Volunteering keeps her young and strong

Zappala recognized for her leadership and volunteerism.

October 13, 2010|By Jon Haber

Glendale philanthropist Cathy Zappala said she works hard to give back to her community because she knows what it is like to grow up in a low-income household, and she knows the struggles many families face on a daily basis. A longtime volunteer and business woman in Glendale, Zappala was among a group of women honored Sept. 22 at the Hilton Glendale for her community leadership during the Women Extraordinaire: Celebrating 20th Anniversary event.

Zappala was one of the top 20 achievers recognized by the family-run Business Life magazine, which began honoring women that display leadership in philanthropy and business in 1990. An additional 19 winners were announced as the top achievers for 2010.

"She's so deserving," said Donna Hekler, Zappala's longtime friend and fellow volunteer. "She's not usually recognized for all that she does with charities. She's a great businesswoman too."


While Zappala said she was excited to be recognized, she said she doesn't volunteer for the purpose of receiving awards, although she has received many throughout the years, including Independent Business Person of the Year, Citizen of the Year and Kiwanian of the Year.

"In my office, you won't see any of my plaques hanging on the wall," she said. "I do these things because it makes me feel good helping people, especially when I'm working with kids at the Salvation Army."

Throughout the last 25 years, Zappala has dedicated countless hours to the Salvation Army in Glendale. When she's not busy running her 28-year-old business, Colonial Escrow, Zappala said she is usually working with the Salvation Army's committees or spending time with children in The Zone—a Salvation Army afterschool program for about 60 kids between the ages of 8 and 14 that teaches children about volunteerism, proper etiquette and the importance of education.

"The children improve their schooling after they come to the program," Zappala said. "They always love me when they see me coming… It's just a great feeling to have that kind of impact in a child's life."

Hekler said Zappala spends most of her time with the Salvation Army, and the children she helps in The Zone are always excited to see her.

"They look forward to her coming to help with projects," Hekler said. "They're absolutely very fond of her."

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