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2010.02.16 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

2010 Women of Wisdom Award Honorees Announced

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s (UNO) Lifelong Learning Initiative, formerly the Program for Women and Successful Aging, has announced the winners of the sixth annual Women of Wisdom Awards.

Recipients will be honored at a luncheon and community-wide program, “Celebrate: Women of Wisdom and Lifelong Learning,” set for Thursday, April 15. The keynote speaker will be bestselling author of A Thousand Acres, Moo and Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley.

“We are here today to honor three women who have made a tremendous impact in our community and in the lives of the people they have touched,” said Patricia Adams, director of UNO’s Lifelong Learning Initiative, the sponsor of the Women of Wisdom Awards. “The mission of the award is to recognize the important and often unrecognized contributions that senior women make each day.”

The 2010 award winners are as follows.

Carole J. Boye is the executive director of Community Alliance, the largest and most comprehensive psychiatric rehabilitation organization in Nebraska. She has guided the organization through growth and change while staying true to its mission. Boye is recognized for her passion and advocacy efforts within the behavioral health field. She is instrumental in effecting change in how behavioral health services are provided in Nebraska and is helping to make a real and enduring difference on both an individual and systemic level.

Louisa Brokering, a retired medical social worker, is a longtime translator and advocate for Hispanic immigrants in Nebraska. Her volunteer Spanish interpretation services kept her very busy at UNMC, where she was on-call 24 hours a day. Also, through her volunteer work she helped expand the Spanish language interpreter services office at UNMC. Brokering is highly active in her church, Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey, where she serves as lay minister and aides in the success of the food pantry located at the church.

Elizabeth Draper is a licensed mental-health practitioner and counselor at Brook Valley School, an alterative school for children who struggle with public school. She is known to go beyond typical services assisting parents in working through crises with their children with disabilities. Everyday she is accompanied by Aero, her certified therapy dog, who helps serve as an alternative means to communicate with the students. Draper is an active volunteer with the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health, Federal Emergency Management Agency and helps to counsel first-responders and victims families in disasters.

UNO’s Lifelong Learning Initiative will also award the Shirley Waskel Award for the Advancement of Women, which honors a gifted senior woman. The 2010 recipient is Marilyn Gilman Kirkwood, for her work and dedication in volunteerism throughout the community. After 30 years of being a homemaker, she was hired at Immanuel Hospital as assistant coordinator of volunteer services. At 71 she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a librarian and began taking college level classes, proof that learning continues at any age. With the position of head librarian she has made the library a gathering place, welcoming patrons from all walks of life.

The “Celebrate: Women of Wisdom and Lifelong Learning” award luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Central in Omaha. The event is open to the public; tickets are $40 per person and $35 for seniors ages 65 and above. Corporate tables are available and prices begin at $500.

For more information, call (402) 554-4897 or (402) 554-2292, or send an email to padams@unomaha.edu.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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