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Zonta awards $7,000 in grants to Virginia Wrage recipients

Posted: December 11, 2009 1:34 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2009 2:18 p.m.
Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley honored four women this week with Virginia Wrage Memorial grants totaling $7,000. The grants are given to mature women who face life-changing situations and need some help to become self-sufficient again.

This year's winners are Christianne Cardriche, Sylvie Griffith, Janelle Seitz and Terry Tindell. The women received their checks at Zonta's December business meeting and shared their stories with club members and guests.

Cardrich learned about the grant from Single Mother's Outreach. She is a single mother with a son who is suffering from Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Watching her son endure rounds of chemotherapy and seeing the positive attitude he maintained during the treatment, Christianne was motivated to go back to school.

She plans to finish her bachelor's degree in psychology and earn a master's degree in marriage and family counseling. She will use her grant money to purchase a laptop and books required for her studies.

Griffith heard of the Zonta program through the Santa Clarita Valley Child and Family Center. She is the mother of two 14-year-olds and has a husband with an incurable illness. They are facing financial hardship and need help.

Her long-term goals include graduating school and furthering her education, expanding her career options and becoming self-sufficient. Her goal is to become a professional science writer for the health care industry. She plans to use her grant money to purchase a laptop and pay enrollment fees and books.

Seitz was searching the College of the Canyons Web site when she found information on the Virginia Wrage grants. She has returned to school after her son was diagnosed with an immune deficiency disease. After years of constant care and doctor visits, Seitz decided to enroll in a nursing program to better understand her son's medical problems.

Her goal is to complete the COC nursing program, where she will use her Zonta grant for college fees, books and materials for the nursing school.

Tindell heard of the grant through a friend who took a grant writing class at College of the Canyons. She is mother of two children and has a husband who is disabled from Parkinson's disease. Her family lost everything in the Buckweed fire of 2007, and Tindell is seeking to rebuild both her life and her family.

As the sole provider for the family, she is facing financial hardship. She will use her grant funds for college fees and books at COC, where she hopes to learn as many business and computer skills as possible to get a better paying job.

"Each year, we read the extraordinary stories of our Virginia Wrage grant applicants and wonder if we could have the courage to take on what they are doing," remarked Zonta committee chair Alicia Estrada. "Each of this year's recipients has said that the money will make a great difference in their lives."

Zonta's Virginia Wrage Memorial grant is named for a longtime Zontian who faced a family crisis that required her to make a major career change in middle age.

After going back to school, Wrage followed her dream to become a flight attendant. She was then diagnosed with cancer and, before her death, agreed to allow the club to establish a memorial fund in her memory.

The fund was established in 1995 and each year offers support to women like her who are at a crossroads and need assistance to make a new life.


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