Wellspring’s 18th Annual Women Honoring Women Luncheon was a great success. With 650 people in attendance, the event brought in nearly $150,000, which will go towards Wellspring’s homelessness prevention, education and job training programs.
With the theme of Hope, Courage and Action, keynote speaker Yolanda Taylor gave a powerful address on the importance of perseverance. Wellspring participant speaker, Justine Baez shared the story of her professional journey into the human services sector. Honored at the event for their work in the communities of Cape Ann were Mollie Byrnes, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and Juni Van Dyke.
This year’s keynote speaker, Yolanda Taylor, was born in Vietnam during the war. At age two, she and her father fled as refugees to the United States where they lived off of the land in Northern California. It was during these years of homelessness that she developed a strong sense of hard work and determination, ultimately graduating from an Ivy League college and earning an MBA. As a mother, Yolanda began to reflect back on her childhood and the values she had acquired during her early and challenging years. She published her memoir, “Take Me Back To Redway,” which compares her childhood to the one of her own children who are being raised in an environment quite distinct from her own.
Wellspring participant speaker, Justine Baez, recently graduated from Wellspring’s MediClerk program, and is now a valued member of Wellspring’s shelter program team. An eldest sibling to eight brothers and sisters, Justine has a deep commitment to helping others. In addition to her job as administrator for Lahey Health System, Justine also serves as weekend case manager for Wellspring’s shelter program.
Wellspring Honoree, Mollie Byrnes, is an active community volunteer and philanthropist, whose work has been instrumental in improving the lives of many families and individuals on Cape Ann and beyond. Together, she and her husband, John, have focused their attention and resources on causes that speak to their hearts including the arts, social services and education.
In her tenure as Representative for the Fifth Essex District, Wellspring Honoree, Ann-Margaret Ferrante, has been a lead sponsor and active advocate for key pieces of legislation to strengthen local communities, stimulate small business and promote the local creative economy.
Artist and Wellspring Honoree, Juni Van Dyke, has served as the Art Director of the Rose Baker Senior Center for 23 years. As a passionate motivator, Juni has orchestrated such large-scale projects as expansive ceramic murals, quilted tapestries, and paintings installed in empty downtown storefronts. She has mobilized older members of the Cape Ann community to create art that inspires. An accomplished artist herself, Juni’s work is held in the permanent collection of the Cape Ann Museum.
Many talented women have made Wellspring’s work possible. Our sincerest thanks go to speakers Yolanda Taylor and Justine Baez, as well as this year’s honorees, Mollie Byrnes, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Juni Van Dyke, and all those who attended this year’s 18thAnnual Women Honoring Women Luncheon.