John S. Moran was an Executive Editor of the Lynn Daily Evening Item and a member of the LCHC Board of Directors at the time of his passing in 1990. The Board established this award for Community Service in his memory. The award recognizes an individual who has strong Lynn ties, is an advocate for a healthier Lynn community and for LCHC, and who has shown leadership and made a difference in our community.
This year, we honored social worker Virginia Leigh with the Moran Award. Virginia is a clinical social worker with experience in a wide variety of settings, including previous employment as a Social Worker at Lynn Community Health Center.
Prior to coming to Lynn, she founded, funded and directed an educational initiative inside Mexican juvenile detention centers and from 2008-2010 established herself as a champion and voice for unaccompanied children along the US Mexican Border. After completing her work in Mexico, she provided translation support and legal information at the Texas Civil Rights Project aiding undocumented victims of domestic violence. Her career has involved tackling issues including complex trauma, community violence, and immigration. She started a medical legal partnership while working in Brockton. Within months of beginning her work at the Lynn Community Health Center, Virginia co-founded and led a coalition of 30+ community organizations supporting Immigrant Families in Lynn (Lynn Rapid Response Network).
Virginia is now working in the Lynn Public Schools, bringing her clinical expertise to the LPS initiative to address social and emotional health for students.
In the words of LCHC Board Member, Laura Gallant:
“Beyond her bio, when I began to think about what I wanted to say about this year’s Moran Award recipient, I started to say that she is a social worker, which, of course, is true. But that is what she is, not who she is. One of the primary tenets of social work is to “meet clients where they’re at.” A good social worker does just that. They meet their clients where they are, without judgment, without forcing them to be something or someone they are not. But a great social worker meets clients where they are at and doesn’t accept that is how the world must be.
Virginia Leigh is one of these great social workers. Great social workers see the struggles of the people they serve as profound representations of the flaws and injustices of the societies where they live. They seek to help their clients change their lives, but they also seek to change the world where their clients live.
A tireless advocate for better access to health, housing, education and opportunity for Lynn residents, especially those facing multiple challenges including lack of income, immigration status, language barriers, mental health and substance use. Virginia epitomizes the spirit of the Moran Award.”