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Three women to be honored at Grande Dames Tea

One woman has connection to Lehigh

March 2, 2010
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Tickets are going fast for the Lee PACE Center for Girls' Grande Dames Tea honoring three more of our community's most revered women. One of the women has Lehigh Acres connections.

The Grande Dames Tea honoring Jeanne Bochette, Helen Hendry and Dr. Veronica Shoemaker will be held Tuesday, March 23, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre located at 1380 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.

Helen Hendry was the landscape designer of the original Lehigh Development Corp. along with the buildings around the Lehigh golf course.

Article Photos

Helen Hendry

"More than half of the theatre is filled," said Grande Dames Tea Chair Dena Geraghty, who also is a member of the Lee PACE Center Board of Directors. Invitations were sent to known supporters of PACE and active community leaders, however, anyone who would like to attend the tea is welcome.

Tickets for the tea are $50 per person and may be obtained by calling the theatre at (239) 278-4422. Table sponsorships are also available.

The theme of the Grande Dames Tea is The Wisdom of Age Honoring the Female Spirit. "This is the perfect opportunity for our community and the PACE girls to honor these women, and to learn of the challenges and success of their life experiences," Geraghty said.

The Grande Dames Tea was started by the Lee PACE Center for Girls last year to honor women who have played major roles in Lee County history through decades of service, philanthropy and helping others.

The first Grande Dames to be honored were philanthropists Berne Davis, Eleanore Kleist and Barbara B. Mann.

The agenda for the tea will include interaction between the PACE girls and the three Grande Dames, in a question and answer format, that Geraghty said "is sure to be thought-provoking and poignant."

PACE is a Florida-based, not for profit organization, and the only statewide prevention program for adolescent at-risk girls in the nation. Its mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy. Since the Lee County program opened its doors in 2007, more than 250 girls have been served, helping them to begin a new journey toward a life of dignity and success.

PACE accepts referrals from the juvenile justice system, the Department of Children & Families, school personnel, community services agencies, parents, family members, friends and self-referrals. PACE Center goals are to intervene and prevent school withdrawal, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and welfare dependency in a safe and nurturing environment.

For more information about this event, contact PACE Development Director Melissa Simontis at (239) 425-2366, ext. 25, or Dena Geraghty at (239) 851-1028, or log on at



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