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NELLIE LEADERSHIP AWARDS HONOREE—Sharon Epperson, Cecelia Trower Epperson and Lia Epperson

With a theme of “We Are Family,” the 2017 Nellie Leadership Awards Gala was held on May 12 at the Twentieth Century Club in Oakland. The Nellie Awards is the annual awards gala presented by Three Rivers Youth (TRY). Peggy Harris, President and CEO of TRY, said TRY has always been about family and when families cannot care for their children, they do. On this special evening the TRY family celebrated those exemplars, advocates and supporters who stand in for families as the TRY family does.

CREATOR OF NELLIE AWARD—Saihou Njie (Nellie Award artist) with Peggy Harris (TRY President and CEO)

The 2017 Nellie Leadership Awards were presented to the Cecelia Trower Epperson Family, Cindy and Murry Gerber Foundation, Ruth Richardson and Greg and Janet Spencer. With Lynne Hayes-Freeland as mistress of ceremonies and Melonie Crockard and Roseanne Wholey as Host Committee Co-Chairs, guests enjoyed an evening of dining, reflecting and a dessert reception.

Three Rivers Youth traces its origins to 1880 when Reverend J.M. Fulton, a local minister, was unable to find an orphanage that would provide care and shelter for little Nellie, a 4-year-old African American girl he found wandering the streets of Pittsburgh’s North Side. Established by the efforts of activist Julia Blair and the Women’s Christian Association, the Home for Colored Children became an unprecedented safe haven for Nellie and children like her who were barred from all-White orphanages. The organization later became the Termon Avenue Home for Children. Three Rivers Youth is actually the result of a merger between the Home for Children and another predecessor child welfare service agency. The Girls Service Club, founded in 1924 and incorporated in 1932 as a home for “wayward” girls, merged with the Termon Avenue Home for Children to become Three Rivers Youth in 1970.


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