Ten Santa Clarita Valley women will be honored Saturday evening at the fourth annual Empowering HeARTS Gala when the event recognizes “women with empowering hearts,” said DaAnne Smith, executive director of Single Mothers Outreach.
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The gala will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center on the Valencia campus of College of the Canyons.
“Each of the honorees has been paired with an artist and their inspirational story told through art,” said Smith.
Honorees include: Anna Frutos-Sanchez, public affairs region manager for Southern California Edison; Gloria Mercado-Fortine, a trustee for the William S. Hart School Board and CEO of Global Education Solutions; Heather Stewart, academy program coordinator Asian markets at Princess Cruises; Jenny Ketchepaw, vice president and corporate trainer of Community Bank; Leslie Carr, director of professional development at College of the Canyons; Margo Hudson founder of The Closet on Main; Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean; journalist Michele Emerick Buttelman of KHTS AM 1220; Rachel Rodriguez, Psychology graduate from California State University, Northridge and Stacie Locke, executive assistant to the CEO of Help Worldwide, Inc.
Artists include: Ted Dayton, Ginger Mac Donald, Dawn Hovhannisyan, Scott Groller, Lindsey Schlick, Brooke Ritter, Josh Premako, Jen Parker, Kathy Boyer and Paige Jeffers Burghardt.
The gala is a fundraiser for Single Mothers Outreach which provides support services for single parents in the SCV.
Smith said the focus of Single Mothers Outreach is to help single parent families move towards self-sufficiency.
“We want families to thrive, not just survive,” she said. “We hold families accountable for their growth. To stay in the program they have to prove they are working, going to school or growing in their skills in some way.”
Empowering HeARTS began as the brainchild of photographer Yoti Telio of Santa Clarita Photographic Studio, said Smith.
“This event started when I told Yoti Telio about all the amazing stories I’ve heard from women in our program,” Smith said. “I thought it would be nice to showcase those stories in an artistic way.”
Smith said the idea of marrying art with an individual’s life story came from her exposure to the “A Day in My Shoes” event held to benefit the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley.
“I thought it was a great way to tell women’s stories and include artistic expression,” she said.
Telio suggested to Smith that the event be held as a contest.
“That’s how Empowering HeARTS was birthed,” she said. “There are many powerful stories of women who are empowered or have empowered others. Those stories are often unknown to the public.”
Smith said Empowering HeARTS is an opportunity to tell these stories to the public and to give the SCV artistic community a chance to showcase their talents.
Dawn Hovhannisyan is chairwoman of the 2013 Empowering HeARTS Gala. The board of directors of Single Mothers Outreach includes Hovhannisyan, Jeffrey Shapiro, Trevor Rice, Steve Corn, Marc Emmer, Jason Lane, Martin Rodriguez, Gary Saenger, Connie Wade Sparks and Dora Zavala.
Tickets are still available for Empowering HeARTS Gala fundraiser 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2 at the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons. Tickets are $65 in advance or $75 at the door. For more information visit www.singlemothersoutreach.org.
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Source: Santa Clarita News