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Area women honored as Unsung Heroines

Four women among more than 100 honored by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women

By Sara Cline

ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER

What do a seamstress, a school psychologist, an employee at the YMCA and an Oak Point resident have in common?

All four of them are localwomen that were dubbed as 2017 “Unsung Heroines.”

The four woman, along with more than 100 other Massachusetts women, were honored Wednesday night by the state and the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as the 2017 “Unsung Heroines of Massachusetts.”

Each year the MCSW receives nominations from across the state, from state legislators, for women who make “outstanding contributions to their organizations and communities.”

The four local women were Amanda Trask of Brockton, Rita Youngclaus of Brockton, Barbara Bigelow of Easton and Rose Litchman of Middleboro.

While each of the women is unique from each other, they are all similar in the fact that they have bettered their community in some way.

Trask, an employee at the Old Colony YMCA serves as co-chairwoman of the Brockton’s Promise Caring Adults team, as stated in her biography from MCSW, an independent state agency created in 1998 to advance women of the commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities.

“Regardless of the task that Amanda is given, she puts 100 percent into it. She is truly a leader that leads by example, while being honest, caring and respectful. She is committed to the youth she serves, as well as the community as a whole,” it stated in a press release from MCSW.

Youngclaus, a retired businesswoman, is a volunteer at several organizations including the English Transcultural Center in Brockton, Bridgewater State University and The Bridgewater Literacy Program and School on Wheels as a tutor, according to her biography.

According to MCSW, one of Youngclaus’ passions is quilting. She has made quilts for numerous people and spread her love of quilting to others by starting a crafting class program for people in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) program and the Elderly Outreach program.

“Rita was more than happy to share her love of quilting and sewing with others. She donated a sewing machine to the program as well as many hours of her time and preparation work for the class,” as stated in the press release.

Bigelow, is a longtime psychologist in the Easton school district. In 2002 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2015, an MRI revealed that her cancer had spread, and she was diagnosed with Stage IV terminal metastatic. She was given 24 to 36 months to live.

Bigelow has a blog called “The Cancer Chronicles,” where she shares her struggles and makes others aware of metastatic breast cancer, according to her MCSW biography. As a result of Bigelowsharing her experience and educating others on the cancer, many people have hosted fundraisers and donated significant funds raised metavivor. org, an organization devoted to funding research for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

“Her honesty, perseverance, and the love and appreciation she feels for her family, friends, and the beauty of nature inspires all who are fortunate to know her,” as stated in the press release. “Her reach is and continues to be limitless.”

Litchman, a resident at Oak Point, an over-55 community in Middleboro, is involved in many local clubs includingWomen’s Group for Jewish Studies, according to her MCSW biography.

As co-chairwoman of the Oak Point Homeowners Scholarship Association, Rose was instrumental in running a yard sale that raised $15,000 for local scholarships, doubling last year’s efforts.

“Rose is first to arrive and last to leave whether it’s decorating for holidays and special events or helping with Oak Point’s Kids ride, a Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer research,” as stated in the press release.

For the full list of all the 2017 “Unsung Heroines” visit www.mass.gov/women/unsung-heroines/ Contact Sara Cline at scline@enterprisenews.com.

Rita Youngclaus, right, of Brockton, a dedicated volunteer to many local causes and groups, was honored last week with an Unsung Heroine award by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RASKY PARTNERS

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