The 38th annual YWCA Women’s Recognition Day luncheon will celebrate the achievements and contributions of local women in their careers and community service on Thursday, May 9.

The luncheon will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Pekin Country Club.

“It is a way for us to honor the accomplishments of both women and girls in the community,” said YWCA Pekin Director Tanya Simpson. “We do that in several ways. We do it through specific categories of outstanding performance for the women. Then, for girls, we reach out to all the surrounding schools. (The girls) don’t necessarily have to be academically outstanding. They can be outstanding in other ways like upholding the values of the school, performing (community) services acts or being star athletes.”

The event also provides employers a chance to socially recognize employees, said Simpson. The women honored at the luncheon traditionally receive awards for accomplishments including arts, business, professions, sports, outstanding employee and community service.

“For the girls, there is not a specific category,” said Simpson. “We just allow the schools to nominate the girls based on their definition of an outstanding student. Our board of directors has a subcommittee that handles all the awards presentations. They invite previous winners in the womens’ categories, where there is actually judging. There are nominations in these categories and then judging to elect a winner in each category. They invite previous winners back to form the judging panel. That’s kind of a neat feature.”

Currently, 12 public and private schools from throughout Tazewell County have chosen students who will receive awards at the luncheons, Simpson said. While the event’s primary purpose is to celebrate the accomplishments of Tazewell County women and girls, its secondary purpose is to raise funds through ticket sales and sponsorships. 

“The funds are used to support our programs,” Simpson said. “Our aquatics and fitness programs, our community outreach, the Coalition for Equality ... all of the service programs at the YWCA are supported by this fundraiser. We’re really grateful for the support of the community. A lot of local businesses donated sponsorships for the event, and we really are thankful for the sponsorship and the tickets sales.”

Tickets for the event are $30 apiece or $275 for a table of 10. The price includes lunch.

“I would encourage people in the community to attend because, to my knowledge, this is the only event of its kind in Tazewell County,” said Simpson. “We’re grateful to be able to put on an event like this for 38 years running. We hope to double that and continue the tradition.”

For more information about the Women’s Recognition Day luncheon and about YWCA Pekin’s programs and services, visit www.ywcapekin.org.