WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Girls Inc. of Westchester County honored four outstanding women as torchbearers for the strong, smart and bold at its annual gala held at the Doral Arrowwood Resort. Actress, model and activist Yara Shahidi, co-star of the hit television series "Grown-ish" and the soon-to-be-released movie "The Sun Is Also a Star," participated in the evening's festivities, adding her voice to the more than 350 guests who saluted the honorees.
"Tonight we pay tribute to four amazing women for the impact their achievements have had in various arenas here in Westchester County and across the country," said Michelle A. Nicholas, Executive Director, Girls Inc. Westchester. "As examples of excellence and empowerment, they inspire us all."
Included in the organization's class of 2019 honorees were: Stacey Allaster, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, United States Tennis Association; Umran Beba, Senior Vice President, Chief Global Diversity and Engagement Officer, PepsiCo; Joanna Simone, Vice President, Leasing and Project Management Operations, Simone Development Corporation, and Patricia Simone, President, Simone Management Group. Girls Inc. Westchester also recognized Bright Smiles, Bright Futures®, Colgate-Palmolive Company's global children's oral health initiative, which has reached more than one billion children around the world with free dental screenings, oral health education and treatment referrals.
Founded in 2007, Girls Inc. Westchester provides girls ages 9-18 with a place where they feel physically and emotionally safe, trained professionals who mentor and guide them, and peer groups that help them to feel supported, valued and confident. Operating in a number of the county's schools, as well as during weekends and breaks, Girls Inc. Westchester teaches its more than 1,000 participants to set and achieve goals, confront challenges, resist peer pressure, prepare for college, explore non-traditional career paths, and to use their knowledge and strength to promote positive change for themselves and their communities.
One of the highlights of the gala were TED-themed Talks delivered by several young women participating in the Girls Inc. Westchester program at New Rochelle High School. The students shared their journeys to strong, smart and bold with the gathering, offering riveting, firsthand accounts of their personal evolution through the lens of living with learning disabilities, friendship, and gaming.
"With everything that is going on in the world, it's not easy being strong, smart and bold," Shahidi told the audience, "but the Girls Inc. Westchester participants that I met this evening are all that and more. They are optimistic, determined and committed to sharing their voices, ideas, and spirits with the world. I want to express my deep gratitude to Girls Inc. Westchester, because the uplift of my peers is something we are committed to paying forward through our humanitarianism, action, and kindness."
Girls Inc. Westchester is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing girls-only programs to inspire Westchester girls to grow up strong, smart and bold. It is a local affiliate of Girls Incorporated, a 150-year-old organization with over 85 chapters in the United States and Canada.
SOURCE Girls Inc. of Westchester County