On the Town: Awards program raises funds and awareness of domestic violence

On the Town: Awards program raises funds and awareness of domestic violence
YWCA Glendale's Heart & Excellence Honorees, from left, are Sona A. Tatiyants, Marilyn Kay Butler, Carol Ann Burton and Alice Chakrian, representing the Agape Circle. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

The YWCA Glendale's 21st annual Legacy Luncheon recently honored women who serve the Glendale and Burbank communities and raised the most money ever — $50,000.

That success was because of an increase in attendance and sponsors, said Tara Peterson, the organization's executive director.


Since it was founded in 1929, the YWCA Glendale's purpose has been to provide women and girls the opportunity to realize their potential.

The organization's domestic violence program is celebrating 40 years in the community, and it continues to empower individuals and families to break the cycle of violence and achieve self-sufficiency.


Proceeds from the Legacy Luncheon benefit the domestic violence program, a residential program that serves more than 2,000 women, children and families each year providing shelter, advocacy, legal help, child care, housing support, counseling and peer support.

There are also programs that teach about domestic violence and what is a healthy and safe relationship.

The YWCA Glendale's annual operating budget of just over $2 million is supported largely by government and foundation funding, so the YWCA administrators look for additional support of more than $180,000 annually from the community to sustain the work it does in Glendale and surrounding communities, said Sylvia Chinn, associate director.

Master of ceremonies was actress Sundra Oakley, who read the biographies of the Heart & Excellence honorees.

Carol Ann Burton is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist who practiced from 1988 to 2005 at Glendale Adventist Medical Center, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

She is also an associate professor at Keck USC Medical School.

She has served on the YWCA Glendale's board of directors and is a member of Soroptimist International of Glendale and the Philanthropic Educational Organization, which both support the education of women.

Marilyn Kay Butler grew up in Glendale and spent time in a Y-sponsored service club. She is a longtime member of the Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild.

She has been a member of the Associates of Family Service of Los Angeles, which provides counseling and assistance to families in need.

She is also a member of Las Candelas, which helps to improve the lives of vulnerable children, and the Philanthropic Educational Organization.

Sona A. Tatiyants is a lawyer and founder of Lynk Law, Inc., a law firm that helps families and businesses with estate planning.

As a law student, Tatiyants interned at the YWCA Glendale and volunteered there after she took the bar exam. She and her colleagues co-founded the Exchange L.A., a networking group with a nonprofit component, she said.

The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church — Agape Circle also received the Heart of Excellence Award. It is a volunteer and philanthropic group that provides direct support to community organizations that strive to alleviate human suffering.

The Agape Circle recently refurbished the computer room at the YWCA Glendale.

A highlight of the luncheon was the announcement of the first recipient of the Cami's Courage Memorial Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is funded by Cameron Burton's parents, honoree Burton and her husband, Alasdair Burton.

The recipient was Amira Chowdhury, who was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and immigrated to the United States in 2012.

She has volunteered and served as a campaign manager, head staffer and organizer in election campaigns on city, state and national levels.

She will attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, pursuing a triple major in philosophy, international affairs and political science.

Serving on the luncheon committee were chair Allison Fuller, Suzonne Slaughter, board president, Ani Adjemian, Richard Bennett, Ilena Blicker, Wendy Grove, Jane Karageorge and Seda Khojayan.

More than 250 people attended.

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at