Six Honored by Commission

Photo by Misty DUPLESSIS Honoree Blanca Zavala escaped an abusive relationship and with two young children found help through other strong women.


The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) recognized women that they consider the “Jewels of Glendale” during its seventh annual lunch on Thursday, May 5 at the Oakmont Country Club.
Six outstanding women who have overcome challenges, have displayed courage and made positive impacts on the community were chosen as this year’s honorees.
The organization received many “excellent” nominations, according to organizers, that they narrowed to six recipients.
Among the women acknowledged were Lana Haddad who once served on the CSW, longtime Glendale resident Lynne Raggio who has been active in the area for several years and Egyptian born Mona Marcos who after a painful divorce was able to put aside her personal issues and assist women in different aspects of their daily lives.
The 2011 Gem Scholarship Awardee was Glendale High School senior Ani Ghazikanian. As Prom Ambassador, Ghazikanian helps girls who cannot afford prom dresses and at the Armenian Relief Center she assists students and young teens whose parents have had issues with drugs.
Ghazikanian credits the start of her community service to her early start in soccer when she was the first female soccer player to play on an all-boys soccer team.
“It all started with soccer. I’ve been very involved with soccer since a very young age so I saw an opportunity to help and I started coaching,” said Ghazikanian adding that a local sports and cultural organization introduced her to fundraising.
At four months pregnant, Blanca Zavala escaped an abusive relationship and with two young children found help through other strong women.
Because of the generosity of others Zavala gained the determination to finish a degree in criminal justice and now is a positive model to other women as they search for the courage to move forward.
Entrepreneur Tanis Rhines has faced many physical challenges in her life including a heart condition and a serious ski accident.
“What I feel that I did was a very simple thing and something that we do on a daily basis … to take the challenges that we are faced with and learn from [them] and then take the knowledge … from that situation and help to create something that could help others who are facing that same challenge,” Rhines said who added that she was “honored and surprised” to have been chosen for the award.