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2014 Women’s History Month

Commission on the Status of Women Honors Broward County’s “Unsung Sheroes” Advocates for Women

The Broward County Commission on the Status of Women, in recognition of national Women’s History Month (March 1-31), is honoring Broward County women activists and volunteers who epitomize the theme of this year’s national observance: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage & Commitment. Seven women are being honored here as well as featured in a Women’s History Month exhibit in the Governmental Center, 115 S. Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.

The Broward County Commission on the Status of Women serves in an advisory capacity to the Broward County Commission, the community and governmental and non-governmental subdivisions in Broward County, in respect to all matters pertaining to the status of women. It is dedicated to identifying and resolving economic, health and social issues concerning women’s lives through education and advocacy.
 

 2014 "Unsung Sheroes"

 

Jane BroderJane Broder, Educator

Born in Danville, Illinois, Ms. Broder moved to Fort Lauderdale at the age of 5. She attended Saint Anthony Catholic School and Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. She received a Bachelor in Science degree in elementary education and early childhood education from Florida State University; a Master of Science degree in Reading; and a Specialist in Education degree with a major in educational leadership from Barry University. Her passion for education has shaped the lives of hundreds of Broward County children.

Ms. Broder began her teaching career as a fourth grade teacher in Midway, Florida. She also worked as a Title I reading teacher for the Broward County Schools. She began teaching at Saint David Catholic School in Davie, where she taught kindergarten, fifth and sixth grades during her 20 years. Shortly after earning her degree in educational leadership, she was named principal of Saint David Catholic School.

Ms. Broder lives in Plantation with her husband of 43 years and has three children, all graduates of Saint David Catholic School, and three grandchildren residing in Jacksonville.

Ann CastroAnne Castro, Community Activist

Broward County native Anne Castro has had an extensive national and international corporate career, yet she always finds time to volunteer and serve the community. Currently, she is the executive director of the Dania Beach Housing Authority, which ensures safe, decent and affordable housing and economic opportunities for program participants who are elderly, disabled or extremely low income.

She has an MBA and a law degree, which afforded her the expertise to handle cases as a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem. After serving as the first president of the Melaleuca Gardens Homeowners Association, Ms. Castro successfully ran for the Dania Beach City Commission where she served two terms. She currently chairs the Broward County Planning Council and is a board member of the Holocaust Documentation and Education Center, which is relocating to Dania Beach. Previously, she sat on the Fire/Police Pension Board, the GE Pension Board, the MLK Committee and the Metropolitan Planning Council, to name a few.

Dora Jane "Dee" DavisDora Jane "Dee" Davis, Educator

For 30 years (1966-1996), Dee Davis was a classroom teacher and primary specialist in the Broward County school system. She helped shape the minds of many children who are now adults in Broward County, including County Commissioner Chip LaMarca, who attended her third-grade class at Floranada Elementary. During her working years, she was active in the Fort Lauderdale Junior Women's Club and church activities, such as Sunday school teacher and choir.

For the past eight years, she and her husband have resided at John Knox Village in Pompano Beach where she continues to stay involved in the community. Ms. Davis has served on the Village's Senate Executive Board and has chaired the Scholarship Committee and the Residence Services Committee. She is an active member of the School Backpack Committee, where residents fill 150 school backpacks each year for the children of the Village's employees. She is in the 120-member chorus group, NOVA Singers, which performs throughout the community.

Donna EvansDonna Evans, Community Volunteer

Donna Evans has provided remarkable volunteer service to the Town of Davie residents, guests and business partners. For decades, she has been an active participant and advocate for youth, agriculture, equine activities, the environment and those in need. This commitment to excellence includes donating personal funds, time and services to patrolling and monitoring the town’s 165-mile Trail System to report maintenance and safety concerns, and providing trail mapping recommendations.

Ms. Evans exemplifies the Town of Davie’s slogan, “Live, Work, Play and Learn.” She serves on several advisory boards and community service organizations, past and present, including Charter Review Committee; Redistricting Committee; Veterans Day Event; Orange Blossom Parade and Festival; Memorial Day Event; Open Space Advisory Committee; Police Athletic League; and Friends of the Farm Park. She is an optician and general manager of Jazzy Eyes in Davie. Ms. Evans is a longtime Davie resident, where she lives with her husband.

Donna GuthrieDonna Guthrie, Civic Leader
 
Donna Guthrie has been an active civic leader in Fort Lauderdale for 10 years. After a short tenure as vice president of the Melrose Park Homeowners Association, she assumed the role of president in 2007 and currently serves in that capacity.

During her tenure, she and the association collaborated with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and with residents of Melrose Park to successfully decrease crime and improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood. The Melrose Park neighborhood has received several neighborhood improvement grants from the City of Fort Lauderdale.
 
She has been active in several community organizations, and has served on the Sustainability Advisory Board and the Board of Parks and Recreation for the City of Fort Lauderdale. Ms. Guthrie, originally from Jamaica, is a 25-year resident of Broward County, and resides in Melrose Park with her daughters.

Estelle LowensteinEstelle Lowenstein, Community Activist

Estelle Loewenstein has been a participant in many facets of Broward County’s growth and development, including helping to build a thriving educational, social and cultural environment. Her employment mainly in healthcare, influenced her concern for social issues and humanitarian causes. She has served on the boards of many organizations, such as the Jewish Family Service and Jewish Federation Women’s Division. She has served as a past chair of the Broward County Commission’s Cultural Council, as a liaison to Business for the Arts, and as a member of the Broward County Film Society Board.

As an advocate for historic preservation, Ms. Loewenstein is a founder and coordinator of the Hollywood Historical Society Home Tour, a board member of the Broward Trust for Historical Preservation, and presently serves on the City of Hollywood Historical Preservation Board.  She also finds time to volunteer as a political activist for candidates and issues both locally and nationally.

Catherine NealCatherine Neal, Social Reformer

Catherine Neal saw a need in her community of west Pompano Beach and persevered in addressing the mental health needs of women in Broward County. Five years ago, she went to a Ladies Day Program at the 15th Street Church of Christ. There she met women who were depressed. Ms. Neal wanted to help so she sought assistance through the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), where she set up the 501(c)(3) non-profit community service organization, Christians Together Combating Depression, Inc.

She holds seminars and fundraisers to provide mental health counseling to people in need. Funding comes from bake sales, yard sales, banquets and private donations. They have clothing and food giveaways, and provide gift cards and assistance to struggling college students and families, as well as the elderly. Ms. Neal, a mother and grandmother, also teaches Sunday school, sings in the choir, works with the evangelism and ladies departments, and teaches home Bible study. She is pursuing a psychology degree and plans to be a counselor.

 

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