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Giving back to giving women

March 27, 2002

Karen S. Kim

GLENDALE -- Rita Vorperian was only 3 when she became a volunteer

member of the Armenian Relief Society. Her parents, who were both members

of the organization at the time, wanted to make sure their daughter

learned the value of giving back to the community.

Fifty-nine years later, Vorperian is being honored for her efforts in

humanitarian aid and advocating women's rights. The 62-year-old Glendale

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resident is Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-Glendale) pick for Glendale Woman of

the Year in the 27th Congressional District.

But Vorperian is humble about her award.

"When your family drives you that way, it comes to you very

naturally," Vorperian said. "I was born in this environment."

Vorperian, who was born in Syria, is the senior administrator and

executive secretary of the Armenian Relief Society based in Glendale. The

organization sends economic and humanitarian relief to Armenia and its

government. In addition, Vorperian spends her own time writing feminist

essays to the Aztag Daily of Beirut, Asbarez of Los Angeles and Hairenik

of Boston.

"I look around, and I see things that I don't like," Vorperian said.

"There are things that can be corrected for which I think that we have to

educate women."

Just a few neighborhoods away from Vorperian, Nancy Stone has been

chosen by Schiff as the La Crescenta Woman of the Year for his district.

Stone, who has served as the president of the Mountain Avenue

Elementary School Parent Teacher Assn. and vice president of the Rosemont

Middle School PTA, is also heavily involved in Seeds of Peace. Stone

helped Seeds of Peace create the Community Service Learning Project, a

program where 600 students donate 10,000 volunteer hours to the community

each year. Seeds of Peace is an organization created to improve dialogue

between members of different ethnicities.

"Nancy is a pretty remarkable woman who has really dedicated herself

to improving the equality of life for the kids in our community," Schiff

said. "She is just one of those people who embodies the principle that if

you need something done, ask a busy person, because she's taken on so

much and seems to be able to do it so effortlessly."

Vorperian and Stone will be honored at a Women of the Year luncheon

hosted by Schiff today.

Stone could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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