YWCA Women of Achievement Awards
May 9th, 5 p.m.
Wilmington Convention Center
515 Nutt Street
$60/indv. or $600/table of 10
The YWCA strives to eliminate racism and empower women throughout the world. As the largest and oldest multicultural women’s organization, they have helped over 25 million members (plus their families) across 122 countries. YWCA provides many services to women and girls as needed, whether it is for safe living, childcare, health, job training, encouraging and teaching strong leadership skills, or advocating on their behalf all the way up to Congress.
Empowering women helps reinforce equality, which is what the organization strives for. The two go hand in hand and when YWCA gives to women, they leave with a renewed spirit, stronger lives and new skills. The result is women who can ably give back and find a better life for themselves to pass onto their children.
This year’s Women of Achievement Awards has 12 youth leader and 54 adult nominees. Women of Achievement Chair Amy Mangus says, “The women who are nominated are leaders in our community and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.”
For example YWCA looks for women like Elizabeth Redenbaugh, who won the Public Service award last year. “She was very instrumental with the school districting, making sure the school board focused on diversity, not allowing schools to be solely black or solely white,” Mangus explains.
The first step in honoring these women is with a nomination process. Then the selection committee (made of past recipients) chooses a winner based on each category: Environment, Education, Art, Public Service, Volunteer, Business/Entrepreneur, Communications, Health and Wellness, Rachael Freeman Unsung Hero, Lifetime Achievement and Young Leader. The Young Leader award honors three high-school seniors with a $1000 college scholarship. Every category winner is announced at the award’s ceremony.
Mangus tells, “Many of the winners are women who constantly go above and beyond their normal call of duty. They are changing lives for women and children; though the YWCA is not just about childcare. We work to promote racial justice programs and so much more.”
Wilmington is home to one of only 14 YWCAs in the United States to be honored by the YWCA USA Hallmark Initiative Committee, as a model program for their racial justice program. This program includes “What’s Wrong with Different?”—a hands-on activity that is being taught to elementary school students to respect and appreciate differences among people rather than to view someone as inferior.
Last year’s Achievement of Awards brought out about 500 attendees and raised almost $21,000 after expenses. The proceeds go back to YWCA programming. Mangus adds, “We are then able to help provide money for people to get education, to buy a laptop and attend college.”
Susan Fennell, executive director of YWCA, encourages, “You will be inspired if you decide to be in the room with these amazing women, and you will discover why they fight, push, influence, encourage, and impact so many others with their courage and unwavering strength. Congratulations to all the 2013 Women of Achievement nominees and thank you for making our community such a wonderful place to live, work, and play!”
The event will feature a social between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. for the women to meet each other, and the businesses that are supporting and sponsoring the event. Dinner is catered by the Wilmington Convention Center and will be served before the program. This year’s recipients will be announced and honored during the program.
Mangus encourages everyone to attend, “It is usually friends of the nominees who come, but really everyone should. It is an incredibly inspiring event that will get people stirring to get involved in our community.”
“Elizabeth Redenbaugh’s win still stands out from last year,” Shea Carver, encore editor and recipient of the 2012 award in the communications category, says. “I have thought about her story, her natural instincts and her courage to speak out against school redistricting so much over the course of the year. It still puts a lump in my throat to think of her passion to ensure her children—our children—go to fully integrated public schools. It’s hard to believe we still have to face this issue, but it really is an inspiration to see women like Redenbaugh refuse to sit back and watch regression thwart progression. She sent me home with the impetus to better myself in everything I do 110 percent more—as did all of the 2012 class. There is no way a nominee, winner or attendant can leave the WOA ceremony without promising themselves a harder-working, more compassionate and virtuous tomorrow.”
Tickets are available for purchase at www.wilmingtonwoa.com for $60 per person or $600 for a table of 10.