RED BANK, NJ (March 27, 2019) – Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore hosted its annual Women of Distinction & Community Partners Gala on Friday, March 22, to support opportunities for girls in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to engage in Girl Scout programs and experiences that develop lifelong leadership skills.

Nearly 200 people attended the event at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale, which raised over $100,000 that will advance the Girl Scouts’ core mission to empower girls to become women of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place.

“We are truly grateful for the community’s support and what it will mean for our girls, eager to build skills to take action for themselves and their communities,” said Eileen Higgins, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, which serves more than 10,000 girls.

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The centerpiece of the evening was celebrating the achievements of six community leaders, who Higgins described as “outstanding role models who inspire our girls to become the leaders of tomorrow.”

Each of the honorees was introduced by Girl Scouts who have distinguished themselves by earning one or more of the highest honors in Girl Scouts – the bronze, silver and gold awards.

Honored with the Women of Distinction honor award were: Patricia Carlesimo, executive director of the LADACIN Network; DiAnne Gove, New Jersey Assemblywoman, 9th Legislative District; Eva J. Smithers, retired business professional and entrepreneur; and Bonnie Torcivia, a founding member of Impact 100 Jersey Coast.

Timothy Hearne, Jr., president and CEO of the United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties was presented the Man Enough to be a Girl Scout award, and Stillwell-Hansen, Inc., based in Edison and its CEO Carol Stillwell, received the Community Partner Award.

 “We are honored to acknowledge all of our honorees for their dedication to making our community a better place and for believing in the potential of our girls,” Higgins said.

The evening began with cocktails and bidding for silent auction prizes, followed by the awards program, dinner and live auctions. Guests also enjoyed dancing to the music of Kindred Spirit and experiencing the fun of summer camp by toasting marshmallows and building their own s’mores.

The event was co-chaired by Teri O’Connor, Monmouth County administrator and first vice president of Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s Board of Directors, and Tom Hayes, director of Consumer and Community Relations at New Jersey Natural Gas.

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore serves more than 10,000 girls ages 5-18 in Monmouth and Ocean counties, providing a time-tested leadership experience that inspires and motivates them to take action for themselves and their communities. For over 100 years, Girl Scouts has helped girls become women of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. For information on how to join, volunteer, partner or donate, visit jerseyshoregirlscouts.org or call (800) 785-2090.

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