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On the Town: Altrusa club looks to grow its membership

One of the best-kept secrets in town is the little Glendale club of Altrusa International. But, like the little train that could, just-installed president and Glendale resident Pat Zayas plans to puff-puff up the hill of increasing membership and greater visibility in the community.

On June 9 at Taix Restaurant in Los Angeles, Zayas and seven other women were installed as members of the 2015-16 board of directors. The 25 supporters making up their audience were members and guests.

Already beginning the process of increasing membership is Altrusa's newest "honorary" member Roberto Solorzano, 18, a student at Glendale Community College.

Solorzano, who majors in international business, has most recently been used for his brawn. He has hefted overflowing baby bags and will deliver them to Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital for young mothers in need of supplies for their newborn babies.

However, Solorzano's, muscles are not his only contribution to Altrusa service projects. He plans to talk up possible membership in the organization to his fellow international students at the college. Solorzano and his friends "want to help" in the Glendale community they now make their home. Altrusa is their vehicle.

More newly installed officers, besides Zayas and Tharp, are Secretary Beau Stocking; Treasurer Barbara Crawford; Directors Carole Jouroyan, Yvette Guerrero and Maggie Sweeden; and Immediate Past President Donnalee Monninger.

Applauding President Zayas were her husband, Ed, daughter Michele Cheney, son-in-law Alan Cheney and neighbors Robert and Gina Harris. All are Glendale residents.

Started in 1954, Altrusa of Glendale has been helping others for more than 60 years.

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Members of the Women's Council of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital didn't want to be left out of the installation business. They put on their annual installation luncheon at the hospital on June 11.

During a luscious lunch of vegetable crepes in béchamel sauce, Honorary Members awards were presented. The two hard-working council members to be recognized were Cindy Sawyer and an absent Jackie Genofile. Teri Rice and Pauline Hendricks deftly handled the presentation.

Installation of the 2015-16 board followed. Installing officer, Tina Ito, presided over the ceremonies as outgoing Chairperson, Purnima Panchal, passed the gavel to incoming Chairperson Ruth McNevin. More new board members included Recording Secretary Rice and Treasurer Shirley Tan.

Hospital Chief Executive Paul Craig cheered on the new council officers and accepted a check for $30,000 raised by the council through "friend raisers" and fundraisers. The funds are earmarked for the hospital's nursery.

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More than 500 scholarships totaling more than $300,000 were awarded to worthy Glendale Community College students on June 17. Anoush restaurant was the setting for some 300 students and their supporters at the college's annual Honor & Awards Banquet.

David Viar, the college's superintendent/president, welcomed his audience and introduced Paul Schlossman, dean of student affairs. . Schlossman presented a fast-paced program introducing all scholarship sponsors and their recipients in a mere 90 minutes, while all feasted on the hall's seemingly endless trays of Middle Eastern food.

Yours truly presented the Geraldine Manus Anson Memorial $300 scholarship to reentry student Meline Sarkissian from Iran. At 28 years old, this dynamo already transferred from Glendale Community College to UCLA, where she received her bachelor's degree in biology. But that wasn't enough for Sarkissian. She is now back at Glendale Community College taking more courses to fulfill USC's requirements toward the completion of a physician's assistant program. Sarkissian is crossing her fingers that her transfer to USC is upcoming.

The highlight of the banquet was the awarding of the J. Walter Smith Man of the Year Award to Manuel Mikhaeilyan and the Elsie Bishop Woman of the Year Award to Agnessa Kasumyan. Once more, generous members of the college's Patrons Club sponsored the awards.

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RUTH SOWBY RANDS

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