New Faith honors women for distinguished community service

BY ALLEN A. BUCHANAN, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — New Faith Free Methodist Church, 2427 Irving Ave. S.,  held its 25th Annual Women’s Day Celebration honoring three female community heroes last Sun., March 8. Each woman received a plaque for her diligence and professionalism in community service.

Recipient Lynette Smith Buchanan, a native of St. Petersburg, grew up in the Jordan Park and Lake Maggiore areas. She attended area schools and as a precocious teen wrote a letter to Florida State University telling them why they should admit her to their school.

Impressed by the letter, she was admitted and graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Social Work. There Buchanan pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha and has remained an active member of the sorority for more than 40 years.

Her spiritual foundation was set in Moore’s AME Chapel where her family has worshipped for more than 70 years. For the past 15 years, Buchanan has worked as supervisor of the Enoch Davis Recreation Center.

Linda A. Osmundson, a warrior against the abuse of women, was next to be honored. She is the executive director of Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA) in St. Petersburg, and under her leadership it has grown to its current status as a nationally and internationally recognized, full-service agency with innovative programs, extensive community outreach, 48 full-time and 24 part-time staff advocates.

She has won several awards such as the 1995 Florida Governor’s Peace at Home Award, the 2001 Liberty Bell Award and the 2002 Community Service Woman of the Year Award.

Osmundson has presented internationally in Bogotá, Prague, Cyprus, Japan, Singapore and Melbourne, Australia and visited many more international women’s programs. She has even ridden her bicycle from San Francisco to Portsmouth, N.H., to bring attention to women being abused.

Recipient Lenice C. Emanuel, a native of Alabama, has over two decades of leadership experience in nonprofit management, government, fund-development and community relations. She currently works as president and CEO of the YWCA of Tampa Bay, Inc.

Prior to moving to the Bay area, Emanuel channeled over $20 million in grants to initiate change in social issues regarding academic, economic, racial and gender equality.

Armed with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Auburn University and a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Ethics from Spring Hill College, Emanuel has held such key positions as CEO of the YWCA of Greater Mobile, Director of Grants and Community Development for the City of Pritchard, Ala., and Project and Division Director of Parental and Community Involvement for the Mobile Area Education Foundation.

Unfortunately, Emanuel was unable to attend the awards celebration due to illness.

In addition to the three Community Service Award recipients, three members from New Faith Free Methodist Church also received Service Awards: Elvie Smith-Evans, Ira Williams and Phylestine Aires. Alice W. Long also received an award for providing 52 years of community service to the churches she has served.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Erica Caldwell-Clinch, an administrator and educator for Miami-Dade Schools and an ordained Minister at Second Baptist Church, Richmond Heights.

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