The Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley celebrated several non-profit organizations, two young students who have made significant contributions to the local community and their 2013 Zontian of the Year, during their monthly business meeting on Wednesday, May 8, held at the Hilton Gardens Inn on The Old Road.
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They awarded $6,100 worth of Community Grants to five different non-profit organizations, which they believe share Zonta’s mission of improving the lives of women:
The Boys and Girls Club of SCV will use the money to fund their SMART (Skills Mastery and Resistance Training) program for girls ages 8 to 17.
Single Mothers Outreach’s Financial Recovery Program, reaching out to poverty-level single mothers, will also benefit from the grant.
Carousel Ranch is a returning recipient of the Community Grant, which will provide scholarships for Go Girls Equestrian Therapy for special needs children.
The Child and Family Center will use the grant towards their Guardians of Hope program, reaching out to women and girls in need of guidance.
The Domestic Violence Center hopes to purchase a Spanish version of the curriculum “Active Parenting Now,” which they use for their parenting classes as part of the Stop the Violence: Mothers Break the Cycle program.
“We were happy to have five outstanding applicants who fit Zonta’s mission well,” said Community Grants Committee Chair Sharon Rodriguez. “Each of these grants will have a direct impact on the lives of women and girls in our community. The top three recipients have received grants from us in the past, but all of the overall scores were close.”
Two young women also received $1,000 grants in honor of their dedicated community service and commitment to leadership and hard work.
The Young Women in Public Affairs award went to Ashley Keith, a senior at Valencia High School. Keith has been a member of the Associated student Body at Valencia for all of her four years in high school, serving as sophomore class president, junior class secretary ad ASB vice president.
She also performs community service through her Girl Scout troop and has earned her Gold Award, the highest honor available to a Girl Scout. She has participated in the City of Santa Clarita’s River Rally community cleanup drive, donated to the military, organized food drives for the food pantry and made sandwiches for the women’s shelter.
Through ASB, she has worked closely with the English as a Second Language program at Valencia and has organized gatherings where both ESL and English-speaking students could make friends and social connections on campus. She was selected to participate in California Girls State, a leadership conference with goals to motivate young women to become more active in politics, more educated voters and more understanding of the legislative process.
“Zonta International believes young women are the key to women’s advancement in the field of public service,” explained Cheryl Wasserman, Zonta’s YWPA Committee chair. “The YWPA award encourages young women who have demonstrated leadership skills and interest in civic causes to continue pursuing their dreams.”
Danielle Horsman, who is currently completing her sophomore year at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, received Zonta’s Jane M. Klausman Women in Business award. Horsman expects to earn her bachelor’s degree in May 2015, with a major in business administration, minor in psychology and four semesters of Spanish.
Her goal is to become a management consultant at a top Los Angeles firm that will help her earn her master’s degree and allow her to work on pro bono cases, particularly with non-profit organizations focused on children’s literacy and at-risk youth programs. Eventually, she would like to become an executive of a non-profit organization, or start one of her own that emphasizes the importance of early and continued education.
Horsman has earned a number of scholastic honors and scholarships, both at USC and at Cerritos College, where she completed her freshman year of college. She is an active member of USC Jumpstart, a program which encourages literacy in young children from low income families. As a teenager, she joined her church volunteers to build houses in Mexico every spring break for five years, where she saw first-hand the need for education in children who would most likely never be able to achieve that dream.
“Being honored with this scholarship (will) allow me to focus on my duties as a student, subsequently allowing me to follow my dreams so that I may one day help someone else follow theirs,” she said.
Both Keith’s and Horsman’s applications have been forwarded to Zonta’s District 9, where they are eligible for another $1,000. The district winners also go on to Zonta International competition, with even higher award potential.
The 2013 Zontian of the Year award, which was also presented during the business meeting, is usually awarded during the club’s installation dinner later this month, but winner Cheryl Wasserman will be out of town at the time. The Zonta Club decided to surprise her with early recognition.
Wasserman was nominated for the honor by two Zontians and was selected from among three nominees by a committee of former Zontian of the Year honorees. A member since 2008, Wasserman served as chair of the club’s Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship committee for the past two years and has been active in the Girls Robotics program. She also served on the Zonta Foundation Board of Trustees for the past two years and has recently been elected to the club’s Board of Directors.
Outside of Zonta, Wasserman is a volunteer math tutor for Golden Oak Adult School and in the homework help program at the SCV Boys & Girls Club. She served as secretary of her homeowner association board and has been an honoree at Zonta’s Women in Service Celebration.
The Zontian of the Year award is based on a compilation of both Zonta and community involvements and the representation of Zonta that she makes in the community.
“Cheryl Wasserman is a ‘natural’ for this award,” said Pat Willett, last year’s Zontian of the Year. “Her energy and enthusiasm are irrepressible. When she takes on a project, you know it will be done well.”
The learn more about the Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, call 661-252-9351
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Source: Santa Clarita News