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YWCA honors local women

Darleene Barrientos

After some soul-searching, Burbank resident Diana Diaz exchanged love

for money when she turned away from corporate law to teach special



Diaz said she always wanted to be a lawyer, but when it came time

to apply for college, the money was not as appealing as it had once


She discovered what she wanted to do while working with special


needs students through a Best Buddies program at John Burroughs High

School, where she is a senior.

Diaz thought it would be a fun club, and that experience led to

volunteering with special needs adults at UC Riverside and working

and volunteering at the Burbank Center for the Retarded, she said.

Diaz said she enjoyed working with children.

“Working with kids was more rewarding,” she said.

The 18-year-old will be honored today at the YWCA of Glendale’s


Legacy Luncheon at La Canada Flintridge Country Club for her

volunteer work with special education students.

The group is awarding Diaz the Jane O’Connor Community Volunteer

Service Award. The award includes a $200 scholarship, which Diaz

plans to use for her first year at Cal State L.A. She will major in

liberal studies as a prelude to pursuing her credentials in special

education instruction.

Service awards will also be given to Glady I. Kabateck, the


coordinator and counselor of the Glendale Community College Adult

Re-Entry Center; Georgia Abelmann, who serves on the boards of the

Glendale Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army and the Glendale

Adventist Medical Center; and Lina Harper, president of the Glendale

Unified School District Board of Education. Sonia Bedrassian

Peltekian of Burbank will also be lauded.

“The luncheon is a chance for the YWCA to honor women who give so

much of themselves,” event chairwoman Mary Boger said. “It gives us

an opportunity to recognize women in our community who are actually

building the road for other women to walk upon.

“They’re clearing the rubble and building the bridges for other

women to achieve earlier and more easily.”