The celebratory event recognized the endeavors of the program’s volunteers and contributors, and funds raised support VEP’s efforts to teach English and cultural enrichment to those living or working in Chester County.
More than 120 participated in the celebration, which was held at The Desmond Hotel – Great Valley in Malvern, PA and was Emceed by Shirley Min, WHYY Delaware First producer and host. The event recognized various award recipients, including Betsy Hawkes Award Winner (Volunteer of the Year) Connie Partridge, Community Partner Award Winner Fulton Bank and recognized the accomplishments of one student – Silvia Ramirez-Cubos.
In a show of utmost respect and appreciation for all their volunteers, VEP honored Connie Partridge as this year’s Betsy Hawkes Award Winner. She has not only volunteered as a tutor since 2006, but also joined the VEP Board of Directors in 2007 and served on the board for eight years. Partridge’s enthusiasm for VEP’s mission and dedication to helping students achieve their goals is what makes her such a special tutor. “Every student is different. Some might not need you as much. But more often than not, each of my students becomes a new member of my extended family. You can’t help but get close,” says Partridge.
Since 1986 VEP has recruited, trained, and provided the necessary resources to hundreds of volunteers, enabling the success of their students. Students are praised for their resilient devotion towards reaching their goals after coming to this country, which is why VEP recognizes one stellar student each year to put a spotlight on their determination and subsequent successes. This year the light was shown on Silvia Ramirez-Cubos.
“Cynthia (my VEP volunteer) told me how important it is to be independent as a mother and woman in this country…Not only did she teach me English, but she also introduced me to American culture and life skills,” says Ramirez-Cubos.
With the support and encouragement of VEP, Ramirez-Cubos became a citizen of the United States in 2007 and obtained a post-bachelor Early Education degree from Immaculata University in 2011. “I deeply thank God and VEP for the opportunity to meet Cynthia and learn this language. It gave me the opportunity to succeed and help my daughters, too.”
Thanks to VEP and with the support of Fulton Bank, Community Partner Award Winner, thousands of hard-working adult immigrants and refugees are succeeding in the workplace, at home, and in our communities. Both VEP and Fulton Bank are dedicated to working together to help build stronger peoples and societies.
“Being active participants in our community is an integral part of how we do our business,” says Mike Reese, senior vice president & regional sales manager of Fulton Bank. “We are first and foremost a community bank. VEP’s mission of embracing diversity and supporting the immigrant community resonates with us.”
For more than ten years, the Fulton Forward initiative has paired well with VEP’s mission. Fulton Bank continues to donate employees’ time through board engagement, event sponsorships and conference spaces.
“This event is a chance to thank and honor those involved in building the Chester County community day-in and day-out,” says Terri Potrako, executive director of VEP. “Our goal is to celebrate our accomplishments as well as raise funds to support annual operations, given that volunteers are not paid and the students are not charged.”
Guests to the reception also enjoyed a performance by The Dramatuers.