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Posted Monday, April 30th, 2018

The first “Seeds of Change Award,’’ which honors the memories of the late state Sen. Leanna Brown and her longtime friend and colleague, the late Freeholder Patricia Maynard, has been presented to Lila Bernstein of Mendham Township.

Morris County Awards

From left, Morris County Freeholder Deborah Smith, William Brown, son of the late Leanna Brown, Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, Seeds of Change Award recipient Lila Bernstein, and Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. Dogwood trees were planted in honor of the late public servants Pat Maynard and Leanna Brown at Frelinghuysen Arboretum during the 2018 Horticultural Memorial Program on Friday, April 27, 2018.

The Morris County Advisory Committee on Women selected Bernstein as the recipient and announced the selection at a special Arbor Day ceremony held Friday at the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in Morris Township, where the late Brown and Maynard were honored with trees planted for each.

“Lila Bernstein’s extensive record of community service in Morris County and beyond, and her passion and commitment to the health of her community and the welfare of its residents more than qualifies her for this prestigious award,’’ said Allison Delcalzo-Berens, secretary of the Advisory Committee on Women.

When former Leanna Brown passed away in late 2016, the Advisory Committee on Women contemplated her contributions and legacy.

Out of those discussions came the idea of promoting Leanna’s values of grassroots activism by honoring a woman in Morris County who reflects her values and determination.

When Pat Maynard died just several months later, the reason for the award was expanded to include Maynard, and other women “who have planted seeds, nurtured the seedlings and cultivated real change over time,’’ especially when it comes to women in Morris County.

Lila Bernstein’s record of accomplishment is extensive. She has been very active in many organizations, such as the Morris County Youth Services Advisory Committee, Mendham Township Library, Morris County Child Placement Review Board, N.J. Child Placement Advisory Council, Jewish Family Service’s Rachel Coalition, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Jewish Women’s Foundation of N.J., among others.

Morris County Awards

Lila Bernstein accepts her Seeds of Change award.

Her roles in those organizations have not been in name only. She has been a leader and organizer.

For example, with the Rachel Coalition, she helped develop a program that offers no-interest loans to underserved women.  On the NJ Child Placement Advisory Council, she has worked on reports to the state Legislature and the state Supreme Court.

“Morris County is proud to honor such a deserving woman, who has done so much work in so many areas of need for residents of this and neighboring counties,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “On behalf of the entire Board of Freeholders, we congratulate Lila Bernstein.’’