Soroptimists throughout the years.

By being the recipient of the SISP recognition, Bobadilla is now eligible for higher monetary awards for herself and the Explorers in the larger Soroptimist organization.