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. lngram 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.
Nonprofit organizations nominated 19 women for the award. Alvidrez was nominated for the Shining Star Award by Matt Nelson, chief executive officer of the SCV Boys & Girls Club.
Nelson’s nomination said that, during the COVID-19 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 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 America and the world visiting Soroptimist clubs.
In the SCV, Fleming, principal and co-owner of Valencia Acura, was well known for her hands-on philanthropic work with dozens of local nonprofits. Don and Cheri Fleming were named SCV Man and Woman of the Year in 2004 for their profound contribution to nonprofit efforts in the SCV.
To contribute to the Cheri Fleming Legacy Fund, visit go.soroptimist.org/in-memoriam/cheri-fleming-legacy-fund.