Eight award recipients recognized for work in the community – liherald.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
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Eight individuals were recently recognized with Women of Distinction awards in a ceremony held at the Franklin Square Public Library.
The ceremony, now in its ninth year, was held in person for the first time since 2019. The event is usually held in March but was delayed due to Covid-19.
The event recognized eight women who have displayed outstanding leadership, and highlighted the grass-roots work they have accomplished in Michaelle Solages’s 22nd Assembly District.
This year’s honorees were Lynette Battle, Elizabeth Forbes, Althea Brown, Julie K. Eason, Karen Freire, Rose Nacincik, Karleen (Leveille) Robinson and Nancy Youngfert, each of whom has made a significant effort to create positive change in their communities.
Brown, a native Jamaican who arrived in the United States with her two daughters, established the floral and event design company Still Blooming in 2021, as a response to local loss brought about by the pandemic.
Eason is director of the respiratory therapy department at University Hospital at Downstate in Brooklyn for the last 12 years and has nearly 30 years of experience in the field. She has spent the majority of her career working in underserved communities and has a passion for health equity. In June of 2021, Eason was recognized by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as a champion of humanistic care for her work during the pandemic.
Freire has been working at Key Food Valley Stream since 2012, and is in charge of customer service appreciation day, which she organizes to give back to her customers who support the store.
Nacincik, a resident of Bellerose Terrace since 1978, joined the Bellerose Terrace Civic Association in 1982. She also joined the ladies auxiliary, where she later became vice president and then president. In addition, she has served her community as a teacher at the Floral Park-Bellerose School.
Youngfert, a longtime resident of Franklin Square, was an original member and has served as treasurer of the Franklin Square Civic Association. She has also been an active member of the Franklin Square Historical Society, where she has served as vice president and is now the acting president.
Battle, a Valley Stream resident, is PTSA president for Elmont Memorial High School and has served on the board of Nassau regional PTA. Battle also is director of economic development for bridge street development corporation, where she designs and executes marketing and sales strategies for small businesses in central Brooklyn.
“This is me doing what comes naturally,” Battle said. “I wasn’t expecting anything, so when somebody acknowledges you, it feels good.”
Battle said she is most proud of the reinstatement of principal Kevin Dougherty to his post at the Elmont Memorial High School.
“We got our principal back and after getting the community together behind the situation, now they’re moving forward,” Battle said. “They feel empowered and that’s heartwarming.”
Robinson, a national Emmy award-winning producer and television anchor, is the owner of Leveille Entertainment and Publishing. She became the first woman and first person of color to direct Fandango’s 2017 coverage of Comic Con. She is also an anchor for CBS News affiliate WBNG 12 News. In July, Robinson and her husband, Ron, opened a business in Elmont, hiring youth from the community to train and inspire them to pursue media careers. After being honored, Robinson highlighted the importance of local community work.
“I think people don’t realize how everything starts at the grassroots of your community,” she said. “Barack Obama came from grassroots community service, Oprah Winfrey was cultivated in small-town community service. It’s here that all the things you need to happen in your life happen. I’m happy about supporting women and continuing to empower others.”
Forbes, who was born and raised in East Harlem, is the founder of the Gift of Giving Foundation. Forbes’ organization has served more than 800 children in the last three years and is piloting the Student Ambassadors Program for juniors and seniors in the local school district in collaboration with local businesses. After being honored, Forbes said she is even more motivated to help the Elmont community and acknowledged why honoring local women for their accomplishments is important.
“I think a lot of times as women we get pushed to the backburner because as mothers we’re doing so many things and we’re not being acknowledged for everything else that we do outside of parenting,” Forbes said.
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