LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A total of seven women will be honored tonight by the YWCA of Greater Lafayette.
The Salute to Women award winners are selected for outstanding achievements in their volunteer or professional roles, community involvement and leadership qualities.
We end our series by introducing this year's Woman of Wisdom, Barbara Reif.
Born and raised by a single mother in Dixon, Ill., Reif would later find herself as an adult in the Greater Lafayette area carrying on her mother's legacy.
"I saw the struggles she went through, but she also met the challenges and one of the things she did was always tried to help other people, and I think that was instilled in my life," Reif said.
She believes it was instilled in her life so she could make a difference in others. It began in the 1970s when the Lafayette YWCA became a special focus for Reif's volunteer interest. She served on committees, as president of the board and eventually on staff.
"I just always found the 'Y' to be a wonderful place for women to come together to support each other, to show their leadership skills and to be involved in celebrating diversity in our community, because I think that is so important," Reif said.
Reif then took her volunteer experience to Peoria, Ill., where she worked closely with at-risk girls and the Girl Scouts.
When she started, only two troops existed. By the time she left, she was able to help recruit and encourage more than 1,000 girls through the Girl Scouts organization.
But in 2000, Reif made her way back to the Greater Lafayette area.
"I got involved in the 'Y' again. Actually, I became president again," Reif said. "A couple of times I've stepped up to help the 'Y' with some leadership in terms of being the interim executive director."
And because her hard work and dedication to the community throughout the years, the YWCA has chosen Reif to be the next Woman of Wisdom.
"I really feel very humbled to receive the 'Woman of Wisdom' award. I've always been a life-long learner but most of my learning hasn't come much from book learning but learning from other people," Reif said.
But she says as she enjoys her time being retired, she doesn't see herself retiring from volunteering or being involved in the community any time soon.
The "Salute to Women" award winners will be honored Tuesday night. We'll have more on the banquet on News 18 at 11.
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