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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Nonprofit, Community, and Business Leaders Celebrate Local Unsung Heroes at Fourth Annual Light of Dawnn Awards Ceremony

Nonprofit, Community, and Business Leaders Celebrate Local Unsung Heroes at Fourth Annual Light of Dawnn Awards Ceremony
Mayor Martin J. Walsh Joins to Honor Nonprofit Workers and High School Students for Their Remarkable Contributions to Their Communities


BOSTON, MA (February 27, 2018) Nonprofit, government, community, and business leaders, along with the Jaffier Family, came together at the West End House Boys and Girls Club for the fourth annual Light of Dawnn Awards Ceremony to honor the life of Dawnn Jaffier. During the ceremony, three nonprofit workers and three high school seniors were recognized for their outstanding work and commitment to serving their communities.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined the ceremony and made remarks on the legacy of Dawnn Jaffier and the accomplishments of the Light of Dawnn Award winners.

"There is no better way to honor the life of Dawnn Jaffier than to celebrate those who have continued to carry on her legacy through acts of goodwill and service to our local communities," said Mayor Walsh. "Dawnn and her spirit will not be forgotten, and I congratulate this year's award winners who make a difference throughout our city. Thank you for making the City of Boston proud."

The Light of Dawnn Awards were created to honor the memory of Dawnn Jaffier, who in 2014 was tragically killed at just 26 years old. While just a young woman, Dawnn had already made a significant impact in her community through her work with the West End House Boys and Girls Club, Playworks, City Year, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston. Upon Dawnn's untimely passing, her family, friends, and colleagues came together to create the Light of Dawnn Awards so that her legacy may continue to inspire. Each year, three individuals who represent Dawnn's spirit are selected to receive a Light of Dawnn Award and a $5,000 prize. The Awards are presented by the Highland Street Foundation and managed by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

This year's recipients are Khara Burns, FoodSource Hotline Director of Project Bread; Mao Kang, Streetworker at UTEC, Inc.; and Shalaun Brown, Operations Manager at Codman Academy Public Charter School.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lauded the award winners for their invaluable contributions to the Commonwealth's nonprofit sector and commitment to strengthening their communities.

"Congratulations to this year's Light of Dawnn Award recipients Khara, Mao and Shalaun for their work carrying on Dawnn's legacy of serving the community and giving back to others," said Governor Baker in a statement. "As we remember Dawnn, we must all strive to follow her outstanding example and engage in acts of kindness to support others in our local communities."

"Khara, Mao, and Shalaun quietly go about their work every day, not in pursuit of recognition, but purely driven by a desire to make a difference in someone's life," said Blake Jordan, Executive Director of the Highland Street Foundation. "It is an honor to shine a light on them and a privilege to do so in the name of Dawnn Jaffier."

"It is our honor to remember Dawnn and her memory by recognizing this year's impressive Light of Dawnn Awards recipients," said Jim Ayres, chair of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network's board of directors. "The heart and dedication that Khara, Mao, and Shalaun bring to their work remind us of Dawnn and her legacy of service, building relationships, strengthening support, and providing opportunities for others. They are outstanding examples of the thousands of nonprofit professionals working to make Massachusetts a better place for all to live."

Also during the ceremony, three high school seniors were awarded the Light of Dawnn Scholarships for their community work. Now in their second year, these scholarships were created by John Hancock, where Dawnn's mother is a longtime employee, in partnership with the Foundation to be Named Later. The scholarships award $5,000 to each student to go towards pursuing a college education.

This year's scholarship recipients are Bilguissa Barry, Kaylene Sheran, and Wooddynne Dejeanlouis.

"It is an honor to celebrate the life and legacy of Dawnn Jaffier by once again joining her family and civic partners to pay tribute to leaders who are serving their communities," said Tom Crohan of John Hancock. "We are especially proud to recognize Bilguissa, Wooddynne and Kaylene and hope this award helps make their journey just a little bit easier."

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