HomeBensalem TimesWelcoming the Stranger exec honored by YWCA

Welcoming the Stranger exec honored by YWCA

Patricia Lorenz is one of five women business leaders being honored at the Salute to Women Who Make a Difference Awards on Oct. 19

A deserving award: Patricia Lorenz is being honored during Thursday’s Salute to Women Who Make a Difference. Submitted Photo

Patricia Lorenz, executive director of Welcoming the Stranger, is one of five women business leaders being honored in 2023 by the Bucks County YWCA for their advocacy and civic engagement in Bucks County.

Welcoming the Stranger is a nonsectarian educational nonprofit that offers free classes in English as a Second Language, computer skills and United States citizenship exam preparation to adult immigrants and refugees in Bucks County and nearby areas, both in person and online.

Since its inception in 1999, more than 5,400 students have been touched by Welcoming the Stranger’s caring community of individuals, foundations, organizations and churches who provide the resources that aid smoother transitions to life in the U.S.

More than 581 WTS volunteers have been enriched by the insights they have gained from working with adult immigrants and refugees from around the globe, and the U.S. has gained 352 new citizens.

Lorenz was appointed to the position of executive director in 2022, and knows WTS from the inside out. In 2016, she was a WTS student. By 2017, she had become a volunteer and, in 2018, was hired as its first administrative assistant. In 2020, she assumed the role of acting executive director prior to being appointed executive director. Along the way, she took WTS citizen preparation classes and received U.S. citizenship in 2021.

A native of Colombia, Lorenz is a bilingual human resources professional with a BS in social work. She taught at the National University of Colombia and is an expert in management and workforce engagement and training. She brings a unique perspective to WTS as a successful example of what can be accomplished by a U.S. immigrant, and this perspective informs her interactions with students, volunteer teachers and the community at large.

“Patricia is a wonderful gift to Welcoming the Stranger. She has been through what most of our students are facing. She advanced her English with Welcoming the Stranger and became a U.S. citizen with the help of Welcoming the Stranger’s citizenship preparation classes. She brought with her a depth of experience in management and is gifted at engaging volunteers to carry out WTS’ mission. We are grateful to have her as executive director and are proud that she is being honored by the YWCA for her dedication to the service of immigrants and refugees,” said Lois Heist, a current WTS board member.

The Salute to Women Who Make a Difference is a hallmark event of the YWCA that proudly honors female leaders in Bucks County who are making exceptional contributions to their businesses, organizations and communities. Over its 31 years, the YWCA Salute to Women has honored hundreds of women while raising much-needed funds to support the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

YWCA Bucks County is hosting its 31st annual Salute to Women Who Make a Difference Awards on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m., at Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland. Visit ywcabucks.org/connect-with-us/news-events/salute-to-women-who-make-a-difference-ywca-bucks-county/ for more information and to view the other awardees. Email info@welcomingthestranger.org or call 215-702-3445 for more information on Welcoming the Stranger.

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