BOSTON — There were 134 women from across the state who were honored with the Unsung Heroine Award on Tuesday, including several recipients from the North Shore.
Deb Ansourlian and Marjie Crosby of Lynn, Sandi Drover of Peabody, Danielle Goldman of Swampscott, Janet Brings of Marblehead and Eleanor Vieira of Revere are now Unsung Heroines. The women were celebrated at the State House on Tuesday by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
“The commission is looking for women who go above and beyond for neighborhoods, communities or groups of individuals,” said State Rep. Dan Cahill (D-Lynn), who recommended Ansourlian as a recipient. “She was a natural fit for this award because of the amazing work she does to empower young women.”
As the executive director of Girls Inc. of Lynn, Ansourlian provides essential resources and challenging programs to disadvantaged, low-income girls and inspires them to be “strong, smart, and bold.” Ansourlian said when the commission notified her of the honor six weeks ago, she asked them if they were sure they had the right person.
She said credit should be given to the work being done at the after-school program by her staff, board members and volunteers.
“When I think of a hero, I think of someone who is courageous and bold, and stands up for what they believe in,” said Ansourlian. “There is this other part of being a heroine that is empathetic and compassionate. I got to sit with 134 other women who were called out for the work they do who aren’t necessarily looking for recognition but simply just hold a passion for their work. I have a passion for working with girls and women, and showing them how they can be leaders.”
State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-8th Essex) recommended Goldman, a Swampscott High graduate from the class of 2011, for her work as a co-founder of Open Avenues Foundation. The non-profit organization has a mission of helping others to see and understand the lives of immigrants while empowering them to thrive on their own unique paths and advance society, according to a press release from Ehrlich’s office.
“Unsung Heroines are women whose contributions make the world a better place,” Ehrlich said in the release. “In Danielle’s case, her bold action to help people that want to build a life for themselves and their families in America is the clear-eyed leadership we need today. Her compassion for today’s immigrants and their circumstances should remind us of what many of our own ancestors endured. She sets a proud example for her peers to follow.”
Under Goldman’s leadership, the foundation has helped reunite migrant families that were separated at the U.S. and Mexico border. Last June, she joined a group of concerned citizens and traveled to Texas towns near the border to learn first-hand the struggles these families faced during separation. Upon her return to Boston, she utilized the foundation and began an emergency campaign to reunite the families.
This year, Goldman’s foundation launched a new program that employs immigrants who work in the various STEM fields.
“Making the career decision to take action on an issue that I felt so strongly about did not come without moments of doubt, but the significant impact of Open Avenues Foundation’s efforts have demonstrated what is possible when we take risks and pour ourselves into causes we believe in,” Goldman said in the release. “I am so proud of the unique programming our team is developing to provide immigrants with opportunities to advance in, and contribute to, American society.”
Crosby, the second Lynn recipient, was recommended for the award by state Rep. Peter Capano (D-11th Essex) for her efforts on community boards like Pathways, an adult education center, her volunteer work as a math tutor for the E-Team machinist training program and her work as head of the Election Committee of the Boston Teachers Union. Crosby is also a member of the Women’s and Political Action Committees of the North Shore Labor Council.
In his recommendation to the commission, Capano said Crosby can enter a room where no one agrees on anything and find a solution that makes everyone happy. He also noted her famous chicken soup that she drops off at the homes of ill or injured friends.
Marbleheader Brings was recommended by state Sen. Brendan Crighton for her work with C.A.P.T.S, a non-profit organization she co-founded with her husband. Calling All Patriots Troop Support has a mission of sending care packages to more than 50 servicemen and women who are actively deployed overseas.
For her work with Healthy Peabody Collaborative, Drover, of Peabody, was recommended by state Rep. Thomas P. Walsh (D-12th Essex). Along with Sara Grinnell, of Seabrook, N.H., Drover championed the organization to work with students and young people to promote healthy living. They raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and overall educate Peabody youth on the value of smart choices.
Revere resident Vieira, a longtime community activist, received the award after a recommendation from state Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-16th Suffolk). For 15 years, Vieira has played a major role on the Revere Beautification Committee and has spearheaded a variety of programs to make the city cleaner and prettier. She created an “Adopt an Island” program, an “Adopt a Barrel” program, and a “Home of the Month Award.” Vieira has also donated hours of her time to the local media station, RevereTV.
“Every day, thousands of women from across our Commonwealth perform unheralded acts of public leadership and volunteerism that make our neighborhoods, cities and towns better places to live,” the commission stated in the event’s booklet. “They help advance the status of women and girls in Massachusetts in ways big and small, and the collective effort is meaningful.”