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Dorothy Awards Sponsors
Introducing the First Annual New Haven Dorothy Awards honoreesPublished Jan 1, 2004
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The New Haven Pride Center is proud to introduce the honorees for the First Annual Dorothy Awards. This year's group of recipients began the tradition of honoring people who made a difference in the community.
Ellen Gabrielle has lived and worked in New Haven all of her life. A banker by profession and she thought for life, but it seems God had other plans. She joined AIDS Project New Haven as a fundraising volunteer in 1993 after the loss of a loved one due to complications caused by AIDS. In 1994 she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the agency. In 1997 she was asked to act as interim director. The agency was experiencing difficulty and the board needed someone to make an assessment. After a few months, despite the challenges, she applied for the position of executive director. The Board appointed her in November of 1997.
Why take on the challenge? "By then I had met the clients that were being served by APNH and they became my heart; also I read the history of the agency and learned the extreme challenges they faced our founders in the early years. I knew I had to try to with everything that was in me because THEY did. AIDS Project is the oldest AIDS Service Organization in CT. Its services are critical to our community and to the diverse populations who receive our services.
"Seven years later the agency is strong financially. We have added five new programs and will add two more this March. These programs were based on client need and are accessed at 1302 Chapel Street, where the clients feel safe. We have never lost sight of our original mission, or our founders from the Gay community."
Ellen's resume reads like a who's who of the financial community in New Haven. She resides in Westville with her husband. We are thrilled to honor Ellen and her accomplishments with the first annual New Haven Dorothy Award.
Joseph Goodwin and George Coyle
Joseph Goodwin opened 168 York Street Cafe in December of 1993. At that time, George Coyle was bar manager at another (rival) establishment. George joined the York Street crew in 1994 as bar manager. Over the years, Joey and George have made it their mission to contribute (and gather contributions at the restaurant), to help the Gay and non-gay community. For almost 10 years during the Christmas holidays, 168 York Street has donated toys and money to the St. Frances home for displaced children.
Joey and George have also donated substantially to the Connecticut Gay Men's Chorus, the New Haven Gay & Lesbian Community Center, and many other New Haven area causes. These are only a few of the many organizations that they have helped through the years. In his spare time, Joey also sells real estate for Century 21 Access America in Branford, and is an avid boater and jet-ski enthusiast. George has been spending his spare time renovating his 4-family Brownstone in New Haven, and working on all of the other projects that he and Joey can get themselves into.
Neither of these men would share what they do for the community, one of the most endearing qualities of both men. We are proud to announce them as Dorothy Award recipients.
Stephanie's Living Room actually began in Stratford, Dec. 1984 in Stephanie's real living room. It was supposed to be a one-time desperate attempt to finally find other gay friends. Looking back, it became the first of many house parties over the next few years that spread by word of mouth. Everyone was welcome.
In Jan 1991 New Year's Eve, there were over 150 women stuffed in a small duplex dancing to DJ Peggy Russ spinning records atop my television cabinet. The floor boards cried with every stomp to the music, and all my living room and kitchen furniture were outside on the lawn. Although it felt like 100 degrees and you couldn't move without bumping chest to chest, it was a blast!
Trying to recover from my first lover breakup, and with a sense of daring, I approached the Ramada Inn to host the first 'outside' dance and paid for everything in advance before they could say NO! So, on March 4th 1991, the Living Room moved to the Stratford Ramada Inn. We later did dances in Armonk, NY, and Northampton, MA. Followed by bus trips to Gay Pride in NY and DC, Sunday brunches, potlucks, and comedy concerts. After 13 years, March 6th, 2004 will be Stephanie's Living Room's 100th event.
After 7 years on the Triangle Center Board, and 10 years on the Connecticut Education and Legal Fund Board, I learned what community activism meant, and how important it was to volunteer at any level. Most importantly, I realized how much my friends carried me through heartaches, joys and love, helping me start a computer consulting company, finding my own spot in the world, and giving me the reason to continue doing Stephanie's Living Room.