The Westfield Area Y is hosting its 17th Annual Achievers Fundraising and Recognition Banquet on Friday, March 6th from 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm at L’Affaire in Mountainside.  This year the banquet will feature “Words of Wisdom: Travel as a Supplement to Education” presented by Professional Triple Threat Artist, Mansa K. Mussa, and Keynote Speaker WNBA All Star, Tamecka Dixon.
 
“Words of Wisdom” SpeakerMansa K. Mussa is a visual artist, arts educator and arts consultant. A native of Paterson, New Jersey, he has used the camera to document the unfolding of human events in the United States, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe for the past 38 years.  During his career in the arts, he has worked professionally as a photographer, dancer, graphic artist, writer, fabric artist and curator.  He currently teaches photography, collage, wearable art, book arts, mask making, and percussion for Arts Horizons, the Newark Museum, Global Arts to Go, Art for Kids and Arts Unbound, and has developed a system for teaching art to adolescents, special needs students and adults.
 
 
Keynote Speaker, Tamecka Dixon was honored as a High School All-American her senior season for the Linden Tigers. Under longtime coach Marian Washington, Tamecka’s game flourished.  In 1996, she led Kansas to a first place finish in the Big 8 and a sweet sixteen appearance and garnered conference player of the year and honorable mention All-American honors. In 1997, Kansas was crowned Big 12 champion and Tamecka was the conference’s Player of the Year and an All-American. She played in the WNBA All-Star Game each year from 2001 to 2003. After nine years in LA, she went to the Comets as a free agent for three seasons. She finished her career with the Indiana Fever in 2009. In addition to playing in the WNBA, Tamecka also played professionally in Europe, playing 6 years in Italy, a year in Turkey and a year in Russia.  She also helped the US World Championship Team collect a Gold medal and qualified for the Olympics in 2002.  She was on her way to becoming an Olympian but was cut short by an injury during the Olympic year. Ms. Dixon is now retired from the WNBA and a successful entrepreneur.
 
The original Black Achievers, now the Westfield Y Achievers program began at the Westfield Area Y 17 years ago and matches youth with achieving African-American and other minority professionals as role models in an effort to raise the academic standards of young people, expose students to diverse career options and inspire them to reach their goals. Achievers also participate in community service activities, celebrate their history, culture and traditions, receive college prep tutoring and essay assistance.   
 
The Achievers program is funded in large part by this Annual Banquet. Funds raised by the banquet go directly to the program and scholarship, enabling youth to participate for little or no cost.  The cost for this event is $75 general admission, Neighboring Achievers $25, College Students $50. Journal Ads can be purchased in all sizes and need to be submitted with camera ready art work or a business card no later than March 3rd. Please contact Janice A. Carthens at (908) 233-2700 x227 or e-mail jcarthens@westfieldynj.org or Nadya Lawrence at (908) 456-6409 or e-mail nlawrence@westfieldynj.org for advertising details, to reserve a seat at the banquet, or to find out how to participate in supporting the leaders of tomorrow.