On April 27, at the Carnegie Museum, Three Rivers Youth took hundreds on another exciting journey to indulge in yet another culture far away from Pittsburgh. This year Peggy Harris, president and CEO of TRY, selected Morocco as the theme of their annual Nellie Leadership Award Gala. “Why Morocco?” Harris says, “Why not?”

THE DANCERS—From left: Rebecca Nuttall, Sabrina Saunders, K. Chase Patterson, Joy Maxberry Woodruff and Lynn Hayes-Freeland

As guests arrived, a Moroccan dancer welcomed them and everyone was invited to pose in a beautifully decorated setting for their souvenir picture of their Moroccan night. Guests dined on Chicken Tajne with prunes, Saffron Risotto cakes and couscous salad. The well-choreographed evening was hosted by Andrew Stockey, WTAE-TV news anchor, with Greg Peaslee, senior vice president, UPMC, as event chair.

The 2012 Nellie Leadership Awards were presented to: FedEx for Volunteerism, PricewaterhouseCoopers for Corporate Responsibility, and Cecile and Eric Springer received the honor for Civic Engagement. Each honoree received a beautiful piece of art created by Saihou Njie.

The special feature of the night was the TRY presentation of “Dancing With the Stars.” Showing off some fancy footwork was Lynne Hayes-Freeland (KDKA-TV), Rebecca Nuttall (New Pittsburgh Courier), K. Chase Patterson (Corporate Diversity Associates LLC), Sabrina Saunders (Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh) and Joy Maxberry Woodruff filled in for her daughter Jenyce Michelle Woodruff, Esq. Unfortunately, Jenyce had injured her foot.

The dancers performed to the sounds of African drummers and guests voted via their cell phones for their favorite. Lynne Hayes-Freeland took the first place prize. After the dancing was over, it was time for dessert and coffee.

Harris reminded the crowd to please enjoy the energy, color and culture in the room and know that when the lights go down TRY will remain steady in their mission to preserve and unite families, combat homelessness, enhance educational opportunities and build life skills for at-risk youth.

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