Barbara Willm honored by Girl Scouts with Women of Distinction Award

Barbara Willm 2013
The Girl Scouts of South Carolina – Mountains to Midlands has honored Lexington Medical Center’s Barbara Willm, Vice President of Community Relations, at the 20th Annual Women of Distinction Awards Dinner. Willm was recognized Thursday, April 11, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia for her excellence in leadership throughout the midlands.

“I am honored to be a part of such an esteemed group of women and it is even more special because I was a Girl Scout,” said Mrs. Willm.

First launched in 1993, the Women of Distinction dinner is a recognition and fundraising affair that celebrates outstanding women and their impact on the community. The event pays tribute to women who exemplify excellence in service, leadership, community, visibility and professionalism.

“I was proud to nominate Barbara for this outstanding award,” said Bootsie Wynne, Assistant Director Business Partner of Human Resources at Lexington Medical Center. “When I saw that the criteria asked for women who excelled in professional community leadership andcommunity service, who are excellent role models for girls and have community visibility, I knew she fit the bill perfectly. Not only was Barbara a Girl Scout when she was younger, she has also gone on to exemplify women in leadership. The goal of the Girl Scouts of SC Mountains to Midlands is to build girls with courage confidence and character. I think Barbara is a great example for all girls and women alike,” added Wynne.

Girl Scouts exists to transform today’s girls into tomorrow’s leaders. Girls face many critical issues including school bullying, childhood obesity, teen pregnancy, self-esteem issues, substance abuse, and performance pressure in school. Participation in the Girl Scouts is proven to make a life-long difference.

“I’ve worked with Barbara for eight years and she always manages to bring life to the mission of our organization,” said LaTanza Duncan, Chief Advancement Officer, Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands.

Barbara Willm is one of four exceptional community members to receive the 2013 honor:

• Cynthia B. Cooper: Vice President, Government Programs Compliance Office with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
• Sara B. Fisher: Chief Operating Officer with NBSC
• Elizabeth “Liz” McMillan: General Manager, Gamecock Sports Marketing, University of South Carolina
• Elise Partin: Mayor of Cayce, SC and Adjunct Faculty, School of Public Health, University of South Carolina
• Barbara Willm: Vice President of Community Relations with the Lexington Medical Center

Brown Box Full of Green. And Red. And Yellow…

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

I love Facebook.  I’m always amused to hear someone say “I don’t do the Facebook thing” because they have no idea what they’re missing!  Yes, it’s fun to reconnect with old college friends, play games (I was once addicted to the Mafia) and laugh at funny photos.  But what I really love about it is how much I’ve actually LEARNED from Facebook.  You may ask, “like what?”  Well, let me tell you.

I learned about Pinterest! Thank you FB people. I also learned about Zaycon Foods via Southern Savers’ posts.  Huge thank you there.  Just this past Friday I got my delivery and now have 20 pounds of beautiful boneless, skinless chicken breasts resting comfortably in my freezer.  Most recently, I learned about Brown Box Veggies from my blogger buddy April’s  Facebook  page.  I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to belong to one of these vegetable co-ops but haven’t come across one that I felt was really affordable for my family.  Some of them are just plain expensive and they send so much produce that I was really more afraid that we wouldn’t be able to make a dent into it before it started to spoil.  But, I’ve now found the answer…Brown Box Veggies.

Here’s how it works: you place your order and pay for it on their website.  They deliver on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.  The BBV people work with local farmers to spotlight their produce in their boxes. So, each time you order, you’ll get an assortment of what’s in season.  Then, you choose one of the many distribution points they have around town for pick up.  In my case, I picked up at the Ole Timey Meat Market on Rosewood Drive, which is so close to my house I can walk there.  Chances are you’ll find a pick up location close to your neighborhood, too. Now, here’s the best part of all: this beautiful bunch of goodness is only $22.00.  It can’t get more affordable or more convenient than that.  And if you’re like me, any opportunity to support local farmers and merchants is golden.

Brown Box Veggies

I placed my first order a couple weeks ago, and I was eagerly waiting to get my veggies on April 6th. My daughter and I went to the market to pick them up and when the lady opened the box to show us what was inside, we both squealed with delight.  (Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my drift!) Ours contained the following:  Carolina Sweets onions, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, spinach, parsley, apples, oranges, pears, asparagus and red potatoes.  I was absolutely thrilled.  I’ve been telling everyone I know about it ever since Saturday morning!  Brown Box Veggies also offers a salad box and an all-fruit box.  The BBV lady also showed me one of the salad boxes and it was equally beautiful…lettuces, tomatoes, avocadoes, just to name a few.

Spinach is one vegetable that I’ve always loved.  I cooked it last night by simply sautéing it with garlic and touched it off at the end with a little lemon juice.  It was perfect.  In fact, my husband has determined that this is how I should cook it from now on. I did some reading online about these Carolina Sweets.  I didn’t know anything about them until now, so I’m excited to experiment with them.  I am thinking something like an onion tart so I can showcase the onion itself.  Have you ever cooked this type of onion before?  Suggestions?

ElizabethIf you’re interested in fresh, healthy fruits and veggies from our home state, I suggest you check out Brown Box Veggies.  I am certain I could not have bought everything that came in my box for only $22.00 at the grocery store.  And, it can’t be any more easy and convenient.

Support local!

Elizabeth also writes “Gastronomy (by a Wanna-be Chef).” She loves all things food and wine and how they fit into our lives. 

Hands Down the Best Healthy Recipe I’ve Tried: Perfect for Your Pickiest Eater

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Picky eaterI’ve been eating healthier for two and a half years now. I best describe my “diet” as simple, clean eating: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins instead of pre-packaged, processed foods or fast food. I love eating this way, but I do occasionally miss some of those comfort foods we all know and love. That all changed when I tried a recipe for Cheesy Taco Bake from The Naked Kitchen. The best way to describe this recipe? A healthy “Hamburger Helper,” without the hamburger. Double this for freezing, ladies. Your kids and/or picky eaters will LOVE it!

Warning: There’s a little upfront work with this recipe as you must pre-make the enchilada sauce and taco seasoning. However, once you make both, you’ll have plenty to use for several batches. In a hurry? You can always use store-bought enchilada sauce and taco seasoning.

Cheesy Taco Bake
(Makes 8-10 servings)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 6 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp Taco Seasoning (see below)
  • 4 heaping tbsp Homemade Enchilada Sauce (see below)
  • 1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 7 ounces organic firm tofu (you can also substitute with quinoa or any other protein source)
  • 8 ounces whole grain pasta of choice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup croutons, finely crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 4-6 ounces shredded cheese

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 12 ounces no salt added tomato paste
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt to taste

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan heat olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot add the flour, reduce heat to low and stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Add in the enchilada sauce and broth. Stir well and then add the nutritional yeast and taco seasoning. Mix well, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan add 1 tbsp broth and heat over medium high heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent.
  5. While the onions are cooking, use a fork and mash the tofu into small crumbles. Add the crumbled tofu and black beans to the pan and stir well. Remove from heat.
  6. In a large bowl add the cooked pasta and rice, the onion, bean and tofu mixture and the cheesy enchilada sauce. Stir well and transfer mixture to a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top (if using) and then the croutons. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Silent, No More

By: Roshanda Pratt

Before we welcome April, I want to briefly recognize International Women’s Month, which was celebrated in March.  So here is a cyber high five to all the women out there making their world more fabulous!  I also wanted to talk about a cause which overwhelmingly effects, but is not limited to, women.  According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), every 2 minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. This means that the woman or man in front of you at the grocery store, in your office or next to you at church may have been a victim of sexual assault. The problem of sexual assault is an epidemic in our country, our state, and more specifically, our community. We have all read the headlines of a young child assaulted by a family member or friend.

According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), in 2011 more than 5-thousand victims of sexual assault in South Carolina received services from the 16 sexual assault centers across the state.  According to experts, 85% of victims know their perpetrator. And according to the SC DHEC, predators are not just the stereotypical males; female perpetrators are on the rise, victimizing both male and female children.

Credit: Michal Marcol

Credit: Michal Marcol

Sexual abuse is not just a cultural or socioeconomic problem.  It transcends all economic, geographic, race and class barriers.  Cases of abuse can be found in large and small families, in cities and in rural communities, and in homes, schools, churches and even businesses. Sexual abuse is not just something that is played out on NBC’s Law & Order. It is not just something you read about. It is happening to the people we love and we cannot afford to remain silent any longer.

There is a battle going on to protect children from sexual violence. Allies are working hard across our state to make sure the issue remains in the public eye.  One of those allies is The Family Resource Center of Kershaw and Lee Counties.  The mission of the Family Resource Center for Abuse Prevention and Counseling is two-fold:

The agency is committed to social change by raising awareness of the causes and consequences of abuse and violence in our community.  As a victim-centered organization, the Family Resource Center provides quality counseling and support services to child and adult survivors of emotional, physical and sexual trauma along with their family members.

I became a board member of The Family Resource Center last year and I have seen the importance of this agency in our community.  The Family Resource Center provides FREE services such as counseling and forensic interviews which are later used in cases to prosecute the offenders. The Center provides educational services to churches and schools on how to report and prevent abuse, rape crisis and teen prevention. Volunteers  rally for more statewide support, partner with community agencies, and leave their warm beds in the middle of the night to sit with victims at the hospital, all while dealing with an increasingly shrinking budget mostly comprised of grants.  Rosalyn Moses, the Executive Director for The Family Resource Center is a gem in the crown of protecting children.  Her passion, commitment and hard work cannot be compared. She is a champion for this cause and South Carolina is blessed to have her on its team.  Rosalyn does not just sit behind a desk. No, she is putting her feet to the ground, speaking with victims, law enforcement and anyone who has an ear about the importance of this issue.

Let’s face the reality here. This issue is not going away for a myriad of reasons which include, but are not limited to, our over-sexed society, the lack of respect for human life and the cycle of abuse that continues without people receiving the healing they so desperately need.

The Family Resource Center is important to victims as it serves as a place of refuge.  We need places like The FRC in our community. So, how can you get involved? I am so glad you asked.

  • Volunteer at a local child advocacy center.
  • Make a financial donation; either a 1 time donation, regularly, or via United Way.
  • Request for training and other education programs for your place of worship, school or agency.
  • Speak out! Tell your friends, family, and co-workers that violence against children is not tolerated. Become a champion for the cause.

I believe as a community of women it is our responsibility to be our sisters’ and yes, even our brothers’ (young boys are victims of abuse too) keepers.  We cannot remain silent. In this case silence is not golden; it is deadly. The louder the more of us speak, people will eventually have to listen.

April is Child Abuse & Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In a few weeks, I will share with parents what you need to know to prevent sexual abuse.