From Siberia to Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara’s Incoming Rotary President Devotes Her Life To Service Above Self
As a teenager growing up in a remote area of Siberia during the 1980s, Katerina Zamyatina dreamed of being able to visit the United States. Her dream was realized when, at the age of nineteen she was chosen from among more than six hundred applicants to participate in a Girl Scout Camp in northern California. Katerina is now slated to become the President of the Santa Barbara Rotary Club on July 1, 2014.
As a teenager growing up in a remote area of Siberia during the 1980s, Katerina Zamyatina dreamed of being able to visit the United States. She worked hard in school, studied art and dance, and stayed focused on always doing her best and accepting all challenges. Her dream was realized when, at the age of nineteen she was chosen from among more than six hundred applicants to participate in a Girl Scout Camp in northern California.
Spending a few days first in New York City and then in San Francisco for an orientation, it was quite a shock when she arrived at the camp. The setting was the rural area of Sugar Pine, where the terrain was open fields and dense woods for as far as the eye could see. Katerina set about to make her next three months working at the camp meaningful ones. It was here that she met a girl with cerebral palsy and formed a deep friendship that has lasted for almost twenty years.
First as a friend during this summer of 1997 and then as a caregiver to the same girl over the next three years in Santa Barbara, it was at this time that Katerina first realized how important serving others was to be in her own life.
She chose to stay in Santa Barbara and complete her education, first at Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and then transferring to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) to earn her Bachelor’s degree. The final leg of her academic journey was at Antioch University, where she received her Master’s in Organizational Management.
“The educational system in the United States was so exciting and attractive to me’, Zamyatina said.’Instead of just listening to lectures as we would back in the Soviet Union, the American system is composed of presentations by a variety of speakers, videos, fundraising opportunities, and interactions of all kinds.”
During her years as a student she won bestowed with many honors, including being elected as Student Body President at SBCC, where she won by a landslide; the President’s Honor Roll; Phi Beta Kappa; and being awarded various scholarships.
After graduation she began working at a construction company in Santa Barbara, but soon longed for a life where she could make a difference in other people’s lives. This led to her taking over an assisted living residential facility in 2008, and now she runs three fully accredited facilities.
On July 1, 2014 Katerina becomes the new President of the Santa Barbara Rotary Club, the largest Rotary Club in the county. She’s following in her mother’s footsteps, as she was a Rotarian back in Siberia and a Charter Member of her Club. In 2012 Katerina became a United States citizen, and in 2012 she sponsored her mother so she could receive her Green Card and join her here in Santa Barbara. With Rotary’s motto being ’Service Above Self’, she is looking forward to continuing her life path of serving others in need during her year in heading up the Santa Barbara Rotary Club. Find out more at http://www.santabarbararotary.com
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- Connie Ragen Green
- Connie Ragen Green
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