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Three honored for reaching their dreams

March 24, 2011
  • Glendale Soroptimist Womens Opportunity Awardee Pilar Fontenla, center, is surrounded by, from left, mother Blanca Flor Fontenla and aunt Graciela Rojas.
Glendale Soroptimist Womens Opportunity Awardee Pilar…

Three accomplished women well-represented the Glendale Soroptimists’ “Live Your Dream” theme at the 12th annual Accolades Luncheon at the Glendale Hilton.

These “dreamers” were presented with awards, certificates and their tables’ centerpieces of spring flowers on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, with nary a shamrock or glass of Guinness present. Soroptimist President Liz Mirzaian welcomed her audience of approximately 70 members and guests. Preceding the luncheon, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian offered greetings from the city.

The awards presentation was deftly handled by Accolades Program Chairwoman Lou Rhodes. Dr. Carol Ann Burton, a mother of four daughters, was awarded the Ruby Award that represents women making an extraordinary difference in the lives of women and girls. Burton is an obstetrician and gynecologist who now devotes her career to teaching. She is a clinical associate professor at USC School of Medicine. Burton is a member of, and the immediate past president of, the YWCA of Glendale’s 2011 board of directors and has numerous other community volunteer titles to her name. Another claim to fame is having delivered Mayor Najarian’s son, Alexander, 16 years ago. Hizzoner was quick to acknowledge Burton for that accomplishment.


The Violet Richardson Award recognizes a high school girl for her volunteer efforts. La Cañada High School senior Estrella Sainberg, 17, was this year’s recipient. Estrella is a tee ball coach for girls at the La Cañada Flintridge Community Center. She is also president of Teens for the Advancement of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She was given a $750 cash award and a matching award for her charity, the La Cañada Flintridge Community Center. Parents Robert Sainberg and Isabel Velazquez couldn’t help letting their pride show.

The Women’s Opportunity Award was presented to Pilar E. Fontenla. She is a single mother of a young son and a Glendale Community College student who sports a 4.0 grade-point average. Next spring, Fontenla will transfer to USC with a major in accounting. Eventually, she plans to open her own consulting firm. Fontenla’s mother Blanca Flor Fontenla and aunt Graciela Rojas were there in proud support.

Members of the Glendale Soroptimists are looking forward to their popular “Bras for a Cause” 8th annual fundraiser at the Oakmont Country Club on April 9.


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