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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Consultant

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Aminata Diallo, MS, MSSP
Manager of Learning & Community Impact

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Vice President of Learning & Community Impact

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Caitlin O'Brien, MPH
Director of Learning & Community Impact

Contact Caitlin about the Community Fund for Immigrant Wellness, the Annual Innovation Award, and trauma-informed programming.

Joy Ogbonnaya, MA
Operations Coordinator

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Joe Pyle, MA
President

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Tyrone Quarterman, BA, MPH Candidate
Graduate Student

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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Consultant

Spotlight: Women’s History Month

Mar 10, 2020

This Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to spotlight our grantees and partners who are passionate and committed advocates for their communities, and for other women. 

This past January, Sharon Hartz was inducted as the 38th president of the Korean American Association of Greater Philadelphia (KAAGP). As the third woman to hold this position in the organization’s history, Sharon was comforted to know that somewhere in the crowd of over 300 people, her dear friend, Nelly Jimenez-Arevalo, Executive Director and CEO of ACLAMO Family Centers, was there cheering her on.

Their closeness is reminiscent of a friendship made in childhood. “I talk to her everyday,” Sharon exclaims. It’s hard to believe that they met a mere two years ago, as grantees of the Community Fund for Immigrant Wellness. During a grantee learning collaborative, the two bonded over the shared joys and challenges of working with their respective communities. They laughed as they indulged in the candy that was used as a tool for them to learn about qualitative evaluation.

 

Under Nelly’s leadership, ACLAMO has become a pillar of the Latinx community in Montgomery County. Sharon, who plans to use her term as KAAGP president to be a “leader who can be a bridge between generations,” sees Nelly as a mentor. “She encourages me so much,” she says, “it’s priceless, what she’s given me. She helps me to keep going.”

Though they come from different backgrounds, they share an ethos for service and a vision for their communities. “We want our communities to be taken seriously. The needs may look different but both communities are human beings, and they deserve the best from us,” Nelly says. Her passion is evident, and stems from a desire for ongoing learning so she can improve the services that help her community “to keep their dreams alive.” Sharon holds a firm belief that deep civic engagement plays a key role in building a thriving Korean community here in the US. Their friendship formed at just the right time to bring their organizations together to focus on a common goal – getting out the count for the 2020 census.

Together with North Penn YMCA, Manna on Main, and The PEAK Center, they represent their organizations on the North Penn Commons Census 2020 Committee. They’ve translated materials into six languages and have worked tirelessly to educate their communities at every turn. Collectively, they’ve trained dozens of Census Champions who have knocked more than one thousand doors and convinced thousands more to pledge to be counted. “Working together with the five organizations has been amazing. It makes our communities stronger and more visible,” says Sharon. Currently, the Committee is gearing up to host a Census Fair on Wednesday, March 25th at North Penn Commons with the goal of continued community education and engagement.

Nelly and Sharon’s friendship has bolstered their commitment to their work – the support they show each other is an example for all of us this Women’s History Month. “I want people to remember how kind I was with other women, I want my daughters to see that,” says Nelly. “Sharon and I, we have been able to support each other. I think she is such a powerful leader. And it’s a big deal to have women leaders,” she adds.

As our conversation comes to a close, Sharon chimes in, “Did Nelly tell you she was going to speak at TEDxNorristown on April 4th?” Nelly, humbled by Sharon’s enthusiasm, laughs quietly. But Sharon doesn’t hide her pride. “I’m going with flowers.”