YWCA fall gala honors military women

Susan Taylor

The YWCA of Beaumont is hosting a fall gala titled “Military Women Committed to Service” on Friday, Nov. 30, at the Event Centre at 700 Crockett St. in Beaumont. Celebrity author, entrepreneur and former Essence magazine editor Dr. Susan Taylor will be the featured guest. Honorees at the event are local women who serve or have served in the military, or women who have been pillars of service in the community. Soloists Cecelia Chaisson and Cheryl Lewis will perform at the gala event. Beaumont YWCA Vice President Alice Ramsey said people would also be pleased by an unexpected performer. “We have a surprise guest, a little known musician in this area, and that is (Beaumont ISD Superintendent) Dr. Timothy Chargois,” Ramsey said. “It is very special that he is doing this.” Ramsey said proceeds raised would be utilized in a variety of ways through YWCA programs. “We have such great programs at the Y,” Ramsey said. “We give scholarships called the ‘Second Chance’ scholarship. It’s to help women get their GED and maybe go on to college, like LIT, and to Kaplan and other schools to further their education and to prepare them for the job market. … We have the Tweens program for our little girls that are not teenagers. We try to teach them and prepare them for life coming out of their formative years ... girls who are totally oblivious to what’s going on in life, to who they are and what they are. And of course we help them with their reading and things of that nature. The SMART program is for those who are in school but need mentoring and help. We also partner with the Junior League to help young mothers in the area.” Ramsey said YWCA focuses on women in the community and helping them to succeed. The gala event will serve to bring attention to and show appreciation for female veterans. Ramsey said, “There are a lot of things that women in the community needed that we haven’t been able to give them in the past because we don’t have a building of any size that we can house them and teach them how to dress for success and all that right now, but we are working toward those goals. And especially for our women coming home from the military. We’ve seen a lot of women right here in Beaumont and are finding out they have made such great contributions to fighting in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and I thought we need to do something to just say ‘thank you’ to these women. Some of them have been wounded, I mean really wounded, in battle and you know nobody is paying attention to them. We want to call attention to that and hope that others will follow our lead and say thank you to these women because they have sacrificed so much for the country.” Taylor will hold a book signing at The Eleganté Hotel earlier in the afternoon at a time to be determined. Her books include “In the Spirit: The Inspirational Writings of Susan L. Taylor” and “Lessons in Living.” The doors at the Event Centre will open at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 for cocktails, and the program will be held after. Ramsey said tickets are $60 and a table can be reserved for a group of 10 for $600, but said the YWCA welcomes additional contributions. Contact YWCA for tickets and information at (409) 899-1011.