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Home » Santa Clarita News » Wilk Nominates Three Santa Clarita Valley Women For Award
Wilk Nominates Three Santa Clarita Valley Women For Award

Wilk Nominates Three Santa Clarita Valley Women For Award

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, nominated three Santa Clarita Valley women and one Simi Valley woman for the KCET Women’s History Month Local Hero Award.

Each nominee was chosen because of their standing in the community and their work to improve and enrich the lives of others. These leaders were nominated in four different categories; education, social services, community activism, and business.

“Each of these women has greatly impacted their communities. Their dedication to improving and enriching the lives of others is inspiring. Nominating them for the KCET Local Hero Awards was an easy decision,” Wilk said.

For education, Wilk nominated Amber Raskin from Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School (SCVi). In 2005, Raskin made a significant impact on hundreds of local families when she began the process of establishing a charter school. Her vision became a reality in 2008 when SCVi Charter School opened.

The school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) program applicant—the first school in the Valley to pursue this academically challenging and balanced education program. This program is used by the most innovative schools in the world. Raskin continues to serve on the board of directors.

For social services, Wilk nominated Samantha or “Samy Rae” Strausbaugh. Samy Rae became homeless at 18 years old. Even in the midst of her homelessness, she gave her resources by buying a meal for a stranger or giving them a ride. After some time, she became a client of the Samaritan Center, a facility that helps the homeless in Simi Valley.

When the Samaritan Center was in need of a new kitchen manager, Samy Rae jumped at the opportunity. Although it started as a volunteer job, it ended up as a paid position. In April 2013, Samy Rae will co-chair the Samaritan Center’s biggest annual fundraiser, Box City.

For community activism, Wilk nominated Sandra Cattell. She has been instrumental in the efforts to safeguard and defend the pristine areas of the Santa Clarita Valley. Cattell was an early advocate for open space. She is now a member of the Open Space Benefit Committee which allows for the city of Santa Clarita to purchase land to preserve. She is also an elected member of the SCV Sierra Club serving as the Open Space and Wildlands chair. 

For business, Wilk nominated Jill Mellady from Mellady Direct Marketing. In addition to her numerous business clients, Mellady has become a dedicated partner for several vital local nonprofit organizations. She is the immediate past chair of the College of the Canyons Foundation, where she currently sits on the executive board. She is also the co-chair of Major Gifts for COC’s Culinary Arts capital campaign, which has raised a little more than $1 million in its first six months.

If any of Wilk’s nominees win in their respective categories, their stories will be broadcast on KCET in March.

Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R- Santa Clarita, represents the 38th Assembly District, which encompasses Simi Valley, the northern section of the San Fernando Valley and most of the Santa Clarita Valley.

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Wilk Nominates Three Santa Clarita Valley Women For Award

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About Perry Smith

Perry Smith is a print and broadcast journalist who has won several awards for his focused, hyperlocal community coverage in several different regions of the country. In addition to five years of experience covering the Santa Clarita Valley, Smith, a San Fernando Valley native, has worked in newspapers and news websites in Los Angeles, the Northwest, the Central Valley and the South, before coming to KHTS in 2012. To contact Smith, email him at
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