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YWCA to honor Women & Teens of the Year

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 by The Press in Local News

YWCA Bethlehem will celebrate the volunteer achievements of local women and teens at the 43rd annual Women & Teens of the Year award ceremony April 12, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Event Center at Blue.

A silent auction will run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit YWCA Bethlehem’s Adult Day Services Center and the YWCA’s Women and Girls’ Empowerment Programs.

The YWCA will present four special awards: the Golden Laurel’ the Women of the Year Award; the Mission Award; and the Teens of the Year Award.

YWCA Bethlehem and Title Sponsor Capital BlueCross are proud to announce this year’s award recipients:

Golden Laurel Award: Kassie Hilgert is president and CEO of ArtsQuest. Hilgert is currently the Chair of Discover Lehigh Valley’s Board of Trustees. She also serves on the Boy Scouts of America’s Minsi Trails Council’s Executive Board of Trustees, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Trustees and the PNC Regional Advisory Board of Trustees. She previously served on the boards of Good Shepherd and the Children’s Home of Easton, the Girl Scouts Take the Lead Nominating Committee and the City of Bethlehem’s 275th Anniversary Committee.

Outstanding Public Servant: Olga Negrón currently serves as a councilwoman for the City of Bethlehem and works as a community liaison for HGSK Law Firm. She has previously worked for the Bethlehem Area Public Library and as a legislative assistant for state Representative Steve Samuelson. She has worked as the executive director of both the Hispanic Center of Bethlehem and the Levitt Pavilion Steel Stacks. She has served as a member of Community Revitalization and Crime Prevention Advisory Committee appointed by former Governor Ed Rendell and recently has been appointed by Governor Tom Wolf as a member of the Governor Advisory Council on Library. Negrón serves on the boards of The Hispanic Chamber, New Bethany Ministries, the Bethlehem Area Public Library and the Pastoral Council of Holy Infancy Church.

Mission Award Recipient: Dr. Megan Eyvazzadeh, DPT, is the owner of The Restoration Space in Bethlehem, an integrative health practice she opened in February 2018. Eyvazzadeh has been an active volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley for the past decade. For the past five years she has been a Girls on the Run coach at Donegan ES. She recently held a food drive for Backpack Pals, a program that provides weekend meals for food-insecure students at 10 Bethlehem schools.

Woman of the Year: Gail Evans is the associate vice president of development at St. Luke’s University Health Network, a position she has held since 2007. Evans has been an active member on the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem since 2011, including a term as president in 2016-2017. She spearheaded the club’s efforts to restore the Rotary’s Children Park on Sand Island. Under her leadership, five area Rotary clubs worked together with Hunger Outreach NE to pack 20,000 meals to benefit local agencies such as Hispanic Center Food Pantry, the Trinity UCC Food Pantry, the Salvation Army and New Bethany Ministries. Evans is currently a member of the Advisory Council of the Bethlehem Area Vo-Tech School and a member of the BAVTS Bridges Foundation Board.

Woman of the Year: Jody King is a vice president with CBRE Inc. based in the Lehigh Valley offices in Allentown. King has been involved with Commercial Real Estate Women of the Lehigh Valley (CREW) for 13 years. As the chair of the Community Service Committee, she has organized “countless” drives for toys, clothes and food. She organizes CREW’s Habitat for Humanity Day as part of Women Build Week and coordinates CREW members to provide babysitting at the Sixth Street Shelter one day each month to allow parents to attend job counseling at Career Link. King has served on the board of directors of the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley for seven years, including serving as president for the past three.

Woman of the Year: Chrissy Hixson is a Senior Community Relations Consultant at Capital Blue Cross. She currently serves on the board of Phantoms Charities and the Non Profit & Business Partners Council. Chrissy is a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Executive Leadership Council and is co-chair of the LLS Man/Woman of the Year Campaign this year. In 2016, when she was a candidate, she raised $71,000 for blood cancer research. She is also active on the Women’s Business Council Marketing & Programming Committees, Lehigh Valley Wine Gala & Auction Committee and the Children’s Home of Easton Golf Committee.

Teen of the Year: Nessa Cartegena is a senior at Liberty HS. She is the president the Latino Youth Leadership Club and a member of National Honor Society and the Class of 2018 Spirit Week Committee. Nessa volunteers with Steelers Athletic Association, Northampton County Special Olympics, Life Church, Sayre Child Center, and the Cops n’ Kids Literacy Program. She has earned over 100 hours of community service while maintaining an excellent GPA.

Teen of the Year: Vivi Hoang is a senior at Bethlehem Catholic HS. She is the yearbook editor at Becahi and is a member of National Honor Society, Key Club, Fact Club and the miniTHON Morale Committee. Vivi has participated in Science Olympiad, Pennsylvania Math League, Drama Club’s stage hair and makeup crew. She has been a “Top Ten Scholar” at Becahi since her freshman year.

Teen of the Year: Adrianna Johnson is a senior at Liberty HS. She has earned over 680 hours of community service, making her one of the top three community service students of her graduating class. She has volunteered as a cheer coach at Bethlehem Steelers Athletic Association for the past four years. Adrianna has been a recipient of two community service awards for her work with the Steelers, as well as a Widener University Leadership Award.

Teen of the Year: Hailey Miller is a senior at Freedom HS, where she is captain of the field hockey team and a member of the National Honor Society. She serves on the Student Council and is a leader of the BASD Mini-THON, an event that raises funds for pediatric cancer research. Hailey has volunteered regularly at Sacred Heart Parish for the past four years and has been involved with Special Olympics, ArtsQuest, Race for Adam Foundation, Angel 34 Foundation, and St. John’s United Church of Christ.

The annual Women and Teens of the Year awards ceremony is made possible by generous support from community sponsors: CapitalBlue Cross, Northstar Team Development, St. Luke’s University Health Network, Bank of America, BB&T Insurance Services, CREW, Highmark, PPL Corporation, Sands Bethlehem, ASR Media LLC, B. Braun Medical, Inc., Crayola, King Spry Herman Freund & Faul, LLC, Moravian Village, Pendurthi Surgical Association and Victualic. Generous donors to the teen scholarship program include: Anne Baum, Sandra Dale, Beall Fowler for Decade of Scholarships in memory of Marlene “Linny” Fowler, Virginia Oskin, and the Northampton County Medical Society Alliance.

For more information about the Women & Teens of the Year Awards or YWCA Bethlehem programs, please contact Diane Groeller (610) 867-4669 ext. 101.