Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

September 27, 2013

Thanks to amazing, unstoppable women

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Through the years, I have had the blessing of serving on the boards of directors of some wonderful organizations. Lockport has been our home for over 20 years and, having raised all four children here, I love serving with groups that make a difference in our collective community. 

This time of year, I am especially honored to serve on the board of directors for the YWCA of Niagara, under the leadership of CEO Kathy Granchelli. This board consists of some of the most outstanding, dynamic women I have ever met.

Earlier this week, the YWCA held the 2013 Niagara Awards: A Tribute Women. This beautiful, elegant event recognizes the excellent accomplishments of women making a difference in their far-reaching circles of influence. It is also YWCA’s largest annual fundraiser, with proceeds going towards Carolyn’s House for women and children and all of the YWCA’s incredible programs that are a part of giving families a fresh, new, beginning.

Every year, I am absolutely overwhelmed by what the Niagara Award nominees and winners have achieved. I attended the event with my husband Vincent, and we, like everyone in attendance, heard the inspiring stories of these amazing, unstoppable women, and received encouragement to strive for greater excellence in our own circles of influence.

This year’s historic male award winner was state Sen. George Maziarz, the recipient of the Friend of the YWCA Award. I have had the privilege of interviewing him numerous times in the past on LCTV’s government channel.  And this week I heard, for the first time, of the powerful influence that the women in his family had on his life, when he accepted his award and dedicated it to them. 

The Niagara Awards are a tremendous opportunity to acknowledge excellence, and I pray they continue for many, many years to come.

This week, I also had the personal joy of being in the presence of an equally amazing, unstoppable woman, whom I am honored to call “friend.”

Ruth, our pastor’s wife and the First Lady of Home City Church, is a wife, the mother of four — two adults and two teenagers — and is originally from Zimbabwe, Africa. She holds a doctorate degree in theology, formerly owned and operated one of the most exclusive high-end clothing boutiques in Atlanta, and is currently a student at UB working on a second bachelor’s and master’s degree simultaneously, while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Despite her many accomplishments, Ruth maintains an endless joy, a refreshing sense of humor and a God-given sense of peace that you can enjoy whenever you are in her presence.

When I asked about her ability to re-invent herself, take risks and adapt to change, Ruth shared her absolute faith and almost childlike trust in God. By completely trusting in God’s endless love, power and might, Ruth is able to reach outstanding goals and overcome insurmountable odds. 

It seemed so simple, and yet, in all honesty, I had to ask myself: How many times in life do we really “let go and let God” accomplish greater things through us than we can comprehend?

Sometimes, a fresh start, a new career or a new life season requires a “leap of faith” to begin. Whether it’s supporting an organization like the YWCA, or learning from someone like Ruth, let’s take a new leap of faith toward greater excellence in our lives today.

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than 20 years of television broadcast experience. Her column is published every first, third and fifth Friday of the month. Contact her at jjd.22344@yahoo.com.

Jackie Davis is an inspirational vocalist, musician and speaker with more than 20 years of television broadcast experience. Her column is published every first, third and fifth Friday of the month. Contact her at jjd.22344@yahoo.com.