Three Mass. Nonprofit Workers Receive Light of Dawnn Awards

February 26, 2019 — Three direct-service workers at Massachusetts nonprofits were recognized today for their commitment to community service as this year's recipients of Light of Dawnn awards, which includes a $5,000 cash prize, named in honor of Dawnn Jaffier, a victim of gun violence.

The awards, sponsored by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, the state's nonprofit trade association, and Highland Street Foundation, based in Newton, were presented at a public ceremony at the West End House Boys and Girls Club in Allston, a nonprofit that helps young people succeed academically and adopt healthy lifestyles.

Receiving the awards were:
  • Ketsy Caraballo, a community health worker and case manager doula for near three years at Health Care Without Walls, based in Wellesley, which provides free medical care and education to and advocacy for homeless women and children in Boston area shelters.

    Caraballo is part of a five-member bilingual team that works on the Bridges to Moms program, which serves women experiencing homelessness to address their housing, personal safety, transportation, and food security needs at all stages of pregnancy. She uses a holistic approach to supporting mothers in her care and is skilled at helping mothers navigate complicated bureaucracies to secure public assistance and identifying signs of perinatal depression and other unsafe situations such as drug use, and intervening when necessary.

  • Alma Huerta Dominguez, a bilingual client services coordinator for the last two years at Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), based in Cambridge, which works to end sexual violence.

    Dominguez connects survivors of sexual assault and their families with BARCC's counseling, case management, and legal advocacy programs. Born in Mexico and raised in a small Florida town, she navigates the intersections of culture, language, and attitudes around sexual violence to serve her clients. “I want to make sure that all things are communicated, to understand that people are more than just their experiences, but also their nuances,” she says.

  • Randy Wiskow, an art director who has worked for 33 years at Cardinal Cushing Centers in Hanover, which supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Wiskow develops the art curricula and provides instruction for all 115 students with intellectual disabilities and autism at Cardinal Cushing Centers, which aims to develop students’ confidence and expanding their abilities to express themselves through art, noting, “In the studio, I create an environment that allows students to achieve their highest level of success through challenging, innovative art."
Named for Dawnn Ashley Jaffier, who was shot to death in August 2014 at age 26 on her way to a neighborhood celebration, the awards honor individuals working in the nonprofit sector who demonstrate her spirit and commitment to community service. Jaffier had begun a promising career in Boston’s nonprofit community, holding direct service positions at the West End House, Playworks, City Year, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston.