Congratulations to the six Beacon Award recipients of the 2020-21 cohort! This year’s cohort is particularly special to The Hub, as it includes two stars on our team–board member Clara Lehmann and Community Development Coordinator Jenny Totten.
The West Virginia Beacon Awards, presented by Generation WV and the One Foundation, recognize, support, and connect young leaders between the ages of 18-40 who are working tirelessly with their communities to create lasting impact. Beacon Awards Winners are leaning in to existing challenges, digging into possible solutions, and most importantly, turning their ideas into action. The award winners serve as beacons in their communities and across the state, reminding us that even one person’s dedicated positive actions can truly make a difference.
Learn more about the recipients here:
Clara Lehmann grew up surrounded by dedicated and genuine community leaders in Helvetia, WV. In her own volunteering and professional filmmaking efforts, she attempts to mirror their commitment.
Volunteering as president of the Helvetia Restoration and Development Organization, Clara and a handful of volunteers built a playground, restored the museum, preserved cemetery headstones, and hosted traditional events celebrating Swiss heritage.
In addition to volunteering, Clara co-founded the creative studio Coat of Arms and directed her first feature-length documentary, “Born in a Ballroom.” Fulfilling a promise Clara made to her late grandmother, the film reveals a legacy committed to ancestry, rich tradition, and community. Clara hopes her grandmother’s story will ignite audiences to treasure the past while designing a fairer future.
Jenny Totten grew up in Loudendale, WV, where she spent her time daydreaming and building things. After a very brief career as a real live rocket scientist and other interesting plot twists, she returned to her home state as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Today, Jenny works for both the WV Community Development Hub and the West Virginia Food & Farm Coalition while living in McDowell County with her four-legged buddy, Oliver.
Jenny is a problem solver, thinker, and explorer by nature and loves playing the role of cheerleader for her community and its youth. She sees a future where Appalachian young people can have an active role in shaping the next chapter of their communities, find meaningful work, and invest deeply in the region.
Additional recipients include:
- Liz Brunello
- Marissa Rexroad
- Takeiya Smith
- Danny Swan