Bethlehem, Pa.

Women & Teens of the Year Award Ceremony Honors Achievements of Community Volunteers

The 2013 Honorees: (Back row, from left to right) Nancy Light, Donna Goss, Maureen Dresen, Donna Taggart, and Winnie DiLeo Melinsky; (Front row, from left to right) Maria Spirk, April Lugo, and Kiara Lebron.

The YWCA of Bethlehem celebrated the volunteer achievements of local women and teens at the Women & Teens of the Year Award Ceremony. Special awards were given to nominated women and teenage girls who exemplify community volunteerism every day. 

The Women & Teens of the Year Awards Ceremony was first hosted in 1975 to empower and celebrate female achievements in Bethlehem, Pa. The tradition continues 38 years later, honoring award recipients of all ages who embody the YWCA of Bethlehem’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women.
The 2013 Teens of the Year were Kiara Lebron, April Lugo, and Maria Spirk. Each award recipient received a $1,000 scholarship for the college of her choosing.

Kiara Lebron, a senior at Liberty High School, serves as a member of her school’s National Honor Society and the National Society of High School Scholars. April Lugo is a senior at Freedom High School, as well as a member of the Bethlehem Youth Council and Project Upward Bound. April is also a tutor at Donegan Elementary School. Maria Spirk, a senior at Bethlehem Catholic High School, serves as vice president of the Future Alumni Club (FACT) and is a member of the Key Club.

In addition to the Teens of the Year recognitions, the YWCA of Bethlehem also awards their highest honor, the Golden Laurel Award at this ceremony. The Golden Laurel Award was established in 1995 and commemorates the volunteer and philanthropic activities of community members. This year, the YWCA of Bethlehem presented the distinguished Golden Laurel Award to Nancy Light. Nancy Light has worked in her community for over 40 years. She is a member of the KidsPeace Women's Auxiliary, the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley, and the AAUW where she served as chair for their Book Fair.

The Women of the Year Awards celebrate female leaders who make a professional and philanthropic impact on the Bethlehem community. Recipients of the Women of the Year Awards were Winnie DiLeo Melinsky, Maureen Dresen, Donna Goss, and Donna Taggart. As the Senior Vice President for Caruso Benefits Group, Winnie DiLeo Melinsky leads the company’s business development, community relations, and strategic partnership efforts. Maureen Dresen is the Manager of Provider Relations for Capital BlueCross in the Lehigh Valley. Donna Goss is the co-director of the Leadership and Executive Development Center for Business and Industry at Northampton Community College. Donna Taggart serves as the President of Taggart Associates.

"The Women & Teens of the Year event showcases the great volunteer achievements of the women in our community. I couldn't be more proud of each of our recipients,” said Stephanie Hnatiw, Executive Director of the YWCA of Bethlehem.

The Women & Teens of the Year Awards Ceremony is a longstanding fundraiser for the YWCA of Bethlehem’s female empowerment programs. This year’s event also facilitated the “A Bid to Remember” Silent Auction, which consistently raises funds for the YWCA of Bethlehem’s Adult Day Services Center. The silent auction began in 2008 and provides care to women and men, ages 60 and older, who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, as well as physical and mental disabilities. The Adult Day Services Center has kept seniors independent and living in their communities without the need for nursing home care since 1984.

Learn more about the YWCA of Bethlehem and their programs, and visit them on Facebook!