The Hopewell Valley YMCA (HVYMCA) has announced that its annual benefit will be held on June 18, 2022 at Brick Farm Tavern in Hopewell. This year’s event will honor Joe Lawver with the 2022 Larry Rothwell Social Responsibility Award, named for Larry Rothwell of Pennington Quality Market, and Paulette DiNardo will be honored with the Community Leadership Award.
When Hopewell Valley leaders raised their concerns about growing food insecurity because of the Covid Pandemic, Joe Lawver stepped in to lead the effort to address the need. Building on prior experience volunteering at food pantries and in local government, Joe partnered with the HVYMCA, harnessing a generous response from the community to build a roster of outstanding volunteers, a network of supporting partners, and a strong organization that is now the Hopewell Valley Mobile Food Pantry. Today the pantry serves approximately 100 families each week.
Lawver has worked to build a stronger Hopewell Valley in many other ways since he and his family moved here in 1992. He began first by volunteering at the Pennington Public library with Eileen Heinzel and Joy Clarkson. Together, they ran a summer reading program for several years that regularly enrolled 75 kids. He served on the Library Board and continues as a circulation desk volunteer. At St. Matthew’s, he ran the semi-annual rummage sale, taught Sunday School, and was a member of the PLG. He chaired the Pennington Day board and also served on their grants committee. At Tollgate Grammar School, he coached 4th and 5th grade boys as part of the Let Me Run program. Most significantly, he served as a Pennington Borough Council Member, Council President, and Mayor.
Lawver is a graduate of Georgetown University. He started his career fundraising for schools and universities. After earning an MBA from Emory University, he worked in finance and marketing in telecommunications. For the past 20 years, he has been fortunate to be an at-home parent. Lawver is the proud father of Delia and Rowland, and husband to his wife Teri of 31 years. If the weather is nice, you can find him outside biking, hiking, or skiing. And if it is raining, he is likely downstairs in the woodshop.
For more than a decade, Paulette DiNardo has been serving the Hopewell Valley Regional School District, and for the past two years, she has worked tirelessly to support our community during the pandemic. DiNardo collaborated with the HVYMCA and the local health services for the District and community including arranging nurse coverage during emergency childcare provided by the HVYMCA and the Y’s before and after school childcare. She also helped arrange respite care for students with special needs.
DiNardo began her vocation of over 30 years in education in her hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1993. She completed her bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, a Master’s Degree in special education from Duquesne University, and post-graduate certifications from Rider University.
It was her personal experience with her two aunts, who had not been educated properly and were institutionalized for the majority of their lives, that motivated her to educate and advocate for people with special needs. She has taught children and adults ages 5-45 how to identify their skills and to contribute their talents to this world.
For the past thirteen years, DiNardo has worked for the Hopewell Valley Regional School District as a teacher, supervisor of special education, and for the past five years as Director of Pupil Services. She is responsible for coordinating and overseeing all special education, counseling, and nursing. She is the homeless liaison for the District, working closely with local agencies to support students and families in need. DiNardo is a resident of Hopewell Borough; she and her husband Russell raised their two children in this incredible community.
The YMCA also will be honoring the Healthy Living Award recipient, Tom Jackson Wrestling Scholarship winner, and the Youth Development Scholarship winner, all to be named at a later date.
The event will take place on June 18, 2022 from 6:30 – 10pm at the award-winning Brick Farm Tavern. Proceeds from the event support the HVYMCA’s annual campaign, which provides financial assistance to families for critical before and after school programming, summer camp and youth sports, and allows the HVYMCA to offer free Mental Health First Aid classes to the community, Special Olympics programming, and a free teen center for Hopewell Valley teens.
Tickets are available to the public at hvymca.org or by calling 609-73 7-3048.