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On the Town: Las Candelas presents funds to philanthropies

Karen Swan, Ellyn Semler and and Teresa Nall

Las Candelas President Ellyn Semler, center, of La Cañada, welcomes provisional members Karen Swan, of Burbank, left, and Teresa Nall, of Pasadena, to the installation luncheon at Oakmont Country Club.

(Courtesy Cathy Keen)

Las Candelas, a Glendale women’s group that helps vulnerable children improve their lives, recently installed officers and presented donations to local charities during the final meeting of the year at Oakmont Country Club.

President Ellyn Semler presided over the meeting. Special guests were Natalie Komuro of Ascencia homeless services; Janine Perron and Heather Sardella of Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services; Carrie Espinoza of Hillsides Youth Moving On and Andrea Williams of the YWCA of Glendale. Each representative received a donation for their organization.

Las Candelas member Anna Brewer installed the new officers. Semler is serving a second year as president. She will be assisted by First Vice-President Joan Campbell; Second Vice-Presidents Nancy Stone and Rosina Maize; Third Vice-Presidents Ann Jones and Lynne Naeve; Fourth Vice-President Monica Sierra; Fifth Vice-Presidents Margaret Cline and Jeri Benton Clark; and Sixth Vice-Presidents JC Byer and Pattie McCormick.

Also installed were Corresponding Secretary Anna Brewer; Treasurer Ginny Simpson; Philanthropy Treasurer Patti Baker and Parliamentarian Jeannie Flint.


Two new provisional members were welcomed. Cathy Keen introduced Karen Swan, a Burbank resident and retired Glendale teacher. She serves on the boards of Ascencia, the Glendale Education Foundation, Family Promise and the Kiwanis Club of Glendale.

Nancy Stone introduced provisional member Teresa Nall, who resides in Pasadena and works as a financial adviser. She has been active in National Charity League and is a supporter of Hillsides Home for Children and Elizabeth House.

Swan and Nall will become active members at the completion of their provisional year next May.

Las Candelas raises funds for its service projects with a biennial luncheon and fashion show. The next benefit, with the theme “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,” will be held on March 6 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel. The event usually draws more than 600 supporters.


Las Candelas is made up of 40 active members. Its purpose is to give volunteer service and financial support to children and youth in vulnerable situations to help improve their lives. The women provide programs for the children at Hillsides in Pasadena and Hathaway-Sycamores in Altadena as well as financial assistance to Didi Hirsch, the YWCA, Ascencia and Glendale Healthy Kids. The group was organized in 1953 and incorporated in 1955.

Oakmont League recognizes local scholars

The Oakmont League recently presented scholarships to young women who have graduated from local high schools or are attending Glendale Community College.

Celebrating its 77th year of service, the league has contributed almost $2 million to local schools and charities in the Glendale community. Funds are raised via a biennial spring fashion show and luncheon.

Oakmont League scholarship recipients

The Oakmont League scholarship recipients are, from left, Catlin Argueta, Nataly Vardanyan, Zepur Avanesian, Garooneh Avanessian, Regina Kim, Samantha Kohn, Nelle Stepanyan and Lilia Zograbyan.

(Courtesy Oakmont League)

Upon reading the biographies of the scholarship recipients, it’s clear why they have received the monetary awards to help them accomplish their educational goals.

Nataly Vardanyan, a graduate of Clark Magnet High School, plans to major in psychology and would like to work with children who have developmental disabilities. In high school, she was captain of the track and field team. She received the Freshman/Sophomore Girls Track Most Improved Award in 2014 as well as the Track and Field Excellence Award and Scholar Athlete Award, both in 2015.

Samantha Kohn, a graduate of Crescenta Valley High School, wants to become an occupational therapist. She volunteers at the YMCA, Relay of Life and other organizations. She was captain of the swim team and received the Scholar Athlete Award and Rose Bowl Aquatics Center Team’s Best Leader Award.


Regina Kim, a graduate of Glendale High School, has a passion for political science and would like to pursue a career as a member of Congress, a lawyer or public official. In high school, she was captain of the drumline. She is serving on the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women.

Catlin Argueta, a graduate of Hoover High School, has held student body government offices and has volunteered at the California Science Center and Natural History Museum. She was a member of the National Honors Society, Christian Club and served as president of the Adelante Latinos.

Alaina Kalb, a graduate of La Cañada High School, wants to pursue a major in marketing with a minor in international business. During high school, she was captain of the Varsity Song Squad, president of Athletic Leadership Council and a member of Bridge, a peer counseling group.

Garooneh Avanessian, a student at Glendale Community College, is majoring in psychology with hopes to pursue a career in speech therapy. She volunteers at a soup kitchen, for Relay for Life and with the Armenian National Committee of America.

Nelle Stepanyan, who attends Glendale Community College, is majoring in business administration and is interested in a marketing career. She is a member of the Alpha Gamma Honor Society and serves the student body as senator of finance. She volunteers with Glendale Relay of Life, where she served as marketing chair and event leader.

Lilia Zograbyan is majoring in psychology at Glendale Community College. She is a volunteer intern with Strength United, an organization that works to end abuse. She is a member of the college’s scholars program, serving as community service director. She volunteers with Kairos Hollywood, a group that helps the homeless, Relay for Life and the Ronald McDonald House.

Zepur Avanesian, a student at Glendale Community College, received the Fine Arts Scholarship. She is majoring in interior architecture with hopes of becoming an interior architect. She has worked at the college’s information desk, explaining the services available to students. She also is active in the Armenian community and participated in the centennial observation of the Armenian Genocide.



JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at