During the dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, three Connecticut women did their part to brighten the lives of women and girls throughout the state. Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOFCT) is honoring these female leaders at its 26th Annual Breakfast Badge Awards ceremony. This year’s recipients are “Women Who Shine”, exceptional role models recognized for their outstanding achievements in creating solutions for their communities during the pandemic. The fundraising event will take place on Thursday, December 8, 2022, 7:30 a.m. at the Hartford Marriott Downtown located at 200 Columbus Boulevard in Hartford, Connecticut.
“These extraordinary women are brilliant leaders who created original programs that helped mitigate serious issues during the pandemic and have made a positive impact on the Connecticut community,” said Diana Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “They have each become beacons of light during a very dark time in our State’s history.”
Francine Farkas Sears of Guilford is President of Francine Collections Ltd and Women in Business (WIB) Ltd; women’s business enterprises designing and producing beautiful women’s and girl’s lap top cases, luggage and accessories. Francine has designed 74 clothing and accessory pieces for Girl Scouts of the USA and has spent a lifetime mentoring girls and women. By example, she has instilled the values of confidence, courage and hard work and has demonstrated the importance of philanthropy. At the beginning of the pandemic she procured and distributed 20,000 K95 masks to inner-city hospitals. Francine has held many sample sales to benefit the local community and her donations to various causes are numerous.
Jendayi Scott-Miller from Hartford is Founder, CEO, and President of Angel of Edgewood (AOE), a non-profit organization dedicated to working on the issue of food insecurity in the state. AOE provides grocery giveaways, business development, workforce training and an entrepreneur training program for those in the Greater Hartford area. Jendayi was named one of 2021’s 100 Women of Color in the Hartford area and one of 50 “Magic Makers” selected by Disney from 300,000 nominations nationwide. Magic Makers are people and organizations that stepped up and helped out during the pandemic.
Melanie Sinche is from West Hartford and Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Director, Career Development Center and Executive Director of Women's Leadership Center at the University of St. Joseph. Her career passion is to embrace, empower and engage an individual’s strengths and dreams to make their world a better place for all. She has a significant background in bioscience, healthcare, and STEM areas at some of the country’s most highly respected universities. After 2020, when Connecticut and the world were experiencing a time of “darkness”, Melanie designed a career development program for area women in healthcare so that they could network, share experiences and learn from each other, while teaching USJ mentors how to use their grit and persistence to overcome the various challenges of the pandemic.
Besides the stellar stories shared by each honoree, the keynote speaker of “Women Who Shine” is Elizabeth Driscoll Jorgensen, CADC of Insight Counseling in Ridgefield, CT and a Consultant to Newport Healthcare. She is the author of Delay Your Gray: How to Keep Your Teen Safe and Yourself Sane based on her 30 years of experience with adolescent and adult psychotherapy and counseling. She is a nationally recognized expert in counseling, particularly in engaging resistant teens and motivating them to change. Liz has received a Congressional Award in 1994 for her work in treatment innovation and prevention and was recently featured in the Netflix documentary, “Take Your Pills.”
Rounding out the roster is Tricia Hyacinth, Chairperson of the 26th Annual Breakfast Badge Awards and member of Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Board of Directors. She is also Founding Executive Director of Five Frogs, Inc., the only statewide, multi-sector leadership development organization building a movement for equity in Connecticut. She comes to the role following nine years with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation where she was Sr. Director of the Fund for Women & Girls. There, Tricia oversaw the Fund’s grantmaking portfolio, annual fundraiser, thought leadership initiatives that advance gender equity, and grew the Fund’s visibility. Prior to joining the Community Foundation, Tricia served as Program Manager of Community Engagement at Hands On Hartford, an affiliate of the national Hands On Network. In May 2018, Tricia was awarded the Excellence in Public Service Award for her contribution in the area of philanthropy on behalf of the Milford Connecticut Chapter of Links, Inc. She holds an MBA from the University of Connecticut.
All proceeds from the Breakfast Badge fundraiser support the Annual Fund for GSOFCT to sustain its mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character. The Fund promotes affordable and accessible programming throughout the year for over 18,000 girl-members and provides essential resources for more than 9,000 adult volunteers, offering opportunities for girls to participate in the Girl Scouts of Connecticut Leadership Experience across the four program pillars; STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship. Tickets are $85 or $1,500 for a table of 10.
“These women exemplify Girl Scout values by courageously facing the unknown with an unwavering passion to step up when their community is in need,” said Mahoney. “We encourage everyone to join us to hear their inspirational stories.”
For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and event details visit www.gsofct.org.
About Girl Scouts of Connecticut
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit gsofct.org.
PHOTO: Jendayi Scott-Miller of Hartford, Francine Farkas Sears of Guilford, and Melanie Sinche from West Hartford are the three at the prestigious 26th Annual Breakfast Badge Awards hosted by Girls Scouts of Connecticut on December 8, 2022 in Hartford, Connecticut. This year’s theme is “Women Who Shine”.
Credit: Girl Scouts of Connecticut