As part of Women’s History Month, the Westchester County Youth Board hosted the 5th Annual Sheros Awards on Tuesday, March 28. This year’s “Sheros” were Community Advocate Kisha D. Skipper, Program Director of Westchester Building Futures (WBF) Tara Linh Leaman, and Student Advocacy Executive Director Diane Rosenthal.
County Executive George Latimer said, “These Sheros deserve all the recognition that is being bestowed upon them. Westchester County is a tight knit community because of the efforts undertaken by those who choose to give of themselves in order to raise all of those around them. This Women’s History Month, and all months, we must be sure to recognize the women in our communities who exemplify what it means to be a Shero.”
Westchester County Youth Bureau Executive Director Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said, “We thank County Executive, George Latimer for allowing the Youth Bureau to create opportunities that highlight the many deserving residents and service providers within Westchester County. In collaboration with the Youth Board, the staff identify and honor true Sheros who do not hesitate to roll up their sleeves and lend their hard work, time, and expertise to our parents and their children. Westchester County is extremely fortunate to have so many women who lead, make change, and lay the groundwork for our children’s bright future.”
Youth Board member and emcee for the ceremony Mathew Evans stated, “There are many Sheros, too many to name and acknowledge tonight, who continue to make significant impact on children, youth, and families within Westchester County. Tonight, the Youth Bureau and Youth Board give three outstanding women their flowers early, and thank them for their contributions to the overall well-being of Westchester’s residents.”
Executive Director of Student Advocacy Diane Rosenthal said, “I sincerely thank the County Executive and the Westchester County Youth Bureau for this very special evening, it is very special to be in the company of such remarkable women who have truly dedicated their life to social justice and improving opportunities for youth in Westchester County.”
President of the Parent Teacher Student Associations (PTSA) at Yonkers Montessori Academy Kisha Skipper said, “My life’s work and commitment is truly not for my own benefit but to really plant seeds for trees that I may never sit under and to make the future a little bit brighter for the generations ahead.”
Program Director at the Westchester County Department of Social Services Tara Leaman, said, “It is so crucial to highlight bright spots in the midst of dark times for so many. The Westchester County Youth Bureau, under the leadership of Dr. DaMia Hass-Madden, affords us an opportunity to do just that through the “Sheros” celebration. I was thrilled to join the other 2 extraordinary Sheros, Kisha and Diane, and our constellation of concrete supports, including WC’s deepening reservoir of credible messengers and emerging leaders, my Commissioner Leonard Townes, and the Westchester County DSS team, to do our best knowing that there are countless sheros that we walk amongst in Westchester County and beyond every day”
About the 2023 Sheros:
Kisha D. Skipper
Skipper serves as a mentor for high school students with Yonkers Partners in Education and actively engages youth and young adults in voter education and registration initiatives. Skipper has partnered with the Westchester County Youth Bureau on several initiatives including the Westchester County “International Day of The Girl” events, the online forum entitled ‘COVID 19: Preparing for Back to School’, “Capacity Building Professional Development Workshop” and was intentional in seeking input from the bureau and its director on the African American History in Westchester Commemoration Committee and the 400-Year commemoration project. Most recently, Skipper volunteered to assist the Westchester County Youth Bureau in assessing the needs of our children, youth, and families as it pertains to services and resources in and around the county and is looking forward to continued work with the bureau.
Tara Linh Leaman, JD
Leaman currently serves as Program Director of Westchester Building Futures (WBF), which seeks to eliminate youth homelessness among at-risk youth/young adults with child welfare/foster care histories, c/o Westchester County Department of Social Services (WCDSS). WCDSS was one of six jurisdictions nationally to receive both the Phase I Planning and Phase II Implementation Youth At-Risk of Homelessness awards from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Administration on Children, Youth and Family-Children’s Bureau. Leaman also helps WCDSS’ Office of Policy, Planning and Program Development’s (OPPPD) team of experienced child welfare practitioners and evaluators manage a diverse portfolio of preventive services, child protective services, foster care and adoption innovations laser-focused on achieving legal, relational and cultural permanency for children and youth while fortifying resilient families and communities.
Rosenthal joined Student Advocacy as Executive Director in 2021, eager to contribute her passion for education, 30 years of experience in non-profit management, and a lifelong belief in the power of education to transform lives, to guide this important organization in its next stage of growth and development. At Student Advocacy, Rosenthal oversees the implementation of five Youth Bureau-funded programs for students at risk for academic failure or dropping out of school due to disabilities and other complex challenges. These programs advocate for the educational services to which students from elementary to high school are legally entitled, enabling them to remain in school, build on their strengths, and develop the confidence and competencies needed to experience success and plan for their future. Rosenthal also serves on the Youth Bureau’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Advisory Committee to implement best practices that enable youth in crisis to find safe spaces in which to live.