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OWA Awards


OWA Charities of Choice

Each year, the annual OWA award honorees receive $1000 each to put toward a charity of their choosing. The Charities of Choice selected for 2021 are A New Way of Life Reentry Project, selected by Pleiades recipient Gai Gherardi, and the Dallas International Street Church, selected by Pyxis recipient Debbie Myres. If you would like to make an additional contribution to either of these charities please visit their respective donation pages.

Read below for more information about Gai's and Debbie's choices.

Pleiades Award

About the Pleiades Award
2021 Recipient — Gai Gherardi

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Each year, our Pleiades Award honors an individual who has shown exceptional support in advancing the leadership role of women in the optical industry. This award is named after the star cluster "The Pleiades", also known as the "Seven Sisters" - referring to the seven brightest stars in the cluster, located in the constellation of Taurus. According to Greek mythology, each star was named after the seven daughters of Atlas who were turned into stars by Zeus. Together these stars create one of the brightest clusters visible in the northern hemisphere, just as by working together, the women of the OWA have created an organization that is bigger and brighter than the sum of their individual efforts.

Gai Gherardi's Charity of Choice — A New Way of Live Reentry Project

"With deep gratitude to the Optical Women's Association, I feel it is important to honor a woman-directed enterprise that serves women, and so I am humbled to direct my Charity of Choice funds to A New Way of Life Reentry Project, founded by Susan Burton in 1998. A New Way of Life helps women and girls to break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system with safe housing, case management, pro bono legal services, advocacy, and leadership development. Focusing her mission on successful community reentry, family reunification and individual healing, Susan Burton's vision is a powerful example that I hope inspires each of us."

Pyxis Award

About the Pyxis Award
2021 Recipient — Debbie Myres

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PYXIS is a constellation in the southern sky known as "The Compass". The PYXIS Award is presented to a member of the OWA who actively participates in the organization and promotes the OWA throughout the optical industry, contributing to OWA's continuing growth. The recipient of the PYXIS Award is exceptional in her commitment to support and develop the OWA. She helps set direction of the organization by her actions and inspires by her leadership.

Debbie Myres' Charity of Choice — The Dallas International Street Church

"I've chosen The Dallas International Street Church, founded by Pastor Karen Dudley. The organization is dedicated to helping people come back to life physically, spiritually, and / or emotionally. Pastor Karen truly defines #domore. The organization routinely feeds 200 people three meals a day in South Dallas. They have grown from primarily providing shelter, to now building a commercial kitchen which will allow them to cook more efficiently. Any money will go a long way to helping people transition out of a shelter and into the real world."

Check out some of OWA's other awards and previous recipients: