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Zonta awards benefit local women

Winners are recipients of largest combined awards in group’s 10-year history

Posted: July 22, 2009 10:30 p.m.
Updated: July 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.

USC sophomore Jenny Jao receives a check for $1,000 from Committee Chair Cindy Kittle as winner of the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business scholarship. She will represent the SCV Zonta Club in District 9 competition, which could lead to a $5,000 scholarship.

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It was “payday” for 10 local nonprofit organizations and two outstanding young women, who received a combined total of $16,500 in community grants and scholarships awarded by Zonta Club of the Santa Clarita Valley on May 13.

SCV Zonta Foundation presented $15,000 in community grants, the largest number it has granted in its 10-year history.

The grants were presented to Domestic Violence Association for its emergency fund program for women in need, SCV Child & Family Center for its women’s initiative voucher program, SCV Youth Project to support its peer-mentoring groups at local high schools, and SCV Boys & Girls Club to expand its robotics program for girls.

Other recipients included Single Mothers Outreach for its Financial Peace University, Samuel Dixon Family Health Center for diabetes management programs, SCV Committee on Aging for its home delivered meals to elderly shut-ins, Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles for summer camp, SCV Food Pantry for children’s milk money and Circle of Hope for its support services seminar and resource book for cancer victims.

Recipients were selected from applications received from more than 50 local nonprofit groups that were sent Zonta Foundation applications earlier this year.

Applications were judged on a number of criteria, including how well the proposed grant supports programs that coincide with Zonta’s focus of improving the status of women.

“It was a very difficult process to decide on the finalists because of the number and quality of the applicants,” said Community Grants Chair Diane Goddard.  The final awards went to the 10 nonprofit organizations that received the highest scores.

Diane Park, senior at West Ranch High School, attended Zonta’s May business meeting to accept her $500 Young Women in Public Affairs scholarship, which now puts her in competition for an additional $1,000 scholarship from the Zonta District 9.

“This year the selection was an especially difficult task as all four applicants are very professional, with high academic standing and all exhibited demonstrable leadership skills and participate in many extra-curricular activities,” explained Committee Chair Gloria Mercado-Fortine.

She added that all applicants also demonstrated a dedication to volunteerism and community service.

Park considers volunteering and community organizations to be an important part of her life as she pursues a degree in political science or law.

She participated in the annual 30 Hour Famine event this year to support awareness of worldwide hunger, contributing money to Africa that would have been used to purchase food during the 30-hour fasting period.

Her community service activities include serving as a board member of the Hands On City of Santa Clarita Youth Volunteer Council, treasurer of the Key Club at West Ranch, and an active member of the National Honor Society. Additionally, Diane is a “welcome team leader” of the All Nations church and a volunteer at the Valencia Public Library. She dedicated nearly 1,200 hours of community service over the last four years.

Zonta’s Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship was presented by Jenny Jao, a sophomore at the University of Southern California.

She is majoring in business administration with an emphasis in investment banking, and the $1,000 SCV Zonta scholarship will help her pursue her college degree.

Jenny has interned in Spain and will intern in China in 2009.  She also has been active in the student government of the Marshall School of Business at USC and has volunteered as a coach with Special Olympics, according to Zonta Committee Chair Cindy Kittle. The Klausman scholarship winner also will advance to District 9 competition, and the district winner will compete for a $5,000 scholarship at the Zonta International level. The Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship is open to outstanding women continuing their college education in a business field.

“This is a record for us, both in the number of grants and in the dollar amount of the awards,” commented Zonta President Chris Miller. “We’re happy to be able to support local organizations that also work toward our goal of improving the lives of women.”

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