Honored for their outstanding commitment to women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change, the YWCA Evanston/North Shore presented awards to Alice Tregay, Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Elizabeth Stanton and Links – North Shore Youth Health Service before a packed audience of over 400 at the fifth annual YWomen Leadership Awards Benefit on October 3, 2012. The event was presented by BMO Harris Bank at the Hilton Orrington Hotel in Evanston, Illinois.

Alice Tregay began her work in civil rights in 1964, challenging segregation in Chicago public schools and marching against discrimination in Chicago housing alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Refusing to stand still for injustice, Alice began the political education division of what is now Operation Push. At 82, she continues to involve herself in voter registration drives and hosts workshops for youth to inspire them to follow their dreams and affect change.

Kaethe Morris Hoffer has been an advocate for victims of sexual assault, exploitation, and trafficking for the past 20 years. Currently the Deputy Executive and Legal Director of the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), she represented Equality Now in United Nations proceedings which created the definition for and law against international sex trafficking.

Elizabeth Stanton, presented with the Lorraine H. Morton Young Woman of Promise award, is a native Evanstonian who is trying to bring international attention and understanding of the power of women’s sports as a spark for personal and social change. Through photography and video exhibits, she illustrates how sports can have a positive impact on the lives of women and bring about change in their cultures and communities.

In addition to the three individual nominees, Links North Shore Youth Health Service was honored for their work empowering young people to make informed, responsible decisions about their health, well-being and sexuality. They provide health education in the schools and community, support services for LGBTQ youth, reproductive health care, and counseling.

“As we gather here tonight to acknowledge and honor remarkable women leaders who have made a lasting impact, both in our own communities and across the globe,” said Karen Singer, President and CEO of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore, “I am reminded of the words of Marion Wright Edelman: ‘If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.’

Presented by BMO Harris Bank and co-chaired by Susan Hope Engel and Niki Moe Horrell of Evanston, proceeds from the benefit support YWCA programs that empower women, including financial literacy classes and domestic violence services, which are provided free of charge to the community. A link to the YWomen film about the honorees by filmmaker Susan Hope Engel is available at ywca.org/evanston.

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About the YWCA Evanston/North Shore:

The YWCA Evanston/North Shore is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity. As the largest provider of domestic violence services on the North Shore, we offer comprehensive services to women fleeing abuse. From emergency shelter to counseling, money management and court advocacy, we help women get safe, stay safe and heal. We encourage women’s self-sufficiency and leadership through financial literacy and job readiness programs. We involve thousands of people in our mission to eliminate racism and intolerance by hosting the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, and we foster opportunities to engage the community in dialogues about racism. Flying Fish Aquatics supports our mission by teaching all children to be safe in the water, in an environment that fosters self-confidence, and respect. Learn more about the YWCA at ywca.org/evanston.