Lebanon County Commission For Women
Established March 20, 2003 by Lebanon County Commissioners Ed Arnold, William Carpenter, and Rose Marie Swanger, the Lebanon County Commission for Women (LCCW) was created to inform and advise the Commissioners on issues of concern to women in Lebanon County. The Commissioners approved the roster of members for the Commission and their first official meeting was held on July 16, 2003.
Our by-laws were adopted on November 12, 2003, establishing (among other things) that we are to meet six times annually. The Nominating Committee is charged with soliciting applications for possible Commission membership, reviewing applications, conducting interviews, and recommending applicants for consideration.
Our first project was to assess community services available to women and children in the County, so that we would become familiar with those services and perhaps identify some service gaps which we might be able to address. Using the Lebanon County Human Services directory as a basis, interviews were conducted with organizational leaders to ascertain contact information and services available by each organization.
The second project established was to begin researching women who have impacted the history of Lebanon County. The first fruits of that project were published in the Lebanon Daily News in March 2005, commemorating National Women’s History Month. Since this inaugural series, articles highlighting women from Lebanon county who have made significant contributions towards our County or our Country have continued to be published in the Lebanon Daily News during Women’s History Month. Past articles can be found by visiting the Women’s History page.
In May 2004, the Commission established committees, based on some of the information we discovered during our community services assessment. After deciding that housing and transportation needs were beyond our scope at present, committees were established for: advocacy, child care, education, financial literacy, health care and youth. Over the year’s these committees have changed slightly to address the changing needs of our community. The following committees meet between regularly scheduled meetings of the Commission: projects, education, hot topics, finance, public relations/technology, nominating and hall of fame.
In 2010, the Commission created the Women’s Hall of Fame as a way to recognize women in Lebanon County who have made significant contributions in their field of work. Women have been inducted into the Hall of Fame in the following categories: Women Demonstrating Leadership, Women Creating Community, Women Promoting Agriculture, Women Working for Justice, Women Preserving the Environment, Women Promoting Healthy Lifestyles, Women Contributing to the Arts, Women Demonstrating Leadership in Education, Women Innovating in Science/Technology and Women Serving in the Military. Recipients are honored at the Annual Hall of Fame Luncheon held during Women’s History Month. To see a complete listing of Hall of Fame members, please visit the Hall of Fame page.
As time passed, the Commission for Women identified some growing projects and initiatives in the Lebanon Valley that aligned with our mission. In 2015, the Commission began supporting the local Girls on the Run and Heart and Soul programs. These programs continue to grow and adapt, building the social, emotional, and physical health of girls ages 8-15 in the community.
In 2017, the Commission worked collaboratively with students and professors at Lebanon Valley College to collect and analyze available data on the experiences of Women and Girls in the community. We used this information to help prioritize our projects and outreach activities, including beginning to gather information from Latin@ Community members by doing outreach and surveys in both English and Spanish through the annual Latin@ Health Fair. Commission members also began volunteering at community events, including bell-ringing for the Salvation Army and working at the Holiday Lights event.
In 2019, the Commission for Women launched their Mini Grant Program, establishing an application process and criteria for evaluating how different projects supported our mission of promoting the health and well-being of women and girls in Lebanon County. The Commission continues to grow and adapt outreach strategies, adopt new media, and promote the histories, stories, and experiences of women and girls in the Lebanon Valley. Today, you can follow the Commission on social media through various platforms.