Students Attend Banquet to Support Local Women and Children

At left, Luke Lezhanskyy ’20, Sam Medrano ’19, Kati Young ’19, Joy Adedokun ’19, Shantel Sosa ’21, Rebeca Martinez ’20, Father Bill Wallace, and Adjunct Professor of Spanish Octavio Flores-Cuadra, gather at a fundraiser for Middletown’s ABC Women’s Center on April 4.

On April 4, students from Wesleyan for Women and Children (WesWAC) attended a fundraiser dinner banquet for ABC Women’s Center at St. Clement’s Castle in Portland, Conn. They were accompanied by University Roman Catholic Chaplain Father Bill Wallace, Adjunct Professor of Spanish Octavio Flores-Cuadra, and several members of the community.

ABC Women’s Center provides free and confidential pregnancy resources and services to women and families in the greater Middletown area. Since the nonprofit doesn’t receive federal funding, all services are supported by individual contributions, donations, and fundraisers.

The banquet’s theme was Strong As She. Proceeds will help ABC with its new initiatives such as group parenting classes.

“Attending the ABC Women’s Center banquet for the first time is one of my Wesleyan highlights,” said WesWAC member Sam Medrano ’19. “The passion, soul, and strength that I witnessed from the women who spoke at this life-affirming event is truly amazing. I’m proud to support a vital Middletown organization that women rely on for free pregnancy services.”

Joy Adedokun ’19 served as the event’s student speaker. She talked about how and why WesWAC volunteers are advocates for supporting pregnant women and new mothers in the community.

In addition, Adedokun—a four-year WesWAC member—received ABC’s inaugural student leadership award.

“Joy is incredibly deserving of this award as she has been the trailblazer of our group,” said Kati Young ’19. “She has a faithfully authentic way of encouraging others; she has integrity, dignity, class, and grace in spades.”

WesWAC is a student-run collective committed to advocating support and resources for pregnant women, infants, and children. Through community service and supporting resource and adoption centers, members show their dedication to a life-affirming outlook.

“One of WesWAC’s high-priority goals is to volunteer with ABC because we love and support their mission,” Adedokun said.

Later this month, WesWAC will hold its annual Mother’s Day fundraiser. All proceeds will go towards a baby shower for a new mother in Middletown.

Alexandra Wallace, Sam Medrano, Rebeca Martinez, Luke Lezhanskyy, Kristen Mellilo, Joy Adedokun, Kati Young, Prof. Octavio Flores-CuadraAlexandra Wallace, Sam Medrano, Rebeca Martinez, Luke Lezhanskyy, Kristen Mellilo, Joy Adedokun, Kati Young, Prof. Octavio Flores-Cuadra

Guest Alexandra Wallace, Sam Medrano ’19, Rebeca Martinez ’20, Shantel Sosa ’21, Luke Lezhanskyy ’20, ABC volunteer Kristen Mellilo, Joy Adedokun ’19, Kati Young ’19, and Octavio Flores-Cuadra, adjunct professor of Spanish, gather for dinner at the Strong As She fundraising banquet. “It was indeed reassuring to see so many people who are courageously taking a stand for life by supporting women who are ABC clients,” Flores-Cuadra said.

Joy Adedokun (center) was the recipient of ABC’s 2019 student leadership award. She is pictured with Molly Hurtado, executive director of ABC (left) and Emily Meade, ABC’s development director. “We are extremely grateful that this banquet brought together so many members of the community, some students from Wesleyan, and our ABC staff,” Hurtado said.

Molly Hurtado (3rd from left) is the Executive Director of ABC. Christina Bennett (2nd from right) was the banquet Keynote Speaker. Image 5

Kati Young, Shantel Sosa, Molly Hurtado, Joy Adedokun, Christina Bennett, and Rebeca Martinez mingle at the banquet. Bennett, a Middletown resident, served as the banquet’s keynote speaker. “ABC is truly a safe haven for many women,” Sosa said. “They strive to provide an open-dialogue, judgment-free space to listen to women’s needs and help them in any way they can.”

Rebeca Martinez, Joy Adedokun, Shantel Sosa, and ABC client services manager Mickeve Regis gather at the banquet. Sosa and Adedokun volunteer weekly at ABC.