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Weiss wins Carmen Sarro Award

Stephanie Weiss of ACTION Parent and Teen Support wins top Women in Service Award from Zonta Club

Posted: April 5, 2009 12:07 a.m.
Updated: April 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Christine Sexton, left, presents a bouquet of flowers and a plaque to Stephanie Weiss, who was named the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley the Carmen Sarro Award at the annual Zonta Women in Service celebration brunch held at Robinson Ranch Clubhouse. Sexton is the daughter of the late Carmen Sarro.

Stephanie Weiss, a long time resident of the Santa Clarita Valley with a history of volunteerism that dates to 1971, was named the winner of the Carmen Sarro Community Service Award by the Zonta Club of SCV. More than 200 attendees saw Weiss named the winner of the award out of a field of 20 nominees. Weiss was greeted with a standing ovation and tears as she came forward to accept the award.

"This remarkable woman has done so much for this community it is impossible to acknowledge all the good in just a few minutes," said DeAnne Joy, chairwoman of the Zonta Women in Service committee.

Joy also read a short except written by Weiss' late daughter Tatiana Weiss, praising her mother's commitment to service, which brought tears to the presenters and to the audience.

Each of the 20 nominees was also honored during the 25th annual Women in Service celebration which was held March 28 at the Robinson Ranch Clubhouse in Canyon Country. The nominees for the award were submitted from a variety of SCV nonprofit organizations.

The Carmen Sarro Award is presented annually to the one volunteer who the Zonta Club feels best exemplifies efforts to advance the status of women in the SCV. Weiss was nominated by the ACTION Parent and Teen Support Group program.

"For the past nine years, Stephanie has supported the ACTION Parent and Teen Support Group Program with all areas of her skill, knowledge and expertise," said Cary Quashen, ACTION founder. "By her very actions as an ACTION Parent and Teen Support Group volunteer, she shares her mentorship skills and experience, strength and hope with women, men, boys and girls."

Weiss is a parent group facilitator with ACTION, working every Tuesday evening with parents of at-risk teens. She also works with at-risk teens themselves and is especially effective working with teen girls, said Quashen.

In addition, Weiss has served on the city of Santa Clarita Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force, which works on drug and alcohol education programs.

She began her volunteer career in 1971 as an original organizational member and hotline listener for SCV's Hotline We Care. Weiss has also volunteered for Project Echo, a high school business development/education project at Canyon High School; Habitat for Humanity; SCV Celebrity Waiter Dinner, a fundraiser for the SCV Senior Center; SCV American Red Cross and Joshua Tree Council, Girl Scouts.

Professionally Weiss is currently president of Strategies for Success, a local public relations and marketing firm.

"Working with ACTION, she sets an example to women, young and adult alike," Quashen said. "She advocates for women and assists them in honing their life skills to advance them educationally as well as in the workforce."

During the celebration brunch each of the 20 honorees was called forward and introduced to the audience and presented with a plaque and a small bouquet of yellow roses - the flower of the Zonta Club.

"We are excited to honor a diverse group of extremely qualified women," said Joy who also served as event emcee with Karen Maleck-Whiteley. "Giving to our community through service and volunteerism is a central value of the Zonta Club of SCV and we feel it is important to recognize those who give so generously of their time and talents."

Weiss was presented the Carmen Sarro Award by Sarro's daughter, Christine Sexton, a current member of Zonta. Sarro, who died in 2003, was a charter member of Zonta, the first employee of the city of Santa Clarita and known throughout the SCV as a tireless volunteer.

Keynote speaker Deborah Deras, author of "Confessions of an Adrenaline Addict," gave an entertaining talk to the room full of "overachievers" and offered tips to help women "achieve more with less effort."

Also honored during the celebration was Sue Arellano, managing partner of Centric - a creative marketing agency - that created the logo for the LifeForward workshop series sponsored by Zonta Club of SCV.

In addition to the LifeForward program Zonta Club of SCV sponsors Healthy Woman's Day which offers free breast cancer and other health screenings to uninsured and underinsured women in the SCV; the Virginia Wrage Memorial Grants made available to women facing unexpected obstacles in mid-life; Community Grant Program which offers grants from the SCV Zonta Foundation to local organizations to support Zonta's mission of advancing the status of women and girls in the SCV; Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship which offers scholarships for pre-college women committed to leadership in public policy, government and volunteer organizations; Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship for women pursuing undergraduate degrees in business-related studies and the Ameila Earhart Fellowships, an international fellowship awarded to women pursuing advanced studies in aerospace-related science or engineering.

The members of the 2009 Women in Service committee include Joy, co-chairwoman Diane Goddard, Gloria Barrett, Ruth Clark, Edna Dimatage-Fernandez, Alyce Huff, Cindy Kittle, Darleen Lyons, Chris Miller, Jane Nichols, Lori O'Brien, Judy Penman, Donna Schmidt, Christine Sexton, Cheryl Wasserman and Pat Willett.

The Zonta Club of SCV meets on the second Wednesday of each month. For information call (661) 252-935 or visit


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