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YWCA Announces 2017 Volunteers of the Year

YWCA Mankato

MANKATO, Minn. – Ben Braswell, Jolly Corley and Laurie Danberry have been announced as the recipients of the 2017 YWCA Mankato Volunteer of the Year awards. Each year, nominations are accepted for individuals committed to the YWCA Mankato mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. The three will be honored at the State of the YWCA event on Thursday, September 28, 2017.

Braswell will be receiving the award on behalf of the New American Families program, Walking in Two Worlds. Ben values making Mankato a welcoming community for immigrant and refugee families, giving them hope by helping meet basic needs. “Not only does he commit his time to the program, he has stored furniture in his own garage to be given to families in need,” said Racial Justice Training Specialist, Ayan Musse. “[Braswell] has even gone as far as to help haul mattresses and other furniture to clients’ homes in the evenings and on weekends.”

Corley was nominated for her work in Women & Girls’ Programming. She was the driving force behind the creation of Girls & GEARS, a new biking program for girls in grades 6-8, introducing girls to various types of cycling while building confidence and self-esteem. "Jolly doesn't just come up with inspiring ideas, she puts them into action!" said Director of Programs, Amy Jordan. "She is a true reflection of empowerment.”  Corley is a long-standing member of the Girl’s Programming Advisory Committee which plans the Girls on the Run 5k event. She also serves on the Women’s Leadership Conference committee. 

Danberry will be recognized for her contributions to the Women of Distinction event. She has served on the event committee for more than eight years, helping to solicit donations and organize volunteers. Last year, Danberry was instrumental in securing live music, adding excitement and ambiance to the annual event. “Not many volunteers are willing to fundraise or jump in and get their hands dirty – that’s definitely not Laurie!” exclaimed event lead and Director of Operations, Sam Schirmers, “She is with us through thick and thin!”

The State of the YWCA, previously known as the YWCA Annual Meeting, will take place Thursday, September 28, 2017, at the Country Inn & Suites in Mankato, Minn. The event will highlight successes and offer attendees a chance to reconnect with YWCA Mankato and learn about the strategic vision of the organization. For more information or to register visit mankatoywca.org or call (507) 345-4629.


About YWCA Mankato

Nationally, YWCA USA is the oldest and largest national organization that serves women and their families. Locally, YWCA Mankato strives to be a collaborative leader and catalyst for social change focused on gender and race. Through programming and events that provide leadership development for women and girls, tools for self-sufficiency for New American families and the promotion of racial equity, YWCA Mankato serves its mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.  


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