In Memory of Youth Worker, Light of Dawnn Awards Shine Light on Local Unsung Heroes

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Pictured from left to right: Alma Huerta Dominguez; Ian Jaffier, Jr., Dawnn’s brother; Ian Jaffier, Sr., Dawnn’s father; Ketsy Caraballo; Randy Wiskow.

BOSTON, MA (February 26, 2019) – Nonprofit leaders, government officials, and community members came together at the West End House Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday for the fifth annual Light of Dawnn Awards Ceremony to honor the life of Dawnn Ashley Jaffier. Three front-line nonprofit professionals and three high school seniors who embody Dawnn’s legacy were recognized for their service to their communities.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker lauded the award winners for their contributions in a video message that was played at the ceremony.

“I thank the West End Boys and Girls Club for making it their mission to ensure that we remember the example of service demonstrated by Dawnn in her lifetime,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Congratulations to Alma, Ketsy, and Randy and the scholarship recipients for emulating the empathy, compassion, and leadership that Dawnn brought to every aspect of her life.”

The Light of Dawnn Awards were created to honor the memory of Dawnn Jaffier, who was killed on August 23, 2014, while on her way to a neighborhood celebration. At 26 years old, Dawnn had made a significant impact in her community through her work at nonprofits, including the West End House, Playworks, City Year, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.

After Dawnn’s death, her family, friends, and colleagues came together to create the Light of Dawnn Awards to honor Dawnn’s legacy of compassion and service. The Awards aim to raise the public profiles of nonprofit workers doing important direct-service work, particularly those who do not have prominent or externally-facing roles.

Every year, three direct-service nonprofit professionals are selected to receive a Light of Dawnn Award and a $5,000 cash prize. The Awards are presented by the Highland Street Foundation and managed by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.

This year’s awardees are Ketsy Caraballo, a Community Health Worker and Case Manager Doula at Health Care Without Walls; Alma Huerta Dominguez, the Bilingual Client Services Coordinator at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center; and Randy Wiskow, the Art Director at Cardinal Cushing Centers.

“It is an honor to recognize Alma, Ketsy, and Randy for their outstanding contributions to our community,” said Blake Jordan, Executive Director of the Highland Street Foundation. “Just like Dawnn, these individuals quietly go about their work every day driven by a desire to make a difference in someone’s life.”

“We are pleased to recognize this year’s impressive Light of Dawnn Award recipients that remind us of Dawnn and her legacy of service,” said Jim Ayres, chair of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s board of directors. “Alma, Ketsy, and Randy are outstanding examples of the thousands of nonprofit professionals working in Massachusetts to make their communities stronger.”

In addition, three high school seniors were awarded the Light of Dawnn Scholarships for their community work. Now in their fourth year, the scholarships were created by John Hancock, where Dawnn’s mother is a longtime employee, and the Foundation To Be Named Later. Scholarships of $5,000 are given to each recipient for higher education.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Angelina Botticelli of Boston Arts Academy, Etinnah Garcia of John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, and Dawry Ruiz of Roxbury Preparatory High School.

“It is an honor to celebrate the life and legacy of Dawnn Jaffier by once again joining her family and civic partners to pay tribute to leaders who are serving their communities,” said Rita German of John Hancock. “We are especially proud to recognize Angelina, Dawry, and Etinnah and hope this award helps make their journey just a little bit easier.”

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