Betsy and Bob Hawkes Memorial Award
About the Award: Elizabeth H. Hawkes embodied the life of VEP. In 1991, Betsy became a volunteer tutor. Until her death on April 24, 2008, she served VEP in many capacities. First and foremost, she was an outstanding tutor. She taught and mentored students from all over the world. We will forever remember this outstanding individual and share our appreciation annually with many others who selflessly share their time, talent, and passion to ensure success for our shared immigrant friends and neighbors. This annual award honors Betsy’s memory and service as a long time Board Member, Board President, Tutor and Philanthropist by recognizing an individual or individuals who best represent the Volunteer English Program’s core values, goals and overall mission.
In 2018, her beloved husband, Robert Hawkes passed away suddenly, leaving many friends throughout Chester County. His legacy gift to the Volunteer English Program will sustain the organization leading up to and including the pandemic of 2020. We look forward to paying tribute to Bob and Betsy in the year ahead through the recognition of future VEP friends.
Recipients of the Betsy Hawkes Memorial Award
2018 ◊ Shirley A. Warren
2017 ◊ Connie Partridge
2016 ◊ Thulia McKee Mead
2015 ◊ Susan Heist
2014 ◊ Shannon Almquist
2013 ◊ Bonnie Friedman
2012 ◊ Carol Klauss
2011 ◊ Rose Grobstein
2010 ◊ Ralph Johnson
2009 ◊ Sheila Frech
Shirley Warren’s involvement with and advocacy for Volunteer English Program (VEP) as a tutor and board member have supported English language literacy, community integration, and cultural empowerment for hundreds of immigrants and refugees from all over the world who have become our neighbors and fellow citizens. During her two terms as VEP Board President, she oversaw significant growth in its services and a transformative redirection from primarily state education funding to a diversified community-based funding model. Shirley spearheaded the drive to diversify VEP’s revenue stream by partnering with other regional foundations, businesses and corporations and greatly expanded their fundraising efforts. Her guidance was critical in taking the organization from a “mom and pop” way of thinking to a stronger, more sustainable infrastructure-based business. She also made community outreach a hallmark of VEP, establishing events such as an annual breakfast fundraiser at Longwood Gardens and a 5K Fun Run. Through her corporate connection with IBM, she organized an all-day workshop that brought together students, tutors and local companies to focus on interviewing skills and resume writing, which resulted in a recurring grant from IBM for the charitable organization.
Shirley is a longtime resident of Chester County and a recently retired IBM Customer Service Manager. She spent two years as a tutor and served on VEP’s Board of Directors for twelve years, including chair of the Fundraising Development Committee, Board Vice-President, and two terms as President of the Board of Directors. This nonprofit activism, which began with VEP, extends to her current roles on the boards of several other local nonprofits, including the National Federation of the Blind in Pennsylvania, League of Women Voters in Chester County, and Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. She is also an active committee member at St. Francis-in-the-Fields Church in Malvern and serves on several ministries. In January 2016, Shirley assumed the role of Board Emeritus President and unofficial “ambassador-at-large.”