The determination to one day be a counselor and help inspire women and girls who have been through domestic violence is what this year’s Live Your Dream awardee envisions herself to be.
Dorina Castro’s life story was chosen out of seven other women who also bravely shared their experiences with the hope to receive the $3,000 cash award last Saturday at the Live Your Dream gala of the Soroptimist International NMI at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.
Castro, a mother, is a domestic violence survivor.
“To all the women who are still battling domestic violence, you can recover,” Castro said. “It is hard but not without riding the waves of many obstacles such as hardships [and] sacrifices. You are destined to find courage, determination, and commitment in pursuing your dreams once again.”
Castro, who was grateful to Soroptimist International for choosing her, also expressed appreciation to Karidat Social Services counselor Elaine Dela Cruz, whose “tough love” helped Castro in the most trying of times.
The Live Your Dream awardee also shared that various programs and nonprofit organizations such as the Karidat family court, the Domestic Violence Intervention Center, and the “Get Hope” program helped her in her time of need and have led her to where she needs to be.
Along the way, Castro got a job at the Public School System as a special education teacher, while also getting her associate degree.
“As I was standing there on graduation day, I looked back [at how I] told myself that I am going to be that person wearing that black gown. …I want to one day become a counselor like Elaine, and help inspire women and girls who have [gone] through domestic violence,” she said.
Live Your Dream is a program of Soroptimist International that gives cash awards to women who are pursuing an undergraduate or training degree, who are the financial heads of their household, and need the funds to be able to continue and pursue their education.
In 2016 to 2018 alone, over 3,000 women worldwide received the “Live Your Dream” award, with a total of $4.5 million given out, said Soroptimist International NMI president Donna S. Krum.
“Every woman’s ticket out is an education,” Krum said. “When you educate a woman, you change the life of that woman, her family and her community, and the world.”
Krum is encouraging everyone who has a heart for women and who wants to make a difference in the lives of women in the CNMI to join Soroptimist International NMI. To know more about the group, visit soroptimistinternational.org.