GWEN’S GIRLS CEO AND EMCEE—Dr. Kathi Elliott and Heather Hopson
by Debbie Norrell, Lifestyles Editor
The late Pittsburgh Police Commander Gwendolyn Elliott founded Gwen’s Girls in 2002 during her tenure on the police force. She witnessed the struggles of young women and girls who came to the attention of law enforcement and was determined to do something to address their needs and improve their quality of life. Today, Gwen’s Girls offers holistic, gender-specific programs and education for Allegheny County’s at-risk girls and young women. In 2016, under the leadership of Gwen’s daughter, Dr. Kathi Elliott, the Black Girls Equity Alliance was formed to advance equity and justice for Black girls.
On Sept. 26, at the Wyndam Pittsburgh University Center, multiple women were honored for their outstanding leadership and for supporting the agency’s mission of empowering girls and young women. With Heather Hopson of Motor Mouth Multimedia as emcee and UPMC and UPMC Health Plan as title sponsor, the Best In Me Awards were presented to: Marcia Bandes, Pittsburgh for CEDAW; Kim B. Clark, Allegheny County President Judge; Lynne Hayes- Freeland, KDKA-TV & KDKA Radio; Hefren Tillotson; James; Racial Equity Consultant; Dr. Elizabeth Miller, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; Mary Phan-Gruber, Jefferson Regional Foundation and Dr. Jamilia Blake, Plenary session speaker. Dr. Blake teaches graduate courses at Texas A&M University in child assessment, child therapy and factors that contribute to racial/ethnic educational disparities.
Guests enjoyed the rest of the evening celebrating the awardees and listening to great music by the Tubby Daniels Band featuring Anita Levels. Day two of the summit featured speakers from across the country concentrating on topics that included: Juvenile Justice; Health and Wellness; Child Welfare; and Education.
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