Spring Scholarship Luncheon Celebrates Eight

By Jennifer L. Warren

WAPPINGERS FALLS – Dorothy Medley has witnessed a host of changes throughout her over 10 decades on this planet; however one vital truth has remained untouched: Her Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club’s commitment to the betterment of their Beacon community.

That passion of Medley, whose tenure with the 1948 developed Les Soeurs (affiliated with the esteemed National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs) traces back to 1958, along with its entourage of dedicated, altruistic women, was celebrated Saturday, inside an uplifting, purple and pink hued Villa Borghese, spring-feel room. Here, the laser-focused community Club’s 73rd Annual Spring Luncheon, aimed at raising funds for high school scholarships was happening, inciting a broad smile, laden with brimming pride, on Co-Chairperson’s Medley’s face, as she reflected on the integral Club’s evolution.

Beacon High School graduate and later this month Morgan State University graduate, Brianna Richardson, was one of the honorees at the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon held Saturday.
Beacon High School graduate and later this month Morgan State University graduate, Brianna Richardson, was one of the honorees at the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon held Saturday.

“We started out as a community-minded organization, founded by a group of women who really loved Beacon, and has now really developed into focusing on the youth,” explained Medley, it’s oldest living member, who detailed the Club’s long list of contributions over the years, including awarding books to local elementary schools, providing a plaque to their City’s hospital, as well as its members immersing themselves in an array of service positions bettering their community any way possible. “Being involved with the women in this Club has been so rewarding, especially having the opportunity to help out the youth with their college and futures; we want them to come back here and know it’s home; a lot of work remains to be done.”

Those arduous efforts can not only be seen in the Les Soeurs’ dedication to Beacon on a daily basis, but so too embedded in the lives and passions of the Luncheon’s honorees. Spanning a breadth of backgrounds and career paths, each recipient, like the Club who recognized them, shared the indisputable love for community and a deep desire to leave his or her lasting impression on its progress.

Gahiji Manderson, focused on guiding youth and building community through his work as co- owner of Success Protective Services and a variety of other positions, was one of eight honorees at Saturday’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, hosted by Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club.
Gahiji Manderson, focused on guiding youth and building community through his work as co- owner of Success Protective Services and a variety of other positions, was one of eight honorees at Saturday’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, hosted by Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club.

That drive could already be detected in the youngest and afternoon’s first honoree, Brianna Richardson. A native of Beacon where she graduated high school, the Morgan State University senior, set to graduate later this month with a degree in Sociology, aspires to empower, uplift and educate black women in a variety of forums (such as a community center and documentary), creating integral change.

“The more we talk about our experiences and create safe spaces, it allows society to listen to us,” said Richardson who seeks to develop those shared settings for women to come together and flourish. “Change can then be made.”

Another honoree, Ruth Anderson, who possesses an eclectic mix of philanthropic contributions, including to both the Poughkeepsie and Beacon City School Districts, prioritizes a deep faith in our youth, affirming to each one who crosses her path, “You are smart, brilliant and intelligent.”

Yet another community game-changer honoree, Gahiji Manderson, also holds young people and their potential close to his heart. Co-owner of Success Protective Services, Manderson is a frequent presence in the Beacon City School District as a youth aid, delivering priceless mentorship.

Denise Gaither was one of eight recipients honored at Saturday’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, hosted by the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club. A Deaconess at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Gaither is passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
Denise Gaither was one of eight recipients honored at Saturday’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, hosted by the Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club. A Deaconess at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Gaither is passionate about helping aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

“My success is due to my ancestors, who taught me courage, unconditional love and kindness,” reflected a grateful Manderson, described as someone who “will show up for your child just like they are his own.”

Also recognizing the deep impact of those who carved the path in her remarks was Gretchen Quill, an accomplished nurse, who serendipitously discovered her purpose later in life, and has made the very most to capitalize upon her nurturing, medical skill set which has profoundly aided so many lives.

“When one door closes, another one opens,” Quill, who began her new journey as a nurse emphasized. “I stand here today upon the shoulders of the founders of the Les Soeurs and many other inspiring women who led the way, ‘lifting as they climb,’ serving as an inspiration, and showing us the transformative impact we can all have on others.”

Also recognized during the Luncheon were community hero recipients: Joy Carden, an entrepreneur and owner of Subway Restaurant in Beacon as well as President of Comfort & Joy Foods; Denise Gaither, a Deaconess at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Wappingers Falls and Beacon business owner who has a passion for entrepreneurship which she strives to instill in others; and Fred McGrew, owner of an independent, detail-focused, and cost-effective contracting company, who Hudson Valley residents recognized in the little red Nissan truck with the blue door, and is guided by the motto, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” in everything he does.

Eight outstanding community citizens were recognized at Saturday’s Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club of Beacon’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon.
Eight outstanding community citizens were recognized at Saturday’s Les Soeurs Amiables Civic Club of Beacon’s 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon.

Whether it’s volunteering time at a church activity, creating a safe space for those in need, sitting with a young person and offering precious wisdom, or simply smiling at a stranger and making his or her day, each honoree possessed the spirit of the Luncheon’s theme: “People of service impacting the community,” the cornerstone of the Les Soeurs’ mission.
“It’s hard to find people doing the work that exists and needs to be done,” the Mistress of Ceremonies and Les Soeurs member, Kenya Gadsden, relayed to all in attendance.

“However you serve- providing clothing, money or in a leadership role-you are helping your community; this is what serving is.”

Dorothy Medley, the oldest living member of the civic group, Les Soeurs Amiables in Beacon was the Co- chairperson on this years 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, held Saturday afternoon.
Dorothy Medley, the oldest living member of the civic group, Les Soeurs Amiables in Beacon was the Co- chairperson on this years 73rd Annual Spring Scholarship Luncheon, held Saturday afternoon.
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