The sisterhood

Zaneta Encarnacion

Mon September 28, 2015 10:34am

My career in philanthropy has given me the opportunity to meet amazing people with contagious passion for a wide variety of causes. Sofia Salgado Robitaille and I have briefly met at various community gatherings, but I had the opportunity to learn more about Salgado Robitaille and her passion over the summer. I was thrilled and proud to learn she lives in my community of Otay Ranch! Robitaille, her husband Jim, and their 9-year-old twins Olivia and Daniel have called Otay Ranch home for the past seven years.
“I love how our community embraces diversity and that everyone is so friendly. We moved to Chula Vista because of the excellent school system and the dual immersion program. We were pleasantly surprised about the awesome services the city of Chula Vista provides through their recreational centers. Even the shopping centers are family friendly with planned concerts and more!”
When we sat down for our meeting (unlike the hi-bye-drive-by greetings we previously had), Salgado Robitaille’s passion for empowering Latinas was evident in the smile on her face and determination in her eyes. She has volunteered and been a member of MANA de San Diego for more than 15 years and has worked for the organization the last seven years. It was MANA’s “sisterhood” that attracted her to the organization where she met women who support and mentor each other to succeed in their careers and personal lives. In fact, she met current Mayor Mary Casillas Salas through MANA, and at the mayor’s encouragement she applied to serve on the Cultural Arts Commission. She is now a commissioner and provides leadership and recommendations to the mayor and council on cultural art grants and activities citywide.
Salgado Robitaille’s position at MANA allows her to see and encourage the potential in others now. She has the good fortune to work in the center of her passion while giving back to the community, making new friends, learning new things and having fun! One MANA program is near and dear to her heart — Hermanitas® — a one-on-one mentorship program helping at-risk Latina students graduate from high school and pursue higher education.
MANA de San Diego’s 20th Brindis Gala is coming up on Oct. 23. The theme for the event is Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — and will be held at the University of San Diego. This event helps us raise money for MANA’s programs including the Hermanitas Youth Leadership Mentor Program. If you can’t make the gala, I encourage you all to become members and volunteers for the organization.
For more information on MANA San Diego visit their website www.manasd.org.
Zaneta Encarnacion is engagement director of communications and external affairs at South Bay Community Services.