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| Thursday, Jun 30, 2022
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Photo Left to right, Matt Nelson, Abigail Alvidrez, Pam Ingram and Kim Kurowski. Courtesy SIGSCV.


Abigail Alvidrez, of the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club, was recently named the recipient of the inaugural Cheri Fleming Shining Star Legacy Award.

The awards luncheon, hosted by Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley, was held June 12 at Hyatt Regency Valencia and attracted a sold-out crowd of 180 attendees.

“Cheri always encouraged and inspired others to participate in the community,” said Pam Ingram, event founder and co-chair and a Past President of SIGSCV. Ingram said SIGSCV wanted to do something to keep Fleming’s memory and name alive.
“We asked nonprofits to nominate someone within their organizations who did something truly spectacular in the past year. Someone Cheri would have thought of as a shining star and someone Cheri would have wanted to mentor,” Ingram said.

More than $20,000 was raised from the event to benefit the Cheri Fleming Legacy Fund created by Soroptimist International in recognition of Fleming.

“Soroptimist International set up the legacy fund with Don Fleming to honor Cheri, which is an honor that not many people receive,” said Kim Kurowski, event co-chair and SIGSCV Past President.
Kurowski said the success of the event brought the message of the work Soroptimist does to a wide audience.
“We raised a lot of money that is going to help women and girls throughout the world,” she said.
Alvidrez is the Branch Manager of the James T. Ventress Clubhouse in Newhall.

She was nominated for the Shining Star Award by Matt Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of the SCV Boys & Girls Club.
Nelson submitted that during the COVID pandemic 2020-2021 school year, Alvidrez led a diverse team of youth development professionals to develop a remote learning program at Newhall Elementary School. The program focused on providing critical resources to 80 children so they would stay on track in school by connecting with teachers remotely, receiving healthy meals and receiving social emotional support. She planned and developed the program, hired and trained a diverse team and weathered the challenges of the pandemic. Alvidrez planned another new program in the community of Val Verde for summer 2021. Children there had not had in-person recreational opportunities for over a year. She, assembled a team, developed a plan and launched a new program to serve those most in need. That summer 45 children benefited from the programs led by Alvidrez.

“We are very proud of Abigail, she is a great leader and did so much for children during uncertain times,” said Nelson.

Don Fleming, Fleming’s husband, was on the panel that unanimously selected Alvidrez to receive the award from the group of nominees.

“I think Abigail was the perfect recipient,” he said. “I think Abigail is who Cheri would have wanted. She is a person with lots of potential and the kind of person Cheri could put her arms around and guide her.”
Fleming said Alvidrez “was a very impressive nominee.”

“Cheri would have been proud,” he said.

Other members of the selection committee included Brian Fleming, Dennis Sugasawara and Christopher Ingram.
Alvidrez said she was honored to receive the inaugural Shining Star Award.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in the community,” she said. “I am so happy that Don Fleming was so proud of me. I am so very humbled and I hope to continue my community outreach with families, parents and students at the Boys & Girls Club. I really love what I do.”

Cheri Fleming was a founding member of SIGSCV in 2008 and previously a member of the Soroptimist Club of Santa Clarita Valley. She died in November of 2020 from complications following a brain aneurysm.
A member of Soroptimist International of SCV since 1999, Fleming served as a Soroptimist International of the Americas board member, then as president, presiding over 36,000 Soroptimist members in 20 countries.
During her tenure as 2013-2014 Soroptimist International of the Americas President. Fleming traveled throughout North and South American and the world visiting Soroptimist clubs.

In the Santa Clarita Valley Fleming, principal and co-owner of Valencia Acura, was well known for her hands-on philanthropic work with dozens of local nonprofits.

As a female pioneer in the male-dominated auto industry, Fleming was named Dealer of the Year by Newsweek Magazine in 2006.

Fleming and her husband, Don Fleming were named SCV Man and Woman of the Year in 2004 for their profound contribution to nonprofit efforts in the SCV.

A small sample of Fleming’s many volunteer activities includes:

Service on many boards and foundations including the Henry Mayo Newhall Health Foundation and SCV Child and Family Center.

Fundraising for the American Cancer Society, where she co-chaired the Relay for Life and became chairwoman of the Cancer Society’s Los Angeles Regional Unit Council.

Raised funds for the Sheila R. Veloz Breast Imaging Center at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.

The Flemings co-chaired the massive SCV Boys & Girls Club Auction for three consecutive years, raising an all-time record of $513,000 for the club in 2006.

Chairwoman of the Arthritis Foundation Walk Chair in 2006.

The Flemings received the 2019 Silver Spur Award for community service awarded by the College of the Canyons Foundation.
The Shining Star luncheon included a tea room fashion show by Assistance League and Closet on Main as well as a live auction.

The live auction included a round of golf for four, with carts, at three SCV courses: Valencia Country Club, Sand Canyon Country Club and The Oaks Club at Valencia.

The auction also included a personal item curated from the Cheri Fleming Collection.

“We raised $2,500 from an evening bag owned by Cheri and donated by Don Fleming,” Ingram said. “He also donated another small bag that raised $900.”

Image 2000 donated use of a six-bedroom home in Cabo San Lucas for a week which fetched $7,000.
“The homeowner was in the audience and when she saw the trip sold for $7,000, she gave us a second trip that also sold for $7,000,” said Ingram.

Nonprofit organizations nominated 19 women as deserving honorees for the award. Each nominee was recognized at the luncheon.

In addition to Alvidrez the other nominees recognized at the event were:

— Brittany Barlog, nominated by JCI Santa Clarita.

— Renee Berlin, nominated by Carousel Ranch, Inc.

— Melanie Cotterell, nominated by Assistance League Santa Clarita.

— Staci Daniels-Sommer, nominated by Soroptimist of Valencia.

— Nickie De Tolve, nominated by Samuel Dixon Family Health Center.

— Cheryl Gray, nominated by Circle of Hope, Inc.

— Elizabeth Goff, nominated by the SCV Senior Center.

— Jennifer Gregg, nominated by Bridge to Home.

— Jean La Corte, nominated by the Child and Family Center.

— Jill Mellady, nominated by College of the Canyons Foundation.

— Nicole Miller, nominated by the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

— Patty Norona, nominated by Single Mothers Outreach.

— Carolyn Olsen, nominated by Fostering Youth Independence.

— Tiffany Olson, nominated by Straightening Reins Foundation.

— Linda Pedersen, nominated by Rotary of Santa Clarita Valley.

— Lindsay Schlick, nominated by the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

— Holly Schroeder, nominated by Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation.

— Natalie Slater, nominated by the Michael Hoefflin Foundation.

Ingram said the Rising Star event will be an annual fundraiser to benefit the Cheri Fleming Legacy Fund.

“We plan to hold the event close to Cheri’s birthday, June 13,” she said.

In memory of Fleming’s lifetime of achievements Soroptimist International has established the Cheri Fleming Legacy Fund.

All donations will directly contribute to aiding Soroptimist’s mission of helping women and girls around the world live their dreams.

To contribute visit the Cheri Fleming Legacy Fund.

For more information about Soroptimist International of Greater Santa Clarita Valley visit SIGSCV.

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