The College of Southern Maryland hosted the “Women of the World” 14th Annual Awards Celebration and Luncheon. The theme this year was “Building Bridges to the Future”. It was especially fitting since March 2016 is Women’s History Month.
The Women of the World (WOW) Awards celebrates Calvert County women and girls and has become an annual event. It brings together two traditions. The first WOW luncheon grew from a 2002 event, when the Calvert County League of Women Voters (CCLWV) participated in a national women’s empowerment exchange with Zambia. And since it began in 1975. The Calvert County Commission for Women (appointed by the Calvert Board of County Commissioners), has recognized outstanding women and girls.
Today, the WOW Awards has grown with other organizations joining the League of Women Voters and the Commission for Women, honoring women and girls who are leaders in our community. This year, nine organizations participated, honoring fourteen women and girls who made a difference,
These are the sixteen women honored:
Cassandra Okwumabua for her work with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland. She is also actively involved with the League of Women Voters, Closing the Gap Coalition, Calvert Mentoring Partnership, Calvert Nature Society, BREM Foundation, and Concerned Black Women.
Candice D’Agostino as coordinator for 17 years with Calvert Alliance Against Substance Abuse. Candice supports the Drug Take Back program, Designated Driver Initiatives, Underage Drinking Awareness Training for Law Enforcement and Neighborhood Watch’s National Night Out.
Lisa Height-Gross as the founder of Loving Care Senior Services, Inc. She is also a member of the Calvert County Chamber of Commerce and Women to Women of Calvert County.
Terry L Shannon received the Outstanding Achievement Award for Business Leadership. Terry is the Calvert County Government Administrator. A graduate of Leadership Southern Maryland and leadership Maryland, Terry serves on the Board of Trustees for the Calvert County Employees’ Retirement Plan, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Pension Plan and the Calvert County Employees’ Defined Contribution Plan. When Terry was asked what this award meant to her, she said, “When I received the call about the award, I was literally “blown away” because I am just doing my job. I am very honored and grateful to receive this award! During my tenure with the County I have been extremely lucky to work with and for some amazing people. I truly believe that if you surround yourself with good, hardworking people and if you have the support from the people above you, you can accomplish great things. Again, I have been very fortunate and I am very thankful to have such great co-workers and solid support! I love Calvert County, the place where I was born and raised; to be able to work for my neighbors and friends has been a real honor and pleasure!
Pamela Cousins was the honoree for Outstanding Achievement Award for Advocacy. Pamela if the President of the Calvert County Board of Education. She also serves on the Executive Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Maryland, a member of Concerned Black Women, NAACP, National Society of Black Engineers, CASH (Creative and Striving Hard to succeed),Northern High School’s Professional Division of Future Business Leaders of America (Phi Beta Lambda Chapter), and the Parent-Teacher-Student Organization at a local high school.
Rhonda Marie Crawley received the Outstanding Achievement Award for Service. She serves on the Board of Directors of Ruth’s Miracle Group Home and volunteers as that organization’s Fund Development Officer. Rhonda has also served as a member of the Regional Transportation Coordinating Committee of Southern Maryland, the Calvert County Commission for Women, and in 2010 received the Harriet Tubman Woman of the Year Award from the Concerned Black Women of Calvert County.
Alexya Brown received the Woman of Tomorrow Award. Alexya is a Patuxent High School Senior and an Intern for Calvert Beacon. She is the CCPS high school representative to the Board of Education. She spearheaded a new Student Advisory Committee and recently organized a Student Forum to explore equitable educational opportunities, racial divides and non-testing ways to access educational progress. She is secretary for her school’s student government, member of the Executive Board of Maryland Association of Student Councils, a staffer at Maryland Leadership Workshop, and as a National Honor Society officer, she helped organize the first annual Prom Dress Drive to make it affordable for all. She is a founding member of Patuxent High’s Performing Arts Music Honor Society and a member of the orchestra. Asking Alexya what the award means to her, she replied, “I am so grateful to be honored as 2016 Woman of Tomorrow. To me, this award recognizes me as a leader for the future generation, so while I celebrate the honor, I realize that the community has identified me as someone who is ready to serve the community and affect the course of our future. I can’t wait to further my work in the years to come.”
Leila Boyer for her work with the Calvert County Historical Society. She also serves on the Calvert County Historic District Commission and the heritage Committee. When her husband retired, they moved to Calvert County and the family’s farm in Dunkirk. She is the 8th generation of her family to live in the historic home.
Sharon Wallace was recognized for her minority owned business Wallace Creations. Established in 2005, Wallace Creations provides web design, development and related services for businesses and non-profits.
Karyn Molines was honored for her work as the Chief of the Calvert County Natural Resources Division. She oversees management of nine county nature parks. She also manages the fishing piers, boat ramps and hunting areas. More than 42,000 visitors and over 13,000 students visit Calvert’s nature parks. Karyn, who lives in North Beach, participates in the recycling effort with the North Beach Environmental Committee. She helped found the Maryland Native Plant Society, where she has served as President and Secretary, and maintains their website. She also chairs their annual Fall Conference and is Calvert’s representative for the Southern Maryland Chapter. She has previously volunteered with Calvert County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, the North Beach Tree Committee, and the Steering Committee for the North beach Bayside History and nature Center.
Gwendoyn James is owner of Jones and James Company, LLC, an event and décor company. She works as cafeteria manager for Calvert County Public Schools and part time at Camp Letts in Edgewater. She is a member of the Concerned Black Women and Bethel Way of the Cross, where she serves on both of the scholarship committees.
Willetta Love was honored by the Community Mediation Center (CMCC) of Calvert County. She has volunteered there for 6 years. She is a volunteer mediator, supporting difficult conversations between law enforcement and citizens. Willetta has also represented CMCC at legislative events, coached new mediators, and volunteers with programs at Project ECHO, Northern High School and in the Yardley Hills community.
Alyssa Jeaneane Niemi was nominated by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Council. She is a graduate of Patuxent high School and attends UMBC. While at Patuxent High, she played Varsity Lacrosse and soccer, was a member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Broadcast Club. She volunteered for Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, Safe Nights, Karsyn’s Carnival, Solomon’s Vet, Little Tykes and Junior Docent for Calvert Marine Museum.
Elizabeth Prouty was also honored by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Council. She and her husband, Richard Due, own Second Look Books in Prince Frederick. She has served as Troop, Service Unit and Association Cookie Manager; Troop Leader; Annual Meeting Delegate; and Recognitions Co-Chair.
Pat Hofmann, with the Family Feud Fundraiser Team, brought together elected officials, appointed county government employees, nonprofits, business and commercial leaders and the public. It supports the League of Women Voters with funds to help with voter registration and voter education.
And last but not least, Ruth Reid. She retired from Calvert County Public Schools as Supervisor of Special Education. She now spends most of her time volunteering with NAACP Calvert County Branch, of which she is a life member, 1st Vice President, Chair of Minority Health Coalition, Chair African-American Family Community Day, Chair Annual Brunch luncheon, Chair Annual Branch Summit, Past Chair Huntingtown Learning center, and member of the Board of License Commissioners of Calvert County. Ruth also is Chair of Tri-County Selective Service Board and Calvert County Election Judge.
Please enjoy the pictures of the Wow luncheon and the awards.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon