NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families. With those words in mind, this year, we are changing the focus of our honorees. We will honor those who kept us going during the pandemic, improved our lives, helped make our world a better place, and exemplified true Tikkun Olam.
This year’s honorees are the Unsung Heroines who continued to work with a commitment to others during the pandemic. The 40th Women In Power event was held on May 4, 2022, at Michael’s On East, Sarasota.
Keynote Speaker Sheila Katz
Multicultural Action Team-Coalition of Non-profits: A coalition of teams from Multicultural Health Institute, UnidosNow, Gulf Coast Latin Chamber of Commerce, Healthy Teens Coalition of Manatee County, New College, The Links Inc Bradenton-Sarasota Chapter, Resilient American Communities, and the Howard Club of SW Florida came together during the pandemic to provide solutions for health disparities. This team put aside their own health and well-being to go into the communities.
Maria Somera is chair of the Children First Policy Council, where she was responsible for decisions that impacted children, families, and staff during the pandemic. She played an integral role in creating the plan for safely reopening the classrooms at Children First.
Katressa Wilson worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic making sure that Children First’s services to children and families continued. She continues to support agency-wide initiatives such as Child Care Food Program, site inspections, special projects and more.
During the pandemic, Teresa Martin, the VP of Healthcare Services for Aviva Senior Living, often jumped in as a nursing assistant, food service worker, or activity assistant when others were unable to work. She was a go-between with families who were unable to visit their loved ones, initiated window visits, tent visits and a visitation pod.
Elyse Gordon, Program Director of Therapy for Aviva Senior Living, worked extra hours filling in wherever there was a need. She worked as a communicator with families during the pandemic while continuing her job as a therapist with residents.
Adriana Perez has worked with the Hispanic/Latinx community supplying masks, sanitizers, vaccines, and digital support throughout the Covid-19 crisis. She led virtual parent leadership sessions, empowering other women to overcome hardships, and build a better future for their families.
During the months last year when her 20 kindergarten students used e-learning, Angela Perez-Garcia reached out weekly to each family with phone calls and emails while still dealing with her own young family and their learning. She chose to move up to 1st grade with the class to assure each student would keep up with the new curriculum.