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YWCA salutes women’s achievements; Dowdy, Hay honored

September 26, 2013

LINCOLN — YWCA Rhode Island Thursday honored 12 “Women of Achievement,” including Woonsocket’s Jacqueline L. Dowdy and Sally Ann Hay of Lincoln, at its ninth annual awards luncheon at Kirkbrae Country Club.

Among the honorees was Quota International in Woonsocket and Pawtucket/Central Falls, which was recognized as Organization of the Year.

Since 2005, YWCA has sponsored this statewide recognition of women whose accomplishments span the fields of industry, culture and public service. This year’s recipients are a diverse group that includes a nurse, a nun, a veteran state worker, a major in the Rhode Island Air National Guard and a service organization, originally for women, that has been around for 94 years.

Dowdy has served as member advocate/ombudsman for Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island since 2008, responsible for ensuring that members’ needs are being met and appropriate services are available to them. Previously, she was Neighborhood’s manager of substitute care and was the coordinator of school-based health for Thundermist Health Center, Woonsocket. She is the adoptive mother of three girls ages 16, 10 and 9 years old; a member of St. James Baptist Church, where she is the director of community outreach; and a member of Rhode Island’s Global Waiver Task Force and DCYF’s Advisory Committee. She has a master’s degree from Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work, New York, N.Y.

Hay is a retired social worker who has used her career skills in volunteer work she now pursues. She says she is most proud of being active with Options, Rhode Island’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender news magazine; helping to create and later co-chair Equity Action, a LGBT philanthropic field-of-interest fund at the Rhode Island Foundation; being a founding member of the McAuley Village Women’s Circle, and helping to lead SAGE/Rhode Island (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders).
Originally from California, she now lives in Lincoln with her partner, Deirdre Bird.

Quota International in Woonsocket and Pawtucket/Central Falls was founded in 1919 and is one of the oldest international service organizations for women. Today, membership also includes men and youth in North America, South America, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and Europe. Its focus is on disadvantaged women and children and hearing-impaired persons in communities around the world.

The Woonsocket organization held its first meeting on March 15, 1933, and continues to stay active in the community, raising money to support local and international projects and charities. Among its special local projects are free hearing screenings, accomplished at an annual Health and Hearing Fair.

The Pawtucket/Central Falls club’s focus is on disadvantaged persons, specifically through service to the YWCA’s Sarah Frances Grant Homestead in Central Falls, a residence for homeless disabled women in transition. In the past year alone, the club has provided service to the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket, made donations to Books are Wings, Slater Park Winter Wonderland, Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center, Backpacks to Fight Hunger, Edesia - Global Nutrition Solutions , CASA and more. Members also donate community service hours to numerous organizations.

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