The executive director of the Hall-Dawson Court Appointed Special Advocate was awarded one of the highest honors of the Gainesville Kiwanis Club at the club's annual dinner on Tuesday evening.
Connie Stephens received the John Jacobs, Jr. Kiwanis Youth Service Award.
"(Stephens) truly made our community a better place through her service and altruism," said Eddie Hartness, chair of the award's committee, speaking to the crowd before handing Stephens the award.
Stephens began working with CASA in 1989, one of the first three volunteers for the organization, which was started as a pilot program in Hall and Rockdale counties.
"She was not satisfied with just being a volunteer, but seeing the great need, dedicated the next 25 years of her life to not only caring for those children, but to expanding CASA to meet the ever increasing demand," said Harkness.
Last year, CASA served 494 children, something he said wouldn't have been possible without Stephens' efforts.
"(She) became the founding executive director of Hall-Dawson CASA in 1993. Out of necessity she became an expert fundraiser and grant writer," said Hartess.
Stephens is also an active member of Lakewood Baptist Church, where she sings in the choir, United Way, Kiwanis Club and Family Promise.
CHS senior wins Thompson Award
Rebecca Braun, a senior at Chestatee High School, was selected as this year's John C. Thompson Award recipient. The John C. Thompson Award is presented to a local high school student who exemplifies outstanding leadership and commitment to Key Club through involvement in their school’s club and beyond. Braun is the President of the CHS Key Club and she is the Lt. Governor of Division 10 in the Georgia District for Key Club. In addition to Key Club activities, Braun serves as Co-President of Chestatee Student Council.