Women of Distinction Annual Gala

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2020 WOD

Due to the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, the Board of Directors and Women of Distinction Committee made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Women of Distinction Event. Several attempts were made to postpone the event; however, it was decided that there is no way to hold an event to honor the incredible Women of Distinction that allows us to properly celebrate these women and their achievements that is also in compliance with the State of Illinois regulations and the CDC recommendations regarding the pandemic.

Instead, the 2020 Women of Distinction will be honored at the 2021 Women of Distinction Gala, to be held at the Best Western Premiere Hotel in Alton, Illinois on either April 22 or April 29, 2021 (official date to be announced at a later time). The event will also honor the 2021 Women of Distinction and the Josephine Marley Beckwith Future Leaders Scholarship recipients.

For more information about how the exceptional 2020 Women of Distinction embody the mission of the YWCA of Alton, please read a short biography of each of them below and attend the 2021 Women of Distinction Gala to hear all about their achievements and celebrate their dedication to the community.

Dr. Wendy Adams completed doctoral research on educator bias and disproportionate discipline in schools which have continued to disenfranchise women and people of color. She is a member of the YWCA Racial Justice Committee and works to educate people in the community about their own implicit biases and the accomplishments of women and minorities. She is a member of the Riverbend Rotary, the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Alton, the Alton Education Foundation, and the Illinois and National Education Associations.

 

 

Virginia Woulfe-Beile is a member of the Sierra Club, United Congregations of the Metro East, Village of Godfrey Board of Trustees, Energy Efficiency and Climate Protection Committee, and Godfrey Stormwater Committee, just to name a few. These opportunities allow her to educate the community about the disproportionate impact of pollution, coal combustion, and environmental degradation on communities of color. She works to improve opportunities for the poor, women, and girls in government and the community.

 

 

Nancy Berry helped form Collinsville Faith in Action, through the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association, which allows volunteer teams from 16 congregations to assist older and disabled individuals, primarily women. She advocates at the state level for adult day care, and was the Executive Director of St. John’s Community Care, where she developed the only Adult Day Care Centers in Madison County. She is now director of Community Care. She is very active in the Collinsville Area League of Women Voters and Food Pantry Board, among many others.

 

 

Rosetta L. Brown is a member of the Madison County Leadership Council, the Alton School Board, the Madison County Urban League, the Alton Branch of the NAACP, and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority of Howard University. As a member of the Urban League, she works to security economic independence and civil rights through interracial cooperation, advocacy, and education. She works with teenage girls through the Madison County Housing Authority instructing them on many life skills, and has also organized a Get Out the Vote campaign.

 

 

State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe has only been in the state senate for a year, but she already has an impressive record of introducing and supporting legislation that supports and empowers women, including insurance coverage for breast cancer screenings, ending the statute of limitations on criminal sexual assault, and strengthening worker protections against sexual harassment and discrimination, just to name a few. She is the first female chair of the Illinois State Senate Judiciary Committee and serves throughout Madison, County.

 

 

Monica Ellebracht has been volunteering since grade school at church events, Girl Scouting, and Junior Achievement. She then got degrees in dental assisting and dental hygiene, during which time she volunteered with student dental groups that provided free screenings.    She now works on strengthening families through Habitat for Humanity, Catholic Charities, St. John’s Breadline, the Girl Scouts, and Encounter. She has started mother-daughter teas and father-daughter dances, as well as grandparents’ breakfasts at schools.

 

 

Olivia “Ann” Ervin volunteers in Madison, Illinois organizing Black history programs, holiday parties, public safety events with the Illinois State Police and fire departments, and summer lunch and recreational programs for children. She brought a Healthcare Fest to the Quad Cities area with free health screenings. She works with “Empowering Minds” to generate skills and motivations for success after high school and helps with expungement days. She works with the Illinois State Police on “All Lives Matter” workshops and mentors struggling families.

 

 

Angela Gray is a social worker at Alton High School, and works with such programs as the Good Friends Mentoring Program, S.W.A.P Program, and the Pipeline to Success Program. She started the A Town Stepperss at Alton High School, a step dance competition group consisting primarily of African American youth. The program also leads them to excel academically and socially, due to an increased self-confidence and sense of self-worth. She facilitates workshops through the Boys & Girls Club and YWCA of Alton.

 

 

Lisa Hayes works at Boeing Company in St. Louis, where she mentors 12 women from all areas of Boeing, empowering them and helping them build their self-confidence and success. She coaches nine age divisions for the Alton Renegade Youth Football and Cheerleading Club, the St. Ambrose Girls Volleyball team, and the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Select Women’s Youth Soccer. At Boeing, she was tasked with reducing the company’s paper footprint, and oversaw a project that recycles 43,600 pounds of paper from 1,160 binders.

 

 

Sherry I. McCrady has worked with women and youth in the Alton Area for more than 30 years. She is a professional counselor and rapist, specializing in domestic violence and teen parenting programs. She works with women and girls through the Union Baptist and Morning Star Baptist churches, the Alton School District, and the YWCA of Alton. She worked with the Sister Strand 2019 women’s conference, Promise and Purpose Girls’ Summit, and the EmpowerHer Women’s Conference, and the YWCA Girls’ Circle Program.

 

 

Robyne O’Mara serves as a trained legal observer for the ACLU, upholding civil rights at local protests. She is a volunteer for the Interfaith Coalition for Latin America, accompanying undocumented asylum seekers to supervision and ICE appointments. She volunteered at YWCA of Alton, spent 4-5 years as a facilitator for the Anti-Defamation League in St. Louis with their World of Difference program. She works on campaigns for female political candidates, is a site leader for the Alton Overnight Warming Shelter, and a yoga instructor at Beverly Farms.

 

 

Kendra Lynette Stiff mentors teenage girls in the Alton School District and G.L.A.D. (Girls Learning and Developing). In 2013, she started W.R.E.S.T.L.E., Women’s Restoration Entering Stability, Tolerance, Love and Esteem, which provides skills and mentoring to women and girls of all ages in Madison and St. Clair Counties. Her goal is to inspire women to be renewed in their mind, body, and soul, and to love themselves and give love back in return. The program started at her church, but is not a full not-for-profit organization.