Tag Archives: Woman of the Year

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Looking for the Right Woman

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) invites the community to submit nominations for California’s 2016 Woman of the Year awards.  March is Women’s History Month in California and the State Legislature is holding an awards ceremony in Sacramento.

“These awards are a great time to honor the hard work and dedication of the women who contribute to the 43rd Assembly District,” said Gatto. “While we honor these women year-round, this is a special opportunity to thank them for the work they do in our community.”

Nominees should demonstrate their dedication to the community through their work or volunteer efforts.

Nominations should include the following:

  • Name;
  • A specific list of her accomplishments;
  • Contact information (home address, phone number and email address); and
  • Nominator’s contact information.

Nominations can be sent to assemblymember.gatto@assembly.ca.gov.  The deadline is Feb. 15, 2016.

Zonta Club Names Zita Lefebvre Woman of the Year

By Joyce Rudolph

Zita Lefebvre was recognized as Zonta’s 2015 Woman of the Year for her many contributions to the city on Saturday at Lakeside Golf Club.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Now retired from Cartoon Network, Lefebvre started there as Director of Operations in 1999, but soon tagged “and Community Relations” on the end of that title when she started doing community outreach projects, originally on her own time. Over the years she created a forever bond with such nonprofits as the Family Service Agency of Burbank, Boys & Girls Club and Stevenson Elementary School.

She continues to volunteer twice a week at the Family Service Agency finding new sources of funding. The agency provides mental wellness counseling for individuals, families and children at the center as well as at all Burbank Unified School District schools.

Lefebvre has been instrumental in supporting the agency’s programs that help battered women and children who have endured abuse.

“The agency does such important work,” she said. “I see so many kids who aren’t having good childhoods and I think, how do you grow up to be a good citizen if you don’t have a healthy childhood? I think these kids have it hard and I feel so sorry for them.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Family Service Agency has an art therapy program and Lefebvre said when she sees the art the children are drawing about what’s going on in their lives, it gives her “chills.”

“The counselors do wonderful work and they help so many people,” she said.

Lefebvre has joined the board of the new Burbank School Garden Network, whose purpose is to create vegetable gardens in every school in town. She also still helps out at the garden at Stevenson Elementary School, which she has been doing for 14 years. She credits Sheridan Gardens nursery and Kreigh Hampel, the city’s recycling coordinator, for supporting her efforts over the years.

“I recycle my egg shells into the soil around my plants,” she said. “I try to teach the kids organic gardening, healthy gardening and healthy meals. That’s the mission, to teach the kids to grow their own healthy produce.”

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Lefebvre just completed a Master Gardening program.

“What you have to do when you graduate from the class is give back 50 hours to teach low-income people how to plant a garden,” she said.

From the beginning, Lefebvre said she felt so welcomed in Burbank.

“People would say Zita’s here, let’s see how we can work with her,” she said, adding that former city manager Mike Flad and others in the city were very supportive from the start. “I was happy to help create the community partnerships and Cartoon Network went along with it, which was really nice.”

Lefebvre is very proud of a gifting program study she wrote for Cartoon Network 12 year ago that logged the projects created for nonprofits like Family Service Agency and Boys & Girls Club. The study included cash donations to the schools, allowing nonprofits to use the animation studio for art shows and the rooftop patio for fundraisers and recruiting animators to volunteer their time helping students make animated film projects.

“The grand total over 12 years came to well over a million dollars invested into the Burbank community,” she said. “Donations, in kind and volunteer activities really do add up. We accomplished so much with what resources we had. The number overwhelmed me and I think more businesses should be doing this.”

Zonta President Brittany Vaughan welcomed more than 100 people attending the luncheon and explained that the luncheon benefits the Zonta Foundation. Funds raised go to such projects as Zonta’s Wings Program. Twice a year, the Zonta Club offers grants up to $2,000. Application deadlines are April 30 and Sept. 30.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The Wings grant is offered to women 21 years and older, who have endured a life altering setback/experience and seek to improve their status through education. The grants offer one-time financial assistance to the recipients.

“There is a really nice tie-in there because a lot of the women that get the Wings grants are clients of organizations that Zita supports, like Family Service Agency and Boys & Girls Club,” Vaughan said.

The chair of the Woman of the Year luncheon was Zonta Club’s Vice President Samantha Mielke, who was assisted by all members in the club.

Family Service Agency Executive Director Laurie Bleick, former city manager Mike Flad and Chris Glennon, one of her former bosses at Hanna Barbara, told humorous stories about Lefebvre as well as re-enforcing her ongoing commitment to local nonprofits.

Glennon recently had attended a conference at which Oprah Winfrey spoke and he said it gave him some ideas for his talk on Lefebvre.

“Oprah is obviously an amazingly successful and dynamic person and I saw a lot of those similarities in Zita in her world,” he said, adding that one thing they have in common is being known by just their first names.

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

The conference he attended referred to Oprah’s brand.

“I thought about the brand of Zita because Zita is such an amazing mix of drive, passion, commitment and humor, so I thought I’d have a little fun with some correlation with another very famous woman.”

All speakers touched on Lefebvre’s relentlessness for getting things accomplished, Glennon said.

Schiff Honors Alexandra Helfrich – 28th Congressional District Woman of the Year

Alexandra Helfrich and Congressman Adam Schiff

Alexandra Helfrich and Congressman Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored inspiring women from communities in the 28th Congressional District. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month.

“It was an honor and a pleasure to meet with the 2014 ‘Women of the Year’ awardees, and to recognize their outstanding work and community leadership,” said Rep. Schiff. “Each woman honored has demonstrated an ability to help others, to work tirelessly for a cause important to us all, and to make our communities a better place. They serve as a shining example of service throughout the 28th Congressional District, and it was wonderful to recognize their extraordinary work and capabilities.”

Alexandra Helfrich

Alexandra Helfrich

Schiff entered a special tribute to each woman into the Congressional Record:

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year, we pay special tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation’s women. It is an honor to pay homage to outstanding women who are making a difference in my Congressional District. I would like to recognize a remarkable woman, Alexandra Helfrich of Burbank.

When her eldest daughter began elementary school, Ms. Helfrich learned that the school did not have any arts programs. She began to fundraise and sought out grant opportunities to bring arts education back into the classroom. Ms. Helfritch worked with other parents, the PTA and Booster organizations to provide opportunities so every Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) student could experience music, visual art, theater, dance, and media arts. Through these collaborations, art programs became available at schools during the school day and after school as well.

Ms. Helfrich has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Burbank Arts For All Foundation since 2007 and served as its co-chair from 2010 to 2013. The Burbank Arts For All Foundation works to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as a part of their core curriculum. To support the foundation’s mission, Ms. Helfrich continues to serve on its Executive Committee. Ms. Helfrich’s volunteer efforts have provided opportunities as well as increased access for children to become creative learners.

Ms. Helfrich has also served the Burbank Unified School District as a parent representative to the District Safety Committee, where she helped update the Special Education Parent Handbook. She is currently serving on the District Local Control Accountability Plan Committee. In addition, Ms. Helfrich, who is a committed school fundraiser, has consistently served on Booster Club Boards since 2007.

Ms. Helfrich is married to Mark Helfrich, a feature film editor and director, and they have two teenage daughters.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring an exceptional woman of California’s 28th Congressional District, Alexandra Helfrich.

Alexandra Helfrich with Dot Marie Jones of Glee fame and Fritz Coleman at last years Burbank Arts For All 'Party on the Plaza' (Ross A. Benson)

Alexandra Helfrich with Dot Marie Jones of Glee fame and Fritz Coleman at last years Burbank Arts For All ‘Party on the Plaza’ (Ross A. Benson)

Zonta Club Honors Rebecca Mieliwocki as Burbank Woman of the Year

Rebecca Mieliwocki was touted as a creative teacher for students and an inspiration to fellow teachers when the Zonta Club of Burbank honored her as its Woman of the Year 2013 during a luncheon on Saturday at the Castaway Restaurant.

Grace Farenbaugh, left, president of Zonta Club of Burbank, with honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki, the Woman of the Year for 2013. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Grace Farenbaugh, left, president of Zonta Club of Burbank, with honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki, the Woman of the Year for 2013. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Mieliwocki is a seventh-grade English teacher at Luther Middle School and she received the National Teacher of the Year in 2012. That honor set her on a yearlong exploration, first being honored by President Obama in Washington, D.C., and then visiting 30 U.S. states and nine countries, representing America’s public school teachers.

The honoree credited the people in her life for getting her to where she is today. She has tried to take the positive attributes from family members, teachers, neighbors and friends and woven those into her own personality, she said. But she never thought she was an inspiration to others.

“It is this award that helped me realize that,” she said. “That all of us are so incredibly infectious and influential whether it is your personality, sense of humor, your brain, the love and laughter that comes out of you is infectious. Take all the gifts you are given but make sure to give some back. So I will take this award today and turn around and see who else I can inspire, encourage, lift up or show the way, just like I hope all of us do.”

Luther teacher Traci Fellman recalled how Mieliwocki offers ways to improve the campus and inspires others to try new things. She led the way to spruce up the teacher’s lounge and helped organize the Luther Losers weight loss program.

“Rebecca is always there to make things better and push people outside of their comfort zones,” Fellman said.

Colleagues of Zonta honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki attending the luncheon are, from left, April Weaver, Luci Bowers and Traci Fellman. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Colleagues of Zonta honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki attending the luncheon are, from left, April Weaver, Luci Bowers and Traci Fellman. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Stefanie Enokian, another Luther teacher, said one of Mieliwocki’s greatest assets in the classroom is the way she holds her students’ attention with her humor, accents, jokes and thinking like a 12-year-old at heart.

Enokian remembered a first day of school when a student was comparing her class schedule with another student in the hallway, and said she had a class with Mieliwocki, who was walking behind her. Mieliwocki told her “Oh no, she’s the worst!” The student was surprised when she sat down in Mieliwocki’s class and saw the same blond woman at the front of the room.

Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy presented Mieliwocki with a certificate of appreciation from the city in honor of her leadership, passion and commitment to education.

“Thank you for making a difference in so many lives and your caring contributions to our city,” the mayor said.

Zonta presented Mieliwocki with a bouquet of flowers and a Woman of the Year pin. In addition, President Grace Farenbaugh said a donation of $500 was made in the recipient’s name to the She’s the First Foundation, which sponsors education for girls in developing nations, allowing them to be the first in their family to graduate from secondary schools.

“Teachers work so hard both in and out of the classroom and we know that Ms. Mieliwocki embodies that passion and dedication,” Farenbaugh said.

The Woman of the Year Award seeks to recognize women who are leaders and achievers in volunteer efforts and community service in Burbank. Recipients are those at the forefront of many initiatives and organizations that improve day-to-day quality of life for thousands in this community, by advancing the status of women.

Past Women of the Year with this year's honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki, second from left, are Marsha Ramos, left, 1997, Lucy Burghdorf, 2008, and Elaine Paonessa, 1978. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Past Women of the Year with this year’s honoree Rebecca Mieliwocki, second from left, are Marsha Ramos, left, 1997, Lucy Burghdorf, 2008, and Elaine Paonessa, 1978. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Past recipients attending Saturday’s event were Elaine Paonessa, Marsha Ramos and Lucy Burghdorf.

Zonta Club of Burbank is one of more than 1,200 clubs operating in 64 countries and geographic areas worldwide. The Burbank club conducts many service projects in the community, but members are most proud of the Zonta Wings program, Farenbaugh said. It provides grants to women for academic or vocational training.

“This program provides financial assistance to adult women who have gone back to school or are pursuing vocational training so they can overcome a major setback in their lives,” Farenbaugh said. “As women, we know how difficult it is to back to school when you have a family. We want to help women soar to the next level.”

Teacher of the Year Becomes Burbank’s Woman of the Year

The Zonta Club of Burbank Area is proud to announce the selection of Rebecca Mieliwocki, as “Burbank’s Woman of the Year” for 2013. The Luther Burbank Middle School teacher gained national attention last year, when she was named National Teacher of the Year. Not able to be honored in 2012 because of her constant travel around the country, the Zonta Club of Burbank felt it appropriate to bestow this honor upon Mieliwocki in 2013. The “Woman of the Year” is an annual event sponsored by Zonta to honor exemplary women who make outstanding contributions to our community. Mieliwocki has positively impacted the lives of countless young people in her years teaching in Burbank.

The Zonta Club of Burbank Area will honor Rebecca Mieliwocki at its annual Woman of the Year Luncheon, Saturday, November 2, 2013, at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank at 11:30 a.m.

A graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Speech Communication and a teaching credential from California State University, Northridge, Mieliwocki has taught English for 16 years in the Burbank Unified School District, first at the high school level and most recently at Luther Burbank Middle School.

“She’s got high expectations for her 7th graders and for herself, but she also knows that school can be fun,” said President Barak Obama as he presented her with the National Teacher of the Year award at the White House.

“The Zonta Club of Burbank is thrilled to honor Rebecca Mieliwocki as Woman of the Year,” said Grace Farenbaugh, President of the Zonta Club. “She has touched and improved so many lives and is a strong role model for aspiring women leaders.”

The Zonta Club invites the community to join in its celebration of Rebecca Mieliwocki’s achievements. Reservations and sponsorship opportunities are available by calling Grace Farenbaugh at 818-398-7170 or emailing woy@zontaburbank.org. Reservation and sponsorship information are also available at www.zontaburbank.org. Tickets are $50 each in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Rep. Schiff Honors 2013 Women of the Year

At a luncheon in Los Feliz this week, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored inspiring women from communities in the 28th Congressional District – Hollywood, West Hollywood, Burbank, Pasadena, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Los Feliz, Sunland–Tujunga, Glendale, Atwater Village, La Cañada Flintridge and La Crescenta. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month.

All of the honorees this year included:

Mel Culpepper (Hollywood) Heidi Shink (West Hollywood), Sylvia Sutton (Burbank) Dr. Gail Schaper-Gordon (Pasadena), Stephanie Vendig (Silver Lake), Rosie Betanzos (Echo Park), Ceci Dominguez (Elysian Valley), Nyla Arslanian (Los Feliz), Cindy Cleghorn (Sunland–Tujunga), Dr. Armine Hacopian (Glendale), Paula Devine (Glendale), Grace Yoo (Atwater Village), Rahla Hall Lindsey (La Cañada Flintridge) and Mary Gant (La Crescenta).

Congressman Adam Schiff honors Sylvia Sutton of Burbank

Congressman Adam Schiff honors Sylvia Sutton of Burbank

“It was an honor and a pleasure to meet with the 2013 ‘Women of the Year’ awardees yesterday, and to recognize their outstanding work and community leadership,” said Rep. Schiff. “Each woman honored has demonstrated an ability to help others, to work tirelessly for an important cause and to make our communities a better place. They serve as a shining example of service for all of us, and especially young people throughout the 28th Congressional District, and it was my pleasure to recognize their extraordinary work and capabilities.”

Every year, during Women’s History Month, Rep. Schiff honors one outstanding woman from each of the communities in the 28th Congressional District. These women come from all walks of life and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our region. While there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks for women who — through their work or volunteerism — have improved the quality of life for our community.

Schiff entered a special tribute to each woman into the Congressional Record, which is also below.

A Tribute to Sylvia Sutton

28th Congressional District Woman of the Year-2013

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month.  Each year, we pay special tribute to the contributions and sacrifices made by our nation’s women. It is an honor to pay homage to outstanding women who are making a difference in my Congressional District.

I would like to recognize an exceptional woman, Sylvia Sutton of Burbank, California, who for many years, has been educating our community about the Holocaust and other human rights violations.

Sylvia received her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and her MBA in Marketing and Program Management from West Coast University. Sylvia’s early community efforts included volunteering on the David Starr Jordan Middle School Parent Teacher Association (PTA), and the William McKinley Elementary School PTA, where she received an Honorary Life Membership Award, and as a Girl Scout Leader.

Ms. Sutton’s volunteer activities have included the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Burbank Branch, where she served as President, the UCLA Alumni Scholarship Committee, and the League of Women Voters, Glendale/Burbank. Currently, she is the liaison between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council and the City of Burbank, the Coordinator and Presenter of the annual Burbank Days of Remembrance Commemoration of the Holocaust, and has been the presenter of Holocaust speakers in the eighth and tenth grade classrooms of every Burbank middle and high school since 1991. Sylvia is also a volunteer at the Skirball Cultural Center, as well as the Parliamentarian on the Burbank Coordinating Council. In addition, she works as the secretary for Temple Beth Emet of Burbank.

Sylvia has received a number of accolades for her extensive community service, including the Burbank City 1999 Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award, the 1998 Zonta Woman of the Year for Cultural Awareness Award, and the 1991 Burbank Human Relations Council Distinguished Service Award.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a truly remarkable woman of California’s 28th Congressional District, Sylvia Sutton.

Schiff Solicits Nominations for Annual Woman of the Year Award

Every March, in recognition of Women’s History Month, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honors outstanding women from his district.  The 28th Congressional District includes the cities and communities of Atwater Village, Burbank, East Hollywood, Echo Park, Elysian Valley, Glendale, Griffith Park, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Los Feliz, Montrose, Pasadena, Shadow Hills, Silver Lake, Sunland, Tujunga and West Hollywood.

“Recipients of the ‘Woman of the Year Award’ come from all walks of life and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our region,” Rep. Schiff said. “I urge constituents to contact my office and let us know about some of the admirable women in our communities by nominating them for this year’s award.”

Constituents are encouraged to nominate women in their community — while there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks for women who — through their work or volunteerism — have improved the quality of life in our community. Nominations can be sent to Mary Hovagimian (mary.hovagimian@mail.house.gov). Nominations should include a written description of your nominee’s accomplishments, the home address, phone number and e-mail of the nominee, and the nominator’s name and contact information.

The deadline for nominations is February 22, 2013.

Shanna Warren is Zonta Club’s Woman of the Year

By Joyce Rudolph
BurbankNBeyond

Many boys and girls in Burbank benefit every day from the efforts of the 2012 Woman of the Year.

Shanna Warren, chief executive officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley, was lauded by civic officials and friends Saturday during the annual luncheon presented by Zonta Club of Burbank Area at the Castaway.

Burbank Woman of the Year Shanna Warren, center, is congratulated by Zonta Club members, President Grace Farenbaugh, left, and Donna Anderson. (Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Warren has led the after-school program for youngsters from low-income families since 2004. She started as a volunteer 11 years ago, but was compelled to leave her career as marketing director to work full time for the club.

Under her leadership the club has grown from one site serving 75 youth to 17 locations providing care for more than 1,500 youth a day. In August, two more facilities opened in La Crescenta and Sun Valley that serve 200.

But that’s not all she does. Two years ago, she helped create the Burbank Non-Profit Coalition, made up of a dozen non-profit organizations that partner on projects, share resources and seek to reduce duplication of services. Over the summer, the coalition provided free haircuts, dental and medical exams and backpacks for more than 500 youngsters during a Back to School Fair.

She also donates time to the Burbank Youth Task Force, Burbank Child Care Committee, Burbank Noon Lions Club, La Providencia Guild of Los Angeles Children’s Hospital, and the list goes on.

Mayor Dave Golonski noted that the Woman of the Year program left out one of the words in the title.

“It should have read Shanna Warren — Super Woman of the Year,” he said. “Listening to your accomplishments we are feeling like slackers. You are changing and saving lives every day.”

Rep. Adam Schiff attended the event and commended her for her tireless efforts.

Zonta President Grace Farenbaugh, who chaired the event, announced that a $500 donation will be made from the Zonta group to the Boys & Girls Club.

“Shanna is the perfect example of if you want to get something done, ask a busy person,” Farenbaugh said.

Warren was not only touched but embarrassed by all the accolades bestowed upon her, she said.

“This means a lot to me. I will never forget it. My wish is that years from now when my daughter comes across the program from today I hope she grows up to be a strong woman who wants to help others. That would be my ultimate success story.”

Rep. Schiff Honors 2012 Women of the Year

Rep. Adam Schiff with Nancy E. Guillen of Burbank

Friday, April 13 at a luncheon in Pasadena, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) honored outstanding women from each of the communities (Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, and Temple City) in the 29th Congressional District. This recognition is made each year during Women’s History Month. Below is a full list of all the honorees this year:

Joanna Vargas (Alhambra), Carolyn Ingram Seitz (Altadena), Ellen Snortland (Altadena), Nancy E. Guillen (Burbank), Debra Suh (Glendale), Diane Gin (Monterey Park), Denise Houlemard Jones (Pasadena), Eleanor K. Andrews (San Gabriel), Kay Mouradian (South Pasadena), Gretchen Robinette (South Pasadena), Eva Arrighi (Temple City)

“It was a great pleasure to meet with the 2012 ‘Women of the Year’ awardees today, and to honor their tireless work and achievements throughout our communities,” said Schiff.“Each woman honored today has demonstrated an ability to bring people together, to get things done, and to really leave their mark. They serve as role models for all of us, and especially young people throughout the 29th Congressional District, and it was my pleasure to recognize them.”

Every year, during Women’s History Month, Rep. Schiff honors one outstanding woman from each of the communities in the 29th Congressional District. These women come from all walks of life and represent the thousands of women who make a positive impact in our region. While there are no specific criteria for nomination, Rep. Schiff looks for women who — through their work or volunteerism — have improved the quality of life for our community.

Congressman Schiff honored Nancy Guillen with the following:

A TRIBUTE TO NANCY E. GUILLEN

29th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR- 2012

I rise today in honor of Women’s History Month. Each year during the month of March, we pay special tribute to the accomplishments made by our nation’s most distinguished women.

Today, I pay tribute to Nancy E. Guillen of Burbank, California. Born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, Nancy, who is the youngest of four children, immigrated to the United States in 1968 at the age of six, and became a U.S. citizen in the early 1980’s. Upon graduating from John Marshall High School, Nancy attended Glendale Community College.

Ms. Guillen is the CEO of True Integrity Insurance & Payroll Services in Burbank. Prior to this career, Nancy worked in the medical field for over two decades. Aside from being a dedicated career woman, Nancy has always found time to volunteer and contribute many hours of service to a variety of organizations, including Kid’s Community Dental Clinic, Glendale Noon Kiwanis, Family Service Agency of Burbank, The Salvation Army of Burbank, Ascencia, and Family Promise of East San Fernando Valley, where she also serves as a Board Member. Currently, Nancy is President of the Glendale Latino Association, and helps raise scholarship funds for Glendale Community College and Glendale High School students.

In addition to volunteering countless hours at homeless shelters, supporting families and children, and volunteering for nonprofit organizations, Nancy is also an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Nancy participates in cancer walks, is involved with the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life in Burbank and Fiesta of the Spanish Horse to help raise funds to cure cancer. Ms. Guillen’s commitment to help women who are battling breast cancer is admirable, and she always finds time to speak with them and support them in any possible way she can.

Nancy has two children, Juan and Cindy, and a granddaughter, Natalia, who she says are the greatest blessings in her life.

I ask all Members to join me in honoring a remarkable woman of California’s 29th Congressional District, Nancy E. Guillen, for her exceptional service to the community.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto Honors Burbank Resident Helena David as Woman of the Year

Helena David

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) has honored Helena David of Burbank as the 43rd Assembly District’s Woman of the Year. Ms. David is the founder of Those Who Care, a non-profit whose mission is to provide local food pantries and homeless shelters with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ms. David founded Those Who Care after noticing trees in her neighborhood were bursting with unharvested fruit. So, along with long her husband Scott and son Aaron, she began seeking homeowners, one by one, that would allow their trees to be picked. Those Who Care then donates the fresh produce to local food pantries and shelters, which results in far more nutritious and fresh meals than the traditional canned food on which such entities depend. In just one year’s time, Helena and her team surpassed their goal of donating 100,000 pieces of fresh fruit.

“Helena has helped solve the problem of hunger and nutrition in the most creative way,” said Gatto, “After she identified the problem, she rolled up her sleeves to solve it, and did so in such a way that ensures that our community does not waste the resources that are staring us right in the face. Everyone in Southern California has seen the trees full of unpicked grapefruits and oranges, and even apples and avocados. Helena David makes sure that this otherwise wasted produce gets to those who need it.”

The Assemblyman learned of Helena’s efforts after reading an article by Joyce Rudolph, printed in the Glendale News-Press. Immediately, he knew he wanted to honor her. “Helena represents the best of Burbank. She encompasses the generous and creative spirit of the 43rd District, and it is my privilege to recognize her for her dedication to serving others,” said Gatto.

Ms. David will be recognized as a part of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus’ annual “Woman of the Year” celebration on March 26, 2012 at the State Capitol at 10:00 AM. Spending the day with Assemblyman Gatto, Helena will be treated to a brunch reception with other statewide honorees, and will be honored on the Assembly Floor for her generous contributions to the community.