2019 Annual Awards Ceremony May 8, 2019

Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) awarded $21,000 in grants, scholarships and a one-time Special Achievement Scholarship at the Club's annual Awards Night program, May 8, 2019 at Embassy Suites Hotel. The evening included hors d'oeuvres and a social, followed by the program and presentation of awards.

Awards are based on the Club's fund-raising efforts in the previous year. Committee chairs and co-chairs announced each winner at the awards program, the first public announcement of the recipients.

Four Community Grant recipients shared $5,000 to support their programs that empower women and improve their lives.  Family Promise will provide an Emergency Motel Shelter Program to support women and their children who need to be housed until they find safe housing.  Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) will provide financial assistance to young women who need to furnish a rented room after a relationship ends and provide assistance to purchase professional clothing for young women beginning a career.   Sam Dixon Family Health Centers will offer assistance to women of all ages, with low income and are under-insured, whose treatment requires radiology services to diagnose medical condition accurately and identify the most appropriate treatment plan.   Single Mothers Outreach offers a new program that will guide women through a learning process that allows them to establish principles tailored to their individual needs;  six sessions will be offered - to include group counseling, group activities, individual therapy and follow up support.

Five women are sharing $10,500 in Virginia Wrage Memorial Scholarships given to mature women who have faced a life-changing situation and need help to become self-sufficient again.  The award is named for a former Zonta member who recreated her life as a flight attendant in her 50s and followed her dream for several years before succumbing to cancer.    This year’s recipients are Carrie Dawn Duquette, Arbi Asmarian, Heth Mares, Anna Isayan, and Carol Smith Sparkman.T

The  recipient of the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business scholarship was awarded $1,500.   Irina Rhatz will receive her master’s in Professional Accountancy in August 2020 from the Graduate School of Business at California State University Northridge.   Motivated to go into accounting when she moved from Russia to the United States, she completed an undergraduate degree in business from Santa Monica College and began teaching General Office and Bookkeeping classes at Community Educational College, an accredited non-profit vocational school.  She created a variety of instructional materials for the accounting and QuickBooks courses.  Her goal is to become a CPA and continue teaching accounting to underprivileged students.  Her application has been forwarded to Zonta's District 9, where the winner will receive an additional $2,000 cash prize and become eligible to compete for 12 additional prizes of $8,000 each from Zonta International. The award is open to women who are pursuing their second year of an undergraduate program through the final year of a master’s program in business administration or business-related fields.

Three young women share $2,000 in the Club's Young Women in Public Affairs Award (YWPA). The prize money is distributed to first, second and third place winners, who attend local high schools or college, and are 16 – 19 years of age. The competition, which also has District 9 and Zonta International award levels, provides a potential award amount of up to an additional $5,500.  This award is designed to encourage young women to take an interest in public affairs and perhaps pursue a career in a related field.  This year's recipients are Jennifer Elliott who has future goals to become a leader in government to advocate for improvement in the status of women;  Ashley Hernandez from Saugus High whose goal is to become a social worker;  and Katherine Jurowski from West Ranch High who's goal is to tear down barriers for special need adults or those who have mental differences.

Ashley Hernandez, a YWPA recipient also received a Special Achievement Scholarship, a one-time recognition of $2,000.  Her mother, Carolina Orozco Hernandez, was a leading participant in the Zonta’s Healthy Kids Club (HKC), a partnership program with the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center in Val Verde in the 1990's.  Zonta had pledged to support the girls from HKC in going to college. Ashley’s Special Achievement Scholarship was a way of honoring her outstanding high school performance as well as her mother’s past service to Zonta and the community. Ashley will be continuing her studies at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

The Zonta Club of SCV is proud to present these scholarships and grants to women and local organizations with the desire that more women of all ages will be empowered in society – locally and worldwide.