At the fifth annual YWomen Leadership Awards Benefit on Oct. 3, the YWCA Evanston/NorthShore honored Alice Tregay, Kaethe Morris Hoffer, Elizabeth Stanton and Links North Shore Youth Health Service for their outstanding commitment to women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change. The YWCA Evanston/North Shore presented the awards before a packed audience of more than 400 at the Hilton Orrington Hotel.

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. Ms. Tregay began the political education division of what is now Operation Push. At 82, she continues her involvement in voter registration drives and hosts workshops for youth.

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 that created the definition for and law against international sex trafficking.

Elizabeth Stanton was presented with the Lorraine H. Morton Young Woman of Promise award. She is a native Evanstonian who is trying to bring international attention to and understanding of the power of women’s sports as a catalyst 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 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (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.’”