FLINT, Michigan—Sybyl Award recipient Sally Shaheen-Joseph was celebrated earlier this month for her tireless advocacy for affirmative action and women's rights. She was recognized among seven co-nominees in a ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Factory One, taking her place as a prime example of community service, volunteerism, and generosity.
The Hurley Foundation has continued the award in homage to Sybyl Atwood, who was the program director for volunteer and information services at Resource Genesee and its predecessor organizations for more than 40 years. She was known for her tireless work to help others, her ability to cajole others into helping her, and for a relentlessly giving spirit.
Related article: Hurley Foundation to continue honoring the legacy of Sybyl Atwood
With her career spanning half a century, Shaheen-Joesph witnessed a time where society did little to foster the professional development of women. Despite those obstacles, she earned three associate degrees from Mott Community College before going on to earn her law degree to become an attorney. Soon after receiving her degree, she was widowed with five children to raise. It was a challenge that underpinned her resolve to ensure that women from all walks of life were given ample educational and professional support.
She has served as a board member of the YWCA of Genesee County, the Michigan Women's Commission (appointed by both Governors Granholm and Snyder), the Michigan Women Forward, and the Fair Winds Council of the Girl Scouts of America. However, her impact is far from over and she has no plans of stopping.
Today, you will find her wherever there is a need.
Since being elected to Mott Community College Board of Trustees in 2007 and winning her second term in 2014, Shaheen-Joseph has been a key part of developing innovative programs and setting policy to expand educational opportunities for all individuals. She is also an advisory board member of the Flint Area Salvation Army, Genesee Valley Rotary Club, and the Executive Board of the Arab-American Institute, as well as its National Policy Council and National Leadership Council.
Even in her 80s, Shaheen-Joseph has taken her volunteerism abroad by continuing to make an annual pilgrimage to Mexico with Dr. Bradley Habermehl, of the Burton Rotary Club, as part of the Rotary Preventable Blindness initiative, helping to provide people in rural Mexico with access to quality vision care.
Each year the Sybyl Awards are given to someone that shines in their field while also bringing light to their community whether that be through mentorship, service, or bringing people together. Shaheen-Joseph has and will continue to embody the award here in Flint and globally.