2009 Woman and Young Woman of the Year Winners
Each year, the Baltimore County Commission for Women presents its annual "Woman of the Year" and "Young Woman of the Year" awards. Three winners were also named in the category, “Women Making a Difference,” which recognizes women for their outstanding achievements, unique contributions to their community and their ability to provide creative solutions to complex community and social challenges.
2009 Baltimore County Woman of the Year
Lisa Elliott is the project manager for the Baltimore County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc.’s Outreach Center. As such, Ms. Elliott voluntarily oversees, with hands-on involvement, the day-to-day operations of the Center’s after-school program and its summer program. The vision of the Youth Risk Reduction program is to create a safe environment in which at-risk youth, ages 8-17, can realize their full potential. The program not only provides homework assistance in the core subjects, but also offers arts and crafts projects, workshops focusing on drugs, gangs and HIV/AIDS awareness and additional educational activities, such as money management, understanding school assessments, immunizations, and health care options. The youth engage in local community service projects, such as singing at nursing homes or organizing food drives, all in an effort to enhance the giving spirit in the young people.
Ms. Elliott oversees the staff, coordinates the numerous activities at the center, and mentors individual students, some of whom have negative attitudes about learning and working with authority. Under Ms. Elliott’s leadership, students in the program have shown academic improvement: this year 66 percent of the middle school students had a 2.5 GPA, while last year, for the same report card period, the proportion was only 22 percent. She manages all of the activities at the center from the Back-to-School Bash, the Harvest Fest, the Parents’ Night Focus groups, the Juneteenth Celebration, and the Youth Retreat. Ms. Elliott is a tireless advocate on behalf of the center. She served as the center’s Grants Manager from 2004 – 2008 and single handedly secured new computers for the center and personally installed them with appropriate software and parental controls. Recently, she designed a curriculum guide for the web development/computer classes in an effort to keep pace with electronic, digital society and striving to keep the youth ahead of the curve.
Ms. Elliott’s continuing vision is to add an Adult Education component at the center to empower adults to increase their knowledge and skills though GED/College Prep seminars, jobs skills training, adult literacy, and health/wellness.
We congratulate Ms. Elliott on her many accomplishments and celebrate her nomination as the Woman of the Year 2009.
2009 Young Woman of the Year
Jing Wen Wang
Jing Wen, a senior at Hereford High School, is a disciplined, conscientious student and a compassionate, selfless school citizen. Jing Wen maintains an exemplary un-weighted 4.0 grade point average (GPA) with a full academic load of seven advanced placement courses along with her numerous volunteer and extracurricular activities. Her honors include an AP Scholar with Distinction Award, National Honor Society, Math, Science and Art National Honor Societies, and a Maryland Band Directors’ Association award for Solo Festival for Flute, Rate 1, Level 4.
Teachers comment that Jing Wen has an intense curiosity and passion to learn. She becomes truly engaged in every classroom discussion or problem-solving activity. One school counselor says, “Jing Wen is profoundly skilled at listening and participating in group analysis in order to effectively support an argument or to solve a complicated mathematical or scientific problem. She has a special confidence in herself, but her humility makes her a natural role model for other students.”
Having lived in Beijing for ten years of her life, Jing Wen is keenly attuned to social issues internationally as well as locally. At Hereford High she serves as the Chinese Culture Club president and raises people’s awareness of Chinese culture. She tutors other students in math and physics and has worked on service projects, such as cleaning and recycling around her neighborhood in the Baltimore County Adopt a Road program. Jing Wen has represented her school on the Hereford Varsity Badminton team from 2005 to the present.
Jing Wen Wang truly represents the values of the Baltimore County Commission’s Young Woman of the Year for 2009.
2009 Women Making a Difference
Rosalyn Branson works tirelessly to keep women and families safe. Since 2005, Rosalyn has served as the executive director of TurnAround, Inc., a Towson-based agency, that provides domestic violence and sexual assault services in Baltimore County and Baltimore City. In 2008, Rosalyn and TurnAround staff worked with the Baltimore County Police Department on a Lethality Assessment Pilot Project to determine which domestic violence victims were at risk for homicide. Because of the pilot’s success, the initiative will expand throughout Baltimore County, and Rosalyn has been appointed vice-chair of the Baltimore County Fatality Review Committee.
Michele Kehl, a member of the Bowley’s Quarters community, felt the effects and destruction of Hurricane Isabel and started her work as an Isabel relief worker housing neighbors whose homes were lost or flooded. The storm and resulting economic impact on the community destroyed her business. Michele rallies the community, served countless meals to families at St. Matthew’s church, conducted food and clothing drives, coordinated and lead community agencies in over eight cleanups in two months, removing over 300 tons of storm debris. The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism sent a representative to assess the needs of the community and after witnessing Michele’s leadership capabilities asked her to become an AmeriCorps*VISTA volunteer to continue her efforts in coordinating Isabel Recovery as part of the Baltimore County Volunteers.
Linda Kelly is a forensic nurse and the Clinical Program Manager for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (S.A.F.E.) Program at Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC) responsible for ensuring that victims of sexual assault receive excellent, comprehensive care. When a sexual assault victim presents, Linda or a member of her team of six on-call SAFE nurses respond. SAFE nurse interviews the patient and conducts a thorough exam to check for evidence. A disturbing pattern of incidences of sexual assault among teenagers led Linda to develop a unique community outreach program. The program, through presentations at schools and fair, provides young adults with information on safe dating and has been reaching out to young men and women about Internet predators, abusive relationships and situations that can lead to rape. She has the specialized training and the passion to arm young adults with information they can’t afford to be without in today’s world.
Revised November 18, 2013