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16th National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect
ACYF Commissioner's Award Book
Clema S. Williams-Lewis
The Virgin Islands chooses to honor The Women's Coalition of St. Croix and its dynamic co-Directors, Mary Mingus and Clema S. Williams-Lewis. Since its start in 1981, the Women's Coalition has expanded to include 18 paid staff members, as well as opened a shelter for battered women and their children, a Closet-to-Closet Thrift Shop, and, recently, the Alice Pfaelzer Children's Center. Few organizations have had more positive impact than the Woman's Coalition. For over 24 years, the Women's Coalition has provided services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child sexual assault, and other victims of crime.
Mary Mingus adopted the cause of the Women's Coalition of St. Croix in 1981, taking a year's sabbatical and working 12-hour days without pay for many years to develop a 24-hour program for sexual assault victims. Subsequently, she left her teaching career and, as a founding member, became the first Executive Director of the Women's Coalition. Thanks to the efforts of the Women's Coalition and Mary Mingus, thousands have received the help they critically need. She has received numerous awards honoring her work, including: the Sunshine Lady Peace Award, 2003; the Delta Sigma Theta Community Service Award, 2005; the Virgin Islands Hall of Fame Award, 2005; and the I Am Proud of You Award, given by the Hispanic Community, 2005.
Clema S. Williams-Lewis, who has a master's degree in counselor education and is a nationally certified counselor, has been working with the Women's Coalition of St. Croix since 1982. Prior to her current position as co-Director, she worked for the Coalition in the capacity of volunteer advocate, Chair of Advocates, Coordinator of Training and Support Groups, Chair of the Board of Directors, Supervisor of Summer Staff, and Assistant Director. Ms. Williams-Lewis participates in numerous community and national groups, including as Chair of the St. Croix Child Abuse and Neglect Task Force and Secretary for the Virgin Islands Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Council. Recent honors include National Association of Social Workers Award for Citizen of the Year, 2002; Sunshine Lady Peace Award, 2003; and Virgin Island's Women Hall of Fame, 2005.