The Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women plans to honor four local women at its 2008 Outstanding Women Leaders during an awards ceremony scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 14th, at Santa Monica City Hall, 1685 Main St.

The Outstanding Women Leaders Awards are presented annually to women who have demonstrated exceptional personal and/or professional dedication to improving the lives of women and girls in Santa Monica.

This year’s recipients are:

— Ellen Khokha, executive director of The Growing Place;

— Santa Monica police officer Natalie Dewberry;

— Cory Rytterager of the Santa Monica police Child Abuse and Domestic Violence unit; and

— Cristina Collazos, a college student who will receive the Outstanding Junior Leader Award.

Khokha, who founded The Growing Place nearly 25 years ago, has been an outspoken proponent of improving the wages and benefits to persons employed in early childhood, a field that remains dominated by women, according to the commission. She has worked as an adjunct faculty member at Santa Monica College and actively participates in the Santa Monica Child Care and Early Education Task Force, North Bay Chapter of the Southern California Association for the Education of Young Children and the California Mentor Program.

Dewberry, a pioneering veteran of the Santa Monica Police Department, is an exemplary role model for female officers, and girls and boys at the Police Activities League, commission members say.

Rytterager, a child abuse and domestic violence investigator with the Santa Monica Police Department for over 30 years, is recognized for working long hours and having one of the most difficult investigative responsibilities in the police department.

Callazos emigrated from Spain to Santa Monica when she was in the fourth grade, at that time speaking only Spanish. A graduate of Brentwood School with a 3.7 grade point average, Callazos was a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica Leaders in Training Program, completing more than 60 hours of work necessary to receive the Personal Progress Award at her church.

Callazos received the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award possible for a Girl Scout, and is now in her first year at Brigham Young University.

The Santa Monica Commission on the Status of Women works to enhance the status of women in the community. The commission promotes these goals through investigation of advocacy for and policy development regarding issues relevant to women and girls, and by creating leadership and career advancement opportunities for women and girls in the community.

Information on the awards event, (310) 458-8701.

Share