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On the Town: Soroptimists salute courageous women

Soroptimist Accolades Awards Luncheon committee members

Soroptimist Accolades Awards Luncheon committee members are, from left, Carol Ann Burton, Heather Watson Ghermezian, Laurie Leask, Chair Sandy Schultz and President Lola Abrahamian.

(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Soroptimist International of Glendale recently honored three brave women who have endured much to get to where they are today.

The awardees’ accomplishments were highlighted during the annual Accolades luncheon on March 17 at the Oakmont Country Club.

President Lola Abrahamian welcomed the more than 60 guests. Lynne Raggio gave the invocation and immediate past president Paula Devine led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman delivered greetings from the city of Glendale. She said she always looks forward to attending a Soroptimist Club event because members support women and girls in our community and throughout the world.


“You do good in an area that’s very important to me, which is for women and girls who are often, as we know, overlooked, left behind, not inspired, not allowed to fulfill their potential, and your mission is to make sure none of those things happen and you do that every week in our community in everything you do,” she said.

Friedman also congratulated the honorees, who have not only given to their community but serve as living examples and inspirations to everyone about what’s possible for women.

Soroptimist International of Glendale Rudy Award recipient Carolyn Rowley and Live Your Dream Award recipient Star

Soroptimist International of Glendale Rudy Award recipient Carolyn Rowley, left, and Live Your Dream Award recipient Star, who asked that her last name not be used for safety reasons.

(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Carolyn Rowley, who holds a doctorate degree in psychology, received the Ruby Award. She is the founder and executive director of the Cayenne Wellness Center and Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to health and wellness. She specializes in nutrition and holistic psychology including anxiety, trauma, depression and chronic illness. She helps educate women and support the families of women who suffer from chronic diseases, particularly sickle-cell disease.


Since age 5, Rowley has wanted to follow in the footsteps of Mother Teresa, an Albanian Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary. Rowley hoped to become a full-time missionary. She knew her passion was to serve and that’s what she has pledged to do during her life.

Although she suffers from sickle cell disease — which is very painful — it hasn’t stopped her from serving others. Rowley has worked to make people aware of the disease, for which there is no cure. She works with hospitals to help people manage their pain.

She has also traveled to Africa as a missionary over the years and, as a result, in 2005, she began the Machao Orphanage Foundation, a nonprofit organization. The primary goal is to house and educate the orphaned children of Makueni, Kenya. The foundation is raising funds to complete a clean-water project for the children. They now support 43 children, but the goal is to house 80 children by 2020.

“Our goal is to make sure that the girls go to school,” she said. “You already know that with education that means they will no longer be impoverished. They will no longer be there just to have children. They tell me they want to be someone. They want to be a teacher, an accountant, they want to do business and they want to become a nurse. It’s remarkable that they can dream so high.”

Judges who selected Rowley were Brionna Stearns as well as Dan and Elly Wolf.

Two other women received the Live Your Dream Award, which goes to women who are working to turn their lives around after dealing with many obstacles and who provide primary financial support for their families. The cash award gives them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and employment prospects.

One of the recipients, Star, who preferred not to have her last name published for safety reasons, is a single mother of a 9-year-old daughter. She attends Diversified Vocational College and, upon completion, plans to enroll at Los Angeles City College to earn an associate’s degree in business.

She said she wants to be the best role model for her daughter.


The other recipient, who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons, is a single parent of two children, ages 4 and 5. Her goals are to complete her education at Pasadena City College by joining the dental hygiene program and finishing by 2018. She works as a tutor at the college and volunteers at a dental office.

She wants to teach her children to become productive members of society, she said.

Judging the Dream Award were Elissa Glickman, Philip W. Lanzafame and yours truly.

Sandy Schultz was chair of the Accolades program committee, while Cindy Miller organized the Ruby Award judging and Heather Watson Ghermezian was chair of the Dream Award program, assisted by Laurie Leask.

World-renowned quilter to give workshops

Alex Anderson, a world-renowned quilter, author and co-host of “The Quilt Show”, the only quilt show series recorded live before a studio audience and seen exclusively on, is coming to Glendale.

She will present two lectures on April 16 in the fellowship hall of the First Congregational Church, said Sandy Bradfield, president of the Glendale Quilt Guild, which is organizing the event.

The first session from 10 to 11 a.m. will be on scrap quilts, while the second session at 1 p.m. will cover design choices. A luncheon with Anderson will be tucked in between.


For more information, visit

Artist will demonstrate portrait in oil for club

Artist Julie Snyder will paint an oil portrait of a live model during a meeting of the Glendale Art Assn. from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 14 in the Citibank Community Room, 2350 Honolulu Ave., Montrose.

Her paintings have been exhibited locally, nationally and internationally, and her career has included several years of residence in Spain. She promotes the arts, paints, teaches and conducts workshops both locally and across the country as well as group tours to Europe for painters, sculptors and photographers.

Admission to the meeting is $5 for members, $7 for nonmembers, and paintings submitted to the mini-show are $3 each.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at