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April 1, 2011 Published in City Hall, Other News

Women’s Commission Honors Eleven

Salute to Women award recipients Back row: Deena Disraelly, Kari Galloway, Julie Lineberry, Detective Sandra Hein, Linda Brinker Hafer, Melinda Gray, Krishna Leyva Front row: Beverly Beidler, Cathy David, Dora Tweneboah, Chyrell Bucksell (Courtesy Photo)

On Monday night, the Alexandria Commission for Women recognized eleven outstanding leaders at the 2011 Salute To Women banquet. The Commission recognized them for their contributions to Alexandria in a variety of arenas.

Marguerite Payez Leadership Award Recipient: Julie Lineberry

For more than thirty years, Lineberry, an Alexandria resident, has epitomized volunteerism through her tireless support on a number of different fronts including the Girl Scouts, the TWIG - Junior Auxiliary of the Alexandria Hospital - and a number of ministries within the Blessed Sacrament Church Community. Lineberry has provided leadership at all levels of each of these organization by serving as Chairperson of the Archives and History Committee of the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC), where she actively promotes Girl Scout history and activities. As a result, she has received the Knox Award, which is the highest award the GSCNC gives. This award recognizes those volunteers who serve above and beyond the normal. Further, she has served the TWIG for numerous years as Chair of the Homes Tour, and their fundraising gala and also as president while serving as organizer of INOVA’s Alexandria Hospital Foundation’s 1782 society. At Blessed Sacrament she serves as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and is a Master Catechist for the Diocese of Arlington. Her volunteer resume also includes serving on the Sister City-Caen Commission and as president of Seminary West Civic Association.

Women’s Health and Safety Advocate Award Recipient: Melinda Gray

Melinda Gray has worked for the City of Alexandria for over 27 years as the sole social worker for the Alexandria Health Department. Melinda is the gatekeeper for every woman who is seen in the prenatal clinic at the Casey Health Center. She provides information, resource counseling, and supportive services throughout pregnancy and beyond. Melinda is also a resource for HIV testing and counseling in the Health Department. She is always welcoming and supportive to the patients, even after their initial crisis is over. She also has represented the Health Department on numerous committees and task groups, and manages the Barrett Trust an endowment that provides financial support for patients with medical needs beyond the scope of the clinic. She tirelessly works to ensure her clients’ needs are met even when they can’t be met by the Health Department. Gray serves her clients “with grace and dignity and endless patience and compassion.”

Youth Community Services Award Recipient: Dora Tweneboah

A native of Ghana, West Africa, Dora Tweneboah may have not come to the United States with much but she has gained quite a bit and given back even more since she arrived just three short years ago. What she did arrive with was a can-do attitude that has served her well. In return she has turned that around to be a positive influence in her community. As a graduating senior at T.C. Williams High School, Tweneboah takes nursing classes at the school’s CNA Program which prompted her to volunteer at the high school’s Teen Wellness Center where she promotes the Center’s services and distributes literature. In addition to her volunteer work at school, Tweneboah has also worked as a volunteer as the Tenants and Workers United organization focusing on education, housing and immigrant rights as well as volunteering with the Health Care Community Forum to help secure funding for community-based health care clinics in Virginia. She applied for, and received a full scholarship to college through the Civic Opportunities Initiative Network. In her own words: “Growing up in an underprivileged family in Ghana, I saw my own family and friends suffering and dying. My passion is to become a nurse, to give people who are suffering a chance at a better life.”

Youth Community Services Award Recipients: Deena Disraelly and Krishna Leyva

Deena Disraelly and Krishna Leyva run Building Better Futures, a combined tutoring, mentoring and college preparation program at T.C. William High School which began in 2001. BBF began as a program of The Campagna Center with a focus on tutoring Hispanic children, and in 2006, a College Leadership Program was added. The program now serves over 200 students of many different cultural backgrounds. Leyva works for The Campagna Center and Deena is a volunteer at the Program who recruits tutors from her work at the Institute for Defense Analyses. In 2008, they added a program called LEAP (Latinas Empowered to Achieve their Potential). The program provides tutors, College Leadership Preparation and mentoring. In the beginning, both Disraelly and Levya personally mentored all the seniors. Disraelly read every essay for the student college applications, even when she was overseas working. These women never let their focus wane from the importance of helping the students graduate, go to college and become role models for their families, their communities and our community as a whole.

Leadership in Business and Career Development Recipient: Kari Galloway

Kari Galloway is the Executive Director of Guest House, a benchmark program that helps transition women from imprisonment into meaningful, productive lives. She has been the Executive Director for 6 years now, and she is credited with saving the program. Galloway leads the staff in teaching several dozen residents every year life skills and common sense, to believe in themselves, to stop smoking and live clean and sober, to write a resume and obtain employment, to rekindle relationships with family and all the while to keep trying. She inspires young social work students, other employees and volunteers at the program. She goes out of her way to create innovative programs for the residents. She has created a Speaker’s Bureau, a Total Woman program and an expansion of the housing options for the residents after leaving Guest House.

Marian Van Landingham Legislative and Public Policy Award Recipient: Beverly Beidler

The Honorable Beverly Beidler was a pioneer for women in public office in Alexandria. She was one of the first two women to serve on our City Council, along with Nora Lamborne, both elected for the first time in 1973. She served on the Alexandria City Council from 1973 to 1979 where, among many other things she worked to strengthen the Commission on the Status of Women and helped the first women to become City firefighters. She was also the first female Registrar of Voters in Alexandria. In her over 50 years of civic activism and public service, she was a tireless advocate for women and their families, particularly in the areas of low and moderate-income housing and the environment. She was also the Chair of the Alexandria and the Metropolitan Washington League of Women Voters, on which she advocated for extensive registration outreach around the City, the end of the poll tax, as well as the construction of the Metro Rail Transit System. Beidler was a trendsetter and change agent for all Alexandria women.

Making a Difference Award Recipient: Cathy David

Cathy David has worked for 34 years for the Alexandria City Public Schools, at almost every level: classroom teacher, math specialist, workshop presenter, summer school teacher, principal, Executive Director of Elementary Programs and Deputy Superintendant for Curriculum and Instruction. She has been a tireless advocate for our youth, with the belief that “Every Child Can Learn.” She made Alexandria a better place for all of our children. She is maybe best known as principal of Charles Barrett Elementary School, one of the first fully accredited schools in Alexandria, and the first principal of Samuel Tucker Elementary School. David established a culture of caring and excellence at Tucker that is now known as “the Tucker Way.” During her tenure at ACPS, Davis was always an active leader in developing new and creative programs, including a City/School Staff Group that continues to meet monthly to work collaboratively on issues that impact children. She was also a leader in the creation of the Women’s Giving Circle of Alexandria. Cathy has always been a catalyst for positive change in all our schools.

Vola Lawson Award Recipient: Detective Sandra Hein

Sandra Hein is a 21 year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, and since 2002, she has been assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit, Adult Sex detail. In this sensitive assignment, Hein is committed to ensuring that survivors don’t feel that they are being victimized again by the criminal justice process. She has served on numerous Council and Committees, locally and statewide in the area of sexual assault. In 2007, on one such Committee, the Treatment and Intervention Committee for Governor Tim Kaine, the Committee gained passage of legislation that, among other things, does not allow victims to be asked to take a polygraph examination before an investigation can continue. Hein is a strong advocate for sexual assault victims and has committed her time, talents and expertise to assist with the development of training programs in the area of sexual assault. Hein has been intimately involved with the training itself, on both the local and state level. She balances this difficult work with her family life, raising her 13 year old daughter with her husband of 16 years.

Rising Star Award Recipient: Chyrell Bucksell

Chyrell Bucksell is a woman with a drive to help others. When she sees a need, she tried to find a way to fill it. She was devastated by the drowning death of her friend’s child, and within two days, she had arranged for free swimming lessons for seven children living in subsidized housing. After being a resident in Carpenter’s Shelter, she worked to amend her circumstances and now is active in making the Aftercare program at the Shelter more successful. She leads by example and by being a role model in her community. Bucksell is also a graduate of Parent Leadership Training Institute (”PLTI”) where she was last year’s class speaker. She also sits on the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Board where she advocates for her community.

Donna Bergheim Cultural Affairs Award Recipinet: Linda Hafer

Linda Brinker Hafer is Executive Director of the Art League and is an outstanding leader in the arts here in Alexandria, and also at the regional and national level. Through her leadership, the Art League serves more than 7,500 fine art students and 1,000 exhibiting artists each year. The League offers multiple scholarship opportunities and provides an arts-based educational outreach program, A Space of Her Own (SOHO), which has been recognized by the Salute to Women Awards in the past. Hafer works tirelessly to improve and grow the caliber of the arts curriculum at the Art League. In 2010, she helped lead the development of “Minds Wide Open - Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts,” a statewide program kicked off in Alexandria at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Hafer recognizes the role played by the arts in building community and the importance of fostering relationships and partnerships that contribute to successful city-wide cultural programs.

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