By Jennifer L Warren
WAPPINGERS FALLS – Whether it was about an acknowledgement of all who paved the way before her, a burning passion to support youth and their education, a lifelong commitment to volunteering or paving successful roads of entrepreneurship and missionary work, each of the four women honored Saturday afternoon at the Villa Borgesee in Wappingers Falls represented the very essence of the cornerstones: civic-mindedness and pro-activity- of the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club.
Inside these doors, the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club, which was established in 1948 by 10 women possessing these very traits, along with a vision of the world, gathered to joyously pay tribute to these four trailblazer females at the 72nd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon. Affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women’s Club Inc. (NACWC), the oldest organization in the United States, Les Soeurs Amiables not only holds this Luncheon to support local high school scholarships, but also continues the altruism year-round, attending City Council Meetings, contributing to their member Southern Dutchess Coalition activities, serving on City Committees as well as holding a Fall Affair, also aimed at raising pivotal funding to give back to community members.
The well attended Luncheon, carrying a theme of “First Pillars of Strength,” included an assortment of raffled off items as well as a 50-50, and a multi-course meal as well as plenty of interaction, smiles and laughter. The afternoon culminated with a salute to the four women honorees: Magary Blythe, Ryanna Blackburn, Pastor/First Lady Glenda A. Banks and Pamela Gadson. Each of the recipients was humbled by the revered honor, paying gratitude to all the work they unselfishly pursue for the betterment of their communities.
Blythe, a 20 year Past President of the Poughkeepsie Neighborhood Club as well as dedicated member of the Empire State of Federated Women’s Clubs Inc. and Hudson Valley was the recipient of the Olga L. Galloway Award.
“Community Service gives me a heartwarming feeling to be able to help someone in the community, especially the youth,” said Blythe, who resides in the Town of Poughkeespie. “I am accepting this award on behalf of all my mentors and supporters, women who have been trailblazers in this organization; my mother is the main person I want to give credit to.”
Banks, a Pastor and First Lady Award recipient, works at the Church of Ministry in the Wilderness in the Faith Fellowship. She also opened her own Family Daycare in her home as well as worked in adult care. Starting her missionary work with Daughters of Zion Fellowship, she is the receptionist for Bishop Arnrai Banks Tax Business.
“I am extremely honored to have been chosen as one of the honorees,” Banks said.
Another recipient, Pamela Gadson, who received the Community Service Award, has had a passion for community service since her youth when she was a member of Green Teen Gardening, which aims to empower youth to be effective community change agents, engaging them in local food systems. A contributor to Local Arms Christian Ministries Food Pantry, Gadson created “Class in a Bag,” in 2012. Supporting economically disadvantaged students on McKinney-Vento list who lack the essentials to thrive in school life, “Class in a Bag” went from helping five to its now 46 students in Beacon and its neighboring communities.
Blackburn, another First Lady honoree, has been employed by the New York City Department of Education for almost 20 years and now serves as the Assistant Principal of Bronx Legacy High School. Actively involved in her church since youth, she is passionate about educating youth.
“I’m a lifelong educator, supporting any organization that supports scholarships for young people is paramount,” said Blackburn about why this honor held a special place in her heart. “These scholarships provide opportunities for people who might not otherwise be able to experience college.”
To learn more about Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club and-or membership, contact any officer, including; Marilyn Cooper, President; Celeste Atkins, Vice President; Sheryl Bennett, Recording Secretary and Dorothy Medley, Treasurer.