On Sept. 20, Niecy Dennis, founder and president of the Workforce Development Global Alliance said “Karibu,” which is welcome in Swahili, to the guests of the Seventh Annual Benefit Festival held at the LeMont Restaurant.


On this beautiful evening more than 200 guests enjoyed a wonderful meal, raffles, silent auctions and special guest artist Shabaka with Bill Flanagan as master of ceremonies. Dr. Jeannette E. South-Paul was recognized as the 7th annual—newly renamed Dr. Wangari Maathai Humanitarian Award recipient for her lifetime of visionary leadership and steady unwavering devotion to the support and inspiration of others—locally, nationally and internationally. WDGA also honored the inaugural group of Global Lighthouse Awardees.

The WDGA Global Lighthouse Award was created to recognize local community leaders from global non-profits who are making valuable contributions to Kenya, Africa, and beyond. The honorees included: George McGee, who has sponsored children in different countries, which led him to Kenya to meet the young man whom he sponsored for many years through the Christian Foundation for Children & Aging; Lucas Muscwe, who is affiliated with Rock Creek Church in Uranga, Kenya, which is supported by Good Samaritan Ministry International and provides support to orphans and needy children from poor families who require assistance on basic needs, education and shelter; and Kakenya Naibya, who was honored for her work as founder and president of Kakenya Center for Excellence, a girls primary boarding school in Enoosaen, Kenya. Also receiving a Global Lighthouse Award was Ray Parker, an ordained Elder and Associate Pastor of he Morningside Church of God in Christ. He is one of the founders and spiritual leaders of Christian Evangelistic Economic Development, a faith based nonprofit organization.

The evening concluded with a spirited auction with Chuck Sanders, former Steeler and businessman, as auctioneer. High bidders walked away with trips to Disney, Steeler tickets and a warm feeling that they had contributed to WDGA, an organization that is on a mission to promote economic self-sufficiency through peace and employability for disadvantaged youth.

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