Commission for Women
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2005 Woman and Young Woman of the Year Winners 

Each year, the Baltimore County Commission for Women accepts nominations for its annual "Woman of the Year" and "Young Woman of the Year" awards.

Woman of the Year 2005

Photo of Van D. Ross.
Van D. Ross

Van Ross is a minister who is also known as neighbor, friend and community activist by those in her Woodlawn community. She is known by most as the woman who fits 28 hours into a single 24-hour day.

As the 2000-2003 PTA president of Woodlawn High School, she and her husband Ezio - both ministers - have brought numerous positive changes to the school. Van is relentless in fighting to keep Woodlawn a community of peace and harmony, has been involved with various business associations, and has served on County Executive Jim Smith's transitional team.

Van led the effort to create a senior center in her community. She is admired for her activism and participation in the Woodlawn community. If there's a meeting in Woodlawn, she's there. Yet, she finds time to be a loving wife to Ezio and a devoted mother to two sons while working full time as a Health Insurance Assistant at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Under her leadership, Woodlawn High School has a new marquee, new school addition and a new track and stadium. The entire Woodlawn community has benefited from her efforts to support the expansion of the local library.

A woman never to say no, we salute Van Ross for her steadfastness and resolve to see projects through completion!

Young Woman of the Year 2005

Photo of Amanda "Mimi" Bory.
Amanda "Mimi" Bory

Amanda "Mimi" Bory is an outstanding young adult. She is academically talented, curious, empathetic, out-reaching, individualistic, energized and energizing, creative, empathetic and self confident.

Ranking first in a class of 606 students and achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average, this 17-year-old junior enrolls in every possible challenging course available to her. To her teachers, Mimi is a dream student: creative, self disciplined, a leader in class discussions and cooperative learning situations, uninhibited in expression, a problem solver, and a person who can bring order and structure to situations where those qualities may not exist. Her study, organizational, critical thinking and self management skills are finely tuned, allowing her to involve herself in a plethora of co-curricular and extra-curricular programs, enriching the lives of those with whom she associates.

Living with McCune-Albright syndrome all of her life - experiencing much of her existence from a wheel chair - has helped Mimi develop a huge reservoir of empathy for those who may consider themselves "different."

Two programs that evolved from this fire within her were the development and implementation of a "disabilities awareness week" and a "fuzzy hugs" program.

Mimi developed a "disabilities awareness week" sixth grade students at Pine Grove Middle School, speaking with the youngsters about her life in a wheel chair. She also developed "Fuzzy Hugs," a cross-generational program that connected senior citizens from Oak Crest Village with infants and pre-school children at Kennedy Krieger Hospital. The seniors knitted blankets, which Mimi delivered and distributed to children at the hospital. Like Mimi, many of these youngsters had had repeated surgeries; the more than 150 blankets provided much-needed comfort, security and warmth.

Amanda Bory is the ultimate young adult when it comes to sensitivity and caring. Her tremendous drive, energy and motivation to make a difference make her a strong positive force in our Baltimore County community.

Special Recognition Award

Photo of Robin Jacobs.
Robin Jacobs

Robin Jacobs is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University where she received her master' degree in Administration and Information Technology. Along with her undergraduate studies in Sociology and Gerontology at the University of Baltimore, she is the quintessential "people person." 

She has proven leadership skills as evidenced by her current position as Chief of MIS and Data Analysis for Maryland's Mental Hygiene Administration. She supervises a team that oversees data analysis on the public mental health system, IT Disaster Preparedness, HIPAA Compliance, e-Government Initiatives and Web Development.

As a past president of the Baltimore County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., one of the oldest public service organizations in the world, Robin is able to utilize her many skills, talents and leadership ability. She is also active in several other organizations and boards that provide service to those in need. She is currently vice president, chair of volunteers, and chair of the scholarship committee of the Baltimore County African American Cultural Festival, and is past president of the Rotary Club of Woodlawn Westview and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Robin has also taken on the task of raising her two nephews and a niece. With her sense of compassion and commitment to family, Robin did not think twice about taking on the task of raising these three siblings. Robin says that she went from zero kids to three, discovering even more opportunities to teach young people the values of voluntarism. This is truly Robin's world!

Revised November 18, 2013

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