WOMI honors women of purpose at gala

Themed “Know Your Purpose” Brooklyn-based non–profit Women of Mission International (WOMI) honored the best and brightest women for their outstanding accomplishments in the community during the organization’s second Annual Awards Gala at Crystal Manor Ballroom in Brooklyn, on Friday, April 21.

The honorees included: Rhonda Benda, Kassandra Campbell-Wilson, Dr. Monica Sanchez, Phyllis David, Rena Adonis, D’Nike Amma, Dr. Melissa Varswik, Michelle A. Nicholas, Maxine Chambers, Tangerine Clarke, and Diane Madray.

Citations from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and NYS Senator Roxanne Persaud were also presented, while President of WOMI, Linda Felix-Johnson, who celebrated her birthday on the same day, received citations from the same lawmakers.

Felix-Johnson praised the service of WOMI saying, “Our desire is to work to ensure that all woman folk are prepared to play their part. This, we feel can be achieved through education, guidance, and mentoring.

“We are proud to have developed vibrant outreach programs that benefit many in Guyana and the diaspora, and we are committed to expanding these programs,” said Felix-Johnson.

WOMI’s initiatives include: a Senior Day Program, a Primary School Nutritional program, Sponsor-A Student and School program, Community Conferences, and a Vocational and Technical Scholarship Program.

Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Guyana to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Rudolph M. Ten-Pow congratulated the organization for its commitment to the interest and welfare of the most vulnerable members of Guyana, and challenged the volunteers to take up the mantle to address mental health issues in their homeland.

“Help to change our society’s attitude towards mental health, not only for women and girls, but young men who also need help,” said Ambassador Ten-Pow while sharing statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) that has moved Guyana from first to fourth in the world for suicide incidents.

However, the diplomat said that this was little consolation and reminded WOMI of the high rate of female victims of suicide, and encouraged members and the community to make a contribution, whether voluntarily or financially, to aid the newly formed Sunrise Center for suicide in Guyana.

He suggested the organization use its programs to counsel and service underserved areas of Guyana — in their hometown, school, or church that they attended as a child.

“The most helpful thing you can do is to use your tools and resources you have at your disposal to spread awareness of mental health issues to help to remove the stigma,” said Ambassador Ten-Pow.

Ambassador Ten-Pow applauded Semona Broomes, the first female miner, now, Guyana’s junior minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, a special guest excused because of a family emergency, for her bravery in protecting helpless young girls victims of trafficking in Guyana, and praised WOMI for recognizing Broomes’ contribution to women.

Addressing the topic: Know Your Purpose, Guyana’s Consul General to New York Barbara Atherly, called on the women to live their lives with purpose.

“Living our lives with a purpose is all linked to us being empowered. Empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social or economic strength of people and communities. It often involves the empowered developing confidence in their capacities.”

Atherly said, despite facing more gender-related barriers, sexual harassment, unfair hiring practices than men in the workplace, women empowerment remains key to strengthening their participation in decision-making “which is the most important key to socio-economic development.”

“Empowering women acts as a potential, which accelerates the economic growth and continued development,” added Consul General Atherly.

Latice M. Walker, member of the NYS Assembly, the Overseas Medical Assistance Team (OMAT), and sponsor, Sampson Funeral Service Inc., congratulated WOMI for an outstanding evening of honors, celebrated with an inspirational rendition by D’Nike Amma, and music by the Cool Jazz Band. Rkity in turn, sang the Guyana National Anthem.

Board of directors are: President, Linda Felix-Johnson; Vice-President, Guliana Jacobs; Secretary, Sandy Campbell; Asst. Secretary, Keisha Felix; Treasurer, Denise Nurse-Roland; Director, Denise Coppin-Alexander; Director, Wenda Hudson; Director, Berneita Primo; Director, D’Nike Amma, Director, Dianne Dixon, and member, Carol Archer.

To make a donation to WOMI’s initiatives in the United States and Guyana, visit www.womenofmission.com.

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