The Carmen Sarro Award

"for Improving the Status of Women through Community Service" 

Carmen Sarro is the epitome of the spirit of volunteerism among Zonta members of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The award recognizes and celebrates the life of our dear member, Carmen Sarro, who had such a positive impact on the people and organizations in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Carmen was a two time president of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita, a charter member of the Canyon Theater Guild, President of the Santa Clarita Arts Council and active in numerous charities including the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Meet the 2022 Women in Service Nominees!

Caroline Bybee - SCV Senior Center

When Caroline began her volunteerism at the SCV Senior Center, she immediately became a driving force contributing to the well-being of seniors. She volunteers in several positions with unparalleled compassion and positivity.  As an integral part of the Meals on Wheels program, Caroline delivers meals and so much more to homebound seniors.  She compassionately treats each person like family, providing hugs and reassurance to comfort the lonely. With focused professionalism and compassion, Caroline contributes to quality of life for countless seniors.

Marianne Cederlind - Carousel Ranch

Marianne is committed and passionate about Carousel Ranch.  She is always working to make sure the ranch has everything. She is willing to take on the biggest challenge and always has the attitude that “we can do it”.… even when things seem impossible. Marianne has led the board through several strategic planning processes resulting in a large increase in the number of children served as well as revenue to support growth.  She is also involved in their signature event, Heart of the West, always going above and beyond.

Lynda Cook – Sunrise Rotary Club

On a visit to a Honduras orphanage, Linda became aware the girls needed yarn to knit and sell scarves to earn much needed funds.  At Linda's behest, Rotary gathered yarn from many sources and sent it to the girls. Linda has volunteered with the Elks, delivered dictionaries to schools and the Salvation Army, with the Adopt a Family program, and ringing the bell at Christmas.  Linda works tirelessly, often in the background in support of not only women and girls, but their families and loved ones.

Sue Endress – Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club

Sue has been a Youth Advisor for 16 years, working with 100 students a year to encourage them into the world of volunteering. She was SCV 2015 Woman of the Year. Sue was a founding member of the former Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center Foundation.  She donates countless hours to work with kids through the Rotary Club where she has guided and mentored approximately 1,000 students at four local high schools, teaching them the principles of ethics and the importance of service to others.

Tracy Hauser - Single Mothers Outreach

Tracy is a longtime supporter of SMO. She has always helped in any capacity she can and financially supports initiatives to create awareness in SMO’s mission. She has volunteered in Make a Mother’s Day, helping to raise funds to inspire women and making them feel celebrated. Tracy always has ideas and makes networking efforts to link SMO’s mission with other organizations to help everyone achieve their goals more efficiently, creating bigger impact. Tracy is also a supporter of the resale store, Closet on Main.

Sharlene Johnson – College of the Canyons Foundation

Sharlene served the last two years as Alumni Chair. Her team worked to help provide mentorships highlighting students and connected them to business leaders to offer development and connections to pursue their career path. Additionally, she forged a relationship with the school’s Associate Student Government Officers to set up panels of professionals to help students pursue their future career. She ensured that the panels were comprised of 50% women in order to showcase the path that young women students could obtain.

Jan Ladd – Assistance League of Santa Clarita

As a founding member of Assistance League, Jan has been empowering women to make a difference in our community for over 30 years. She has held many leadership positions and has served as a board member for seven years. By her strong example of quiet work, Jan teaches young women and seasoned members the skills needed to reach the League’s philanthropic goals. Her example within the chapter ultimately extends out into the future, improving the lives of women and the communities where their members live and serve.

Alison Lindemann – Circle of Hope

Alison serves a multitude of roles for Circle of Hope. As a cancer survivor, she felt a calling to serve and to be involved at a personal level with the organization. She joined their board of directors in 2019 and has continually increased her involvement and impact on the organization. She co-chaired the annual Vine2Wine event spending hours overcoming huge obstacles to pull off the large event. At the same time, she chaired their annual Circle of Hope Tea and was recently elected Vice-Chairman of the Board.

Katherine Lujan – Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club

Since joining the club six years ago, Katherine has been involved in teen leadership programs: Leaders in Training, and Keystone.  She is the 2021-2022 Keystone president and is involved in the workforce development program, Kollab, supporting youth with professional mentors as they explore potential careers. Katherine tutors Club freshmen and sophomores in high school, checking in with them daily to see how they are doing in school and at home. A student Hart High School, Katherine is a member of the Key Club and Spanish Honors Society.

Cherise Moore – WiSH Foundation

Cherise has been a member of the WiSH Board of Directors since 2013.  During her tenure, WiSH expanded their grant writing efforts and engaged in fundraising events increasing revenue for students.  Writing grants, Cherise served underprivileged and students of color that allowing WiSH to partner with the District’s College Planning Conference.  Currently, Cherise serves on the Board of Trustees for the Hart District and ensures that WiSH efforts are well known throughout the district.  She also serves on the Succession Planning Committee and the Wine on the Roof committee.

Betty Burke-Oldfield – Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation

Betty is the original founder of the hospital’s Home Tour, benefitting the Center for Women and Newborns. She is also an early member of the hospital board of directors and was responsible for encouraging Henry Mayo to seek its trauma designation. Betty avoids the limelight but pursues things meaningful to her: family and her community. Quietly and gracefully, she’s been a role model for women for 50 years. Betty has paved the way for more opportunities for women, and has assisted our community in health and social services.

Susan Pearsall – American Cancer Society

Susan is very passionate about the ACS’s mission because of her sense of community and the personal impact of cancer on her immediate family. She is part of a greater global movement to save the lives of those impacted by cancer, most of whom she has never met. Susan started with Relay for Life in 1999, and after that she was hooked.  She is part of the Event Leadership Team that plan and facilitate the event.  Susan also volunteers at the Discovery Shop.

Debbie Quintana – Fostering Youth Independence

Debbie is one of FYI’s first volunteers.  An Ally since 2017, she is a role model for other FYI Allies and a campion for the organization. She gives guidance, encouragement, security, stability and a safety net to foster youth reaching adulthood. Debbie is involved in her youth’s life by forming a close bond.  There have been many personal challenges as an Ally, but with Debbie’s support, her youth has achieved her goal of earning bachelor’s degree and will soon become an elementary school teacher.

Stephanie Sewell – Soroptimist International of Valencia

Stephanie is a strong, dedicated leader of the club, constantly guiding and helping it make the best choices to assist women and girls in the community. She has chaired their largest fundraiser, Bras for a Cause, which supports local breast cancer patients.  Stephanie understands that individuals make up the fiber of the organization and need to be treated with as much respect and gratitude as possible. Stephanie’s volunteer work encompasses empowerment and assistance for women and girls, which is a cause near and dear her heart.

Doreen Slater – HMNM Hospital Home Tour

Doreen has volunteered in every aspect of the Home Tour for the past 6 years. Her role as Boutique Chair is highlighted by her organization skills, which resulted in creating a blueprint that is now used with great success.  She feels that passing the tradition of the “volunteer spirit” to the next generation is critical for the future.  Her passion is helping individuals and organizations that support women and girls.  Whenever women need to be heard, Doreen will sit and listen.

Sue Tweddell – Soroptimist International of Greater SCV

Sue works for the betterment of women and girls through her participation with SIGSCV’s Live Your Dream.  As program chair, she is responsible for community outreach to find viable candidates to apply for this award and assisting them with their applications.  She is also a member of the Dream It, Be It career support program for girls, where she assists in group trainings. Sue is also a member of the Go Girls committee which works with elementary through high school underprivileged girls.

Debra Wallace – Samuel Dixon Family Health Center

Debra has been volunteering for the SDFHC for almost 30 years, sharing in the belief of helping those less fortunate in our community. As a nurse practitioner and university professor, she guides the placement of her students in SDFHC programs focusing on improving cervical cancer and mammogram screenings for uninsured and underinsured females. Every year, Debra presents eight to twelve nursing students who dedicate their experience to SDFHC programs such as Every Woman Counts (EWC) and Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment  (Fam PACT).

Aida Weinstein - Child & Family Center

Aida is passionate about her role as a volunteer supporting women and girls. Her contributions to Child & Family Center’s fundraising efforts are crucial in providing funding to support their programs, specifically Domestic Violence, which offers services and life-saving emergency shelter to those in abusive relationships.  In addition, she spreads awareness about the services that give women the courage to reach out for help, and gives hope to those breaking free from abuse, thus creating a better life for themselves and their family.

Sonja Wendt – American Association of University Women

Sonja’s passion is the Tech Trek program, a week-long math and science camp for 7th grade girls. It provides hands-on learning designed to help young women find their passions in STEM subjects.   While working at JPL, Sonja volunteered at the regional Science Bowl and Ocean Science Bowl competitions whose goal was to inspire young people to choose a STEM career.  Sonja believes small acts of kindness and small acts of support add up to a thriving community.  “Everyone doing just a little bit, makes a big impact.”

What Nominees Have Said:

"I would like to thank you for creating such a beautiful and meaningful "Women in Service" Celebration"

"Under such difficult circumstances it was a perfect celebration"

"It was such an honor to be nominated and then recognized by your organization. Bravo!"

"Thank you for all you do for our community and around the world"

“We are the patchwork of a quilt that holds the community together.”

About Women in Service

The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley has been hosting this event since 1984. This annual celebration honors dynamic and outstanding women volunteers from local nonprofits throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.

These outstanding women contribute their time and expertise at local nonprofit organizations which improve the lives of women and girls in the Santa Clarita Valley, and make our community a great place to live. Nominees were multi-generational, inspiring the celebrants of how volunteer women have strengthened the backbone of our community and set the groundwork for the future.

All nominees are honored; however, one nominee is chosen to receive the Carmen Sarro Award for “Improving the Status of Women Through Community Service”. All nominees must be 16 years or older. Both the nominees and their organizations are recognized for their services to the community as outstanding women volunteers and organizations. Individuals can be re-nominated for their service if they have not received the Carmen Sarro Award for exceptional service and giving.

This award recognizes Carmen, a longtime Zonta member who passed away in 2003. In addition to her Zonta service, she volunteered for several other organizations in Santa Clarita Valley. Zonta wanted to remember Carmen for being an icon through her self-giving and dedication to the community. We encourage everyone to emulate her. Carmen’s daughter, Christine Sexton, takes pride every year in presenting this exceptional award.

All nonprofit organizations are encouraged to nominate “one of their own” for this recognition.

Event attendance costs contribute to raising funds to help us advocate and empower women and girls. Your donation will enable us to continue this important recognition of our outstanding community volunteers who demonstrate that advocacy in their service work. Zonta has continued to do service work to help women and girls locally and worldwide during this pandemic.

Thank you to our Media Sponsors!