YWCA Lancaster is thrilled to present the 2023 Women of Achievement Honorees!
Each year since 2016, YWCA Lancaster has uplifted the inspiring work of female-identifying community members through the Women of Achievement Awards to celebrate leaders, mentors, and volunteers who embody our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. All proceeds from the event support YWCA Lancaster’s Kepler Hall Residence Program, the County’s longest running affordable housing program.
This year’s nomination process was the biggest and most competitive yet, and we’re so excited to share with you the incredible work of the 2023 Women of Achievement Honorees.
The 2023 Women of Achievement Honorees:
Chelsea Christmas (she/her)
At Her Core Fitness
Chelsea Christmas hails from Lancaster, PA born and raised. She comes from a big family of strong men and women and she am 1 of 5 girls. Chelsea’s purpose and passion has always been to bring women together through health and wellness. She has seen first hand through seasons of pain and uncertainty the importance of turning to health and wellness as a way to cope. Chelsea learned that caring for herself was not selfish, it is her responsibility. She learned that healing is available in healthy communities, that her body can do hard things, and that her mind can tell a new story that leads to hope. When Chelsea connects with the women of AHC she sees herself in each of them and is reminded that purpose can curate the space for other women to start their work toward being healthy, happy, and whole.
Chelsea wants women to walk into spaces they know they will be accepted in; her expertise is in empowering and encouraging the sister next to her to be all that she can be. She believes that when THEY win, we all WIN!
Cindy Lam Guo (she/her)
Silantra Asian Street Kitchen
Cindy is the co-owner of Silantra Asian Street Kitchen. Since 2015, she has grown her business into three stores, as well as spearheaded relationships with local nonprofits, making impactful contributions to the community. Through these partnerships, she have donated $35,000 in funds, along with over 3000 pounds of food and more than 1000 articles of clothing and supplies.
In January 2023, Cindy co-led the very first public Lunar New Year celebration in Lancaster City, and is the chair of AAPI Lancaster. Above all, Cindy wants to foster unity within the Asian community and secure recognition for its strength, and over the last 8 years, she have been and will continue to be deeply committed to utilizing her business as a catalyst for positive change for what is right and just. She has two children, Xander and Charlotte, who are her motivation. It is crucial to Cindy that future generations feel a sense of belonging, free from racism, and be proud to celebrate and share their culture.
Stephanie Thomas (she/her)
Speak to My Soul / A Concrete Rose
Ms. Stephanie Thomas, serves as Volunteer Coordinator and has previously served as Advisor of Speak To My Soul which includes strategic planning, community outreach, marketing and creative ideas. An alumnus of JP McCaskey High School for her secondary education, she has served the past 20 years as an Office Assistant with the School District of Lancaster, and held positions and posts within numerous community organizations throughout her time with the District.
A servant at heart, Ms. Thomas is fondly known in the community for capturing the heart of the audience with her powerful original written spoken word/poetry leaving the audience impacted, empowered, their thoughts provoked and their lives transformed. She writes for, orates and performs at various events throughout Lancaster, Chester, Berks County and across state lines. She serves as an advocate publicly and privately. She serves as a invisible scribe, lyrical wordsmith and human pen to write on behalf of those who need assistance releasing communication in writing and/or orally.
Ms. Thomas is the mother of Evita Colon (CEO/Visionary/Founder of Speak To My Soul, Co-Founder of A Concrete Rose, Founder/Editor In Chief of BLK Voices Magazine and City of Lancaster’s 1st Poet Laureate), Tatiyana A. Colon, Silvan J. Hernandez Jr., and Mimi AKA Grandmother to Dominic “DJ” Jajua Jr.
Savannah Thorpe (she/her)
Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus
Savannah “Sav” Thorpe is a biracial Black lady from Lancaster, PA and leader in progressive political communications. Sav has spent her political career harnessing the power of shared values and stories to build a grassroots movement in her home of south-central Pennsylvania. She is currently the press secretary for the PA Senate Democratic Caucus; previously, she worked on the campaigns of Izzy Smith-Wade-El for HD-49, Elizabeth Warren for President, Jess King for Congress, and a number of municipal races in PA. In addition to being a communications practitioner, Sav is also a communications educator regularly contracted to conduct workshops with LEAD-PA, Movement School, and University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. Sav graduated Summa from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with a B.A. in Writing and a B.A. in Economics. She lives with her fiancé Jordan and their two cats Lucille and Wilco in downtown Lancaster, where she tends to her gardens.
Jayden Stokes (she/her)
George Washington University
Jayden Stokes is a rising Sophomore at The George Washington University, pursuing a dual major in Sociology and Marketing. With a passion for fostering campus spirit and maintaining the esteemed reputation of George Washington University, Jayden currently serves as a dedicated Student Coordinator for the university’s Events and Marketing Team.
Jayden’s journey began in Montreal Canada where she lived until she moved to Lancaster County at the age of 10. She attended school in Lancaster City until moving to Conestoga Valley for high school, where she graduated in 2022. During her time there, she made a lasting impact by founding and serving as the former President of two influential organizations, namely the PoWER (People Welcoming and Empowering Race) Club and the Women’s Liberation Alliance (WLA). Recognizing the need for inclusive spaces, Jayden took the initiative to create environments that empowered not only herself but also those around her.
In the face of unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, Jayden demonstrated her resourcefulness by implementing an African American Studies course at her high school—a groundbreaking achievement for Lancaster County, and served as a catalyst for cultural education and awareness during a time of significant change. Jayden’s unwavering commitment to cultivating safe and inclusive spaces has become the driving force behind her life’s work. Her dedication to fostering a sense of belonging and effecting positive transformations remains the cornerstone of her journey.
Join us on October 12 for the Women of Achievement Awards Ceremony!