Two area women chosen to receive S.E.L.F. community service awards

HAMILTON —Supports to Encourage Low-income Families will be recognizing two Butler County community leaders on April 8, as nominees of its Janet Clemmons Community Service Award. The award is given annually in honor of the late founder of SELF and is designated to community volunteers who go above and beyond.

Pastor Shaquila “Shaq” Mathews of Hamilton and Bethany Tompkins of Middletown have been nominated for this year’s award.

Pastor Shaq Mathews is known in Hamilton for founding Hamilton Young People Empowered, along with serving on the 17 Strong committee and the Hamilton City School Board, according to Rachel Sheets, Community Relations Coordinator of SELF. Her program focuses on giving local teens a place to socialize with each other as well as to learn important life skills and find employment. Hundreds of teens have found employment thanks to HYPE, which offers a youth mentoring program in the summer.

HYPE also hosts “Kick Back” for students in grades 7-12. Transportation is provided to Kick Back, where students receive homework help, snacks, play games, and learn about financial literacy and participate in community projects.

Bethany Tompkins serves others in Middletown through Kingswell as well as through her own initiative, Sew Purpose. Bethany teaches others to sew and not only learn a new life skill, but also how to share their stories and find their purpose in life. Most recently, Bethany has been mentoring young girls who have lost parents to addiction, according to Rachel Sheets, Community Relations Coordinator of SELF. In addition to Sew Purpose, Bethany is the co-chair for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving and helps feed nearly 500 people each year through that outreach.

She is also a volunteer for Kingswell, a Middletown organization, and assists with various outreach efforts and provides tailor work for the organization’s Ladies’ Night Out and Job Threads programs.

SELF will honor Pastor Shaq, Bethany and many others at its “Friday Night Fever,” on April 8 at Receptions Event Center in Fairfield. The 1970s-themed event will be an evening filled with dancing, live music, dinner buffet, awards, silent auction and raffle items. Tickets are available for purchase at until Friday.

Semi-formal attire and 1970s-wear are encouraged.

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