Two prominent women leaders who have helped lift up families living on the financial edge were honored on December 5 at United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s “11th Annual Take A Walk in Her Shoes” breakfast at Abigail Kirsch at Tappan Hill in Tarrytown.
Judith M. Watson, RN, BSN, MPH, Chief Executive Officer, Westchester Community Health Center, and Ellen Bloom, MPH, Director of Community Affairs, NYP Westchester, NYP Westchester Behavioral Health Center, and NYP Hudson Valley Hospital were presented with the 2023 ‘Woman of Distinction” award during an inspirational morning that paid tribute to the women from all walks of life.
The event put the spotlight on the 40 percent of families in Westchester – 71 percent of which are headed by single, female-headed households – who live paycheck to paycheck. It was sponsored by Con Edison, Westchester County Local Development Corporation, M&T Bank, NewYork Presbyterian, and PURE Insurance.
“Just three years ago during the pandemic, we saw how important grocery workers, door dash, waiters/waitresses, home health aides, and childcare and nonprofit professionals, said Tom Gabriel, President and CEO of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. “None of us could survive without them. Yet almost all live paycheck to paycheck. And that is why we are here today. Because the mission of the United Way is to lift up the 40 percent of our neighbors living in poverty or paycheck-to-paycheck or what we call ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.’’
In accepting the award, Watson and Bloom told stories of their own experiences.
Bloom said, “We all know that women have to work 10 times as hard” having to juggle work-life balance. She thanked her family and her colleagues for helping to support her in the work she does for NewYork Presbyterian helping to fund worthy causes in Westchester.
Watson, who runs a community health center that provides a host of services to women and low-income families, said that her mother struggled to support their family on a home healthcare workers’ salary. “ALICE is not just a report. We were ALICE,’’ she said.
Proceeds from the annual Women’s Leadership Council breakfast will support programs like United Way’s Education United Program, Essential Goods, 211, Ride United, Alice$ense, and others.
“I could share with you 10,000 stories of our impact from 10,000 women, children and families, that directly benefitted from our programs and services. And that doesn’t include the 10,000 stories from women, children and families helped by the dozens of amazing nonprofit organizations here today that we supported with a grant or other efforts this year. We did this and so much more thanks to your help and the help of others in the community,’ said Gabriel.
See some of the photos from the event below or click here to see the full gallery.