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YWCA of Olympia announces its 2013 Women of Achievement

Women of Distinction to be honored during November gala

(OLYMPIA, Wash.) – On January 22, 1945, ten women met in Olympia to discuss the founding of a local branch of the YWCA. What had started nationally as a small prayer circle was rapidly growing to become the largest women’s organization in the world dedicated to service and social justice. By August of 1945, a strong local chapter was formed with the election of Mildred Lemon as the first Board Chair and the appointment of Francis Simas as the first Executive Director.  During the next 68 years, the YWCA founded the Indo-Chinese Refugee Employment Project, the Rape Relief Center, SafePlace, Work Options for Women and Kathleen’s Closet.   Talk about “Movers, Shakers, History Makers,” which happens to be the theme of this year’s Women of Achievement Gala presented by Titus-Will.
According to Women of Achievement Gala Chair Sandi Roberts, “This year’s theme is a perfect way to celebrate our past, or present, and our future.  It is clear that this year’s Women of Achievement are Movers, Shakers, and History Makers!”   The YWCA of Olympia is pleased to announce their 2013 Women of Achievement:
Leatta Dahlhoff
Carolyn Folden
Kim Gaffi
Tanya Murray
Joyce Turner
Theresa Van Camp, Legacy Award Recipient
Women were selected based on their 1) professional achievements, 2) peer recognition, 3) personal growth, 4) demonstration and inspirational involvement in the community, and 5) how she models her life in line with the YWCA of Olympia mission:  The YWCA of Olympia strives to empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.
Presented by Titus-Will, the celebration gala, “Women Of Achievement: Movers, Shakers, History Makers”, will take place on Thursday, November 7 at 5:30p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel Forest Ballroom. The event is open to the public and tickets are available by contacting the YWCA of Olympia at (360) 352-0593 or online at Tickets are $80 and tables of 8 are available for $640.  For more information about the Women of Achievement Gala, contact Cherie Reeves Sperr at (360) 352-0593 or
About the YWCA of Olympia
Established in 1945, the YWCA of Olympia offers responsive programs and services to meet the needs of women, girls and families.  We are inspiring a new generation to become strong leaders and advocates for opportunity and equity for all women.  The YWCA of Olympia strives to empower women and eliminate racism through education, advocacy, service and leadership opportunities.  The YWCA has worked to change history—from civil rights to women’s rights, from advocacy for women’s health care to an end to violence against women and girls. The YWCA is the voice for every woman. We speak out and take action on behalf of women and girls. The YWCA and our members and volunteers contribute time, talent, tenacity and financial support for the betterment of all women in our community.
—Olympia YWCA

YWCA of Olympia 2013 Women of Achievement

Leatta Dahlhoff
Scientist and giver
Leatta is an award winning scientist who has a passion for empowering women and children in our community and around the world. She holds leadership positions in service clubs and volunteers at numerous organizations.  She believes no matter your limited resources, time, or money, if you have passion and commitment, you can effect positive change for others.
Carolyn Folden
Businesswoman and civil rights advocate
Carolyn was a well-respected banker and a strong advocate for equality going back to the 1960’s. She has worked hard to promote the dignity of each and every person. She has selflessly worked to help ensure better lives for those overcome by the challenges of aging.  She has served as a leader at several organizations and in 2011 was honored as a Thurston County Living Legend.
Kim Gaffi
Grower and justice seeker
Kim has dedicated her life to growing food, people and communities. As the co-founder, former co-director/executive director and incoming director of programs of GRuB, she demonstrates tremendous energy for social justice, youth empowerment, anti-hunger, and community building. Among her many accomplishments, she has guided a project which has built 2,500 free gardens for low-income people and empowered 500 youth with employment and service opportunities.
Tanya Murray
Teacher and force for good
Tanya contributes to our community by sharing her knowledge, talents, time, money and resources.  Besides her work as an Adjunct Professor in Early Childhood Education, she serves in leadership positions with several organizations including Child Care Action Council. She has helped bring services to some of our most vulnerable people to enable them to make life changing differences.
Joyce Turner
Public servant and pioneer
Joyce has always lived up to the highest standards of public service, and has contributed immeasurably to the quality of state government service and to the quality of life in our community.  She has served many Governors and taken on tremendous challenges with dedication and integrity.
Theresa Van Camp
Legacy award  advocate and artist
Theresa used her life to make the world better for the children in our community. She dedicated years to the important work of the Olympia School District in many different capacities and excelled in bringing people together. She also shared her many artistic talents and inspired young women with skills of self-reliance and independence.  After her death in 2010, her spirit continues to inspire others.


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