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Women to be honored by Monterey panel

By March 20, 2014November 21st, 2017No Comments

Eleven women will be honored by the Monterey County Commission on the Status of Women in a reception scheduled at 2 p.m. Sunday in Irvine Auditorium of the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

The event, celebrating women who have significantly improved the quality of life for others in their community, will honor Amanda Bakker, Maggie Bennett, Mary Claypool, Marina Gomez, Carolyn Gray, Evadna Renee Hammond, Monica Mapp, Barbara Mitchell, Natalie Anne Oliver, Janice Spence-Sharpe and Nancy Ramirez.

“This event honors women who have significantly improved the quality of life for others,” said Rosemary Soto of the commission. “The goal is to highlight the wonderful diversity of women in Monterey County, and to honor their work and the contribution they make throughout our county.”

“Community members helped identify and recognize these unsung heroines who have made a difference in their community by way of submitting nominations,” Soto said. “A selection committee composed of commissioners, community members and past honorees reviewed nominations and selected 11 outstanding women based on the criteria of commitment, excellence and degree of community impact.”

The honorees

Bakker, founder of Tatum’s Garden, is dedicated to serving children facing challenges due to physical and/or developmental disabilities. Bakker established a nonprofit organization, garnered the support of more than 3,000 volunteers for a community-driven construction project, and raised more than $1.2 million to fund the development.

Bennett, chairwoman of the California Association of Midwives, played an integral role in the writing and passing of a bill legalizing midwifery in California. Bennett has dedicated more than 40 years to advocating for women’s reproductive rights.

Mary Claypool, president of NAACP Monterey County Branch, has served on numerous organizations and was awarded Woman of Achievement by the Seaside Business and Professional Women. Claypool has dedicated more than 30 years in the areas of economic development, leadership and education.

Gomez has raised awareness and garnered community support to advocate for academic opportunities for youth and peace in her community. She played an important role in the building of La Paz Middle School by raising community support for an additional middle school to adequately serve a growing East Salinas population.

Gray has more than a decade of volunteerism working to improve the health and well being of women who face challenges of homelessness. Gray gathers weekly donations from various retailers to meet immediate needs of women.

Hammond has served in an integral role in the successful fundraising for the Community Human Services All Women’s Ball and September Tea Party raising close to $16,000 to help runaway and homeless youth and women in recovery.

Mapp has served as an adult adviser for the Monterey County NAACP Youth Council, hosting annual Youth Summits for the past 19 years. Mapp has dedicated more than nine years to serving in the areas of leadership and youth development.

Mitchell, executive director of Interim Inc., is dedicated to serving individuals facing mental health challenges. Mitchell serves as vice president of the Monterey County Coalition of Homeless Service Providers and led the development of 18 projects providing more than 250 bed-supportive housing facilities.

Oliver served in an integral role in the successful development and implementation of the innovative project Ciclov’a Salinas promoting health and unity in East Salinas and was one of those who successfully launched the first Building Healthy Communities 5K Walk/Run in East Salinas.

Spence-Sharpe was dedicated to improving the quality of life for children in Monterey County by serving as a foster parent, providing a safe and loving home. Spence-Sharpe faced her own personal health challenges having lost her battle with cancer in the fall of 2013. She remains an inspiration to all who knew her and were impacted by her commitment to service.

Ramirez works to increase early intervention mental health services to youth experiencing first onset of psychosis through evidence-based treatment and has dedicated more than a decade to community service and volunteerism.

Dennis Taylor can be reached at or 646-4344.

If you go
·What: Reception honoring “Outstanding Women of Monterey County,” presented by the Monterey Commission on the Status of Women
·When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday
·Where: Irvine Auditorium, McCone Building (499 Pierce St., Monterey), Monterey Institute of International Studies
·Information: Rosemary Soto at 755-5840 or