"It was a big inspiration that someone believed in me when I was having a hard time believing in myself."

- Eve Reeves
Recipient of the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund

VWrage

Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund Winners 2017

Five local women who have faced life-changing situations will share $7,000 in Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarship grants presented by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley in its recent Annual Awards Night program. Virginia Wrage Committee co-chairs Barbara S. Cochran and Jaci Hoffman and Randy Wrage, son of the program's namesake, presented the awards to Lisette Ferguson, Jennifer Campbell, Jennifer Kennedy, Kelly Ongle and Annelie (no last name) in a room packed with Zonta members, awards recipients and their friends and families.

Ferguson became a single mother two years ago when she left an abusive marriage. Finishing school became imperative for the Stevenson Ranch resident. When she obtains her business degree from National University in March 2019, she will work to become a certified fraud examiner. She hopes eventually to work for the FBI and then run her own business. She will use her scholarship to help cover a school loan.

Campbell is a Castaic resident and single mother who enrolled at College of the Canyons to become a registered nurse. Last year she was diagnosed with Chiari malformation type 1, a congenital defect that had previously been  undiagnosed. Due to complications from subsequent surgeries and the disease itself, Jennifer suffers regularly from headaches, hearing loss and tinnitus. There is no cure for her condition, but she perseveres so that she can set a good example for her four-year-old son. She plans to purchase school supplies and books with her Zonta scholarship.

Valencia resident Jennifer Kennedy believes that surviving breast cancer two times has made her a better person. Now she can serve others and understand exactly what they are going through. She was 32 years old when she first heard the devastating news, and more than two decades later, she received the diagnosis again. Jennifer turned her pain into her passion and created Footprints in Pink, a resource for women, caretakers and families going through breast cancer. Footprints in Pink offers its free service locally and nationally to all patients, helping them find free products and financial resources and deal with other aspects that affect them and their families. Her Zonta scholarship will allow her to expand her services to more breast cancer victims and their families.

Ongie's life altering experience began at age 20, when her son suffered a stroke in utero, leaving him gravely disabled for life. In 2009, she gave birth to another child, who was diagnosed with autism. A resident of Valencia, Kellie has returned to school to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education with an emphasis in special education. The scholarship will help pay for her studies at the University of Laverne. She expects to graduate in 2019, and would eventually like to earn a Ph.D. in special education.

Canyon Country resident Annelie, who prefers not to use her last name, developed a passion for flying in junior high school, but life took her on an extended timeline to achieve that dream. In July 2016, she passed the written FAA test and flew her first solo flight two months later. While working 30 hours each week and home schooling four daughters, Annelie manages to attend Glendale Community College and volunteer in the community. With her scholarship, she will obtain her private pilot license and begin her second phase of  training. Her  goal is to become a commercial airline pilot.

Each year the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund provides awards to deserving women in the Santa Clarita Valley community

vwrageVirginia Wrage was a dedicated and loved Zontian, mother, and grandmother who, at the age of 50, faced a family crisis that resulted in a major career change for her. Virginia applied for, and after a rigorous nine-month course, fulfilled a childhood dream of becoming a flight attendant for American Airlines.

Two years later, Virginia was diagnosed with cancer. Before her death, she helped plan a fund that would assist other mature women through challenges such as those she faced.

Since its inception in 1995, the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund has aided more than 35 women with awards ranging from $500 to $2000.

Many recipients are returning to school at mid-life to be able to support themselves and their children. Some are victims of domestic abuse. Some are single mothers. Some are struggling to complete G.E.D.s or college degrees. Some are on the verge of becoming homeless. All are facing a difficult life challenge.

Each year, the Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund provides awards to deserving women in the Santa Clarita Valley community. The members of Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley are honored to be able to assist these women in the name of Virginia Wrage.