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Volunteer Spotlight on Eunice LaFate to Celebrate Women's History Month

AARP Communications Volunteer Eunice LaFate has spent her career in art creating images that illustrate the struggles of women and empowering them to keep seeking for more. Her art is on display at her gallery in Wilmington. Paintings like “Women Balancing the World” (pictured) were meant to motivate and encourage women at all stages of life.

A Jamaican born self-taught artist, Eunice LaFate’s vibrant art in acrylic, oil, and watercolors portrays folk culture and embraces human diversity.   Through her many career endeavors, LaFate has experienced the profound transforming power of the Arts, starting with her “safe-haven basement gallery” for youth on the Wilmington’s Eastside in the ’90, to the Summer Stop the Violence program; Summer Arts in the Parks. In 2013, LaFate celebrated a 20-Year Folk Art Retrospective with a 3-month Exhibition at the Blue Ball Barn, and the production of a Documentary, “Arts as Prevention.” Her paintings are in the art collection of Delaware Folk Life of the Blue Ball Barn and in the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little, Rock AR.

Eunice LaFate is the recipient of numerous awards and citations, including her most recent in 2018, the Muriel E. Gilman Award, for her services to children. Shel also was awarded a Trailblazer Award from the Jamaica Diaspora, North East USA, recognizing her for pioneering a Folk q2q1Art gallery in Wilmington in 2015. In 2014, Eunice received the Delaware Governor’s Award for the Arts for her work advocating for the importance of Folk Art.

“I am a visionary and an issues-driven person. I am passionate about the issues that affect older Delawareans, said Ms. LaFate. “As a child growing up in Jamaica, being a volunteer was a natural part of my upbringing. I believe in the biblical principle that, "To whom much is given of him/her much is required. I have been blessed with many talents and a love to share them for the good of humankind.”

In 1992, as a Volunteer at the Walnut Street YMCA, in Wilmington DE, Eunice was asked to volunteer as a Team Captain to Raise Funds for their Annual Campaign. She was reluctant at first, because she was reluctant to beg. Once LaFate began fundraising, she was inspired to start painting after a long hiatus. She soon afterwards opened the LaFate Gallery at 2nd and Market Sts. In downtown Wilmington.

“My Volunteer work is inspired by giving back to the community to solve problems, she said. “It has helped me to recognize the importance of organizations like AARP, who contribute to the health and wellness of Delawareans age 50+ and their families.”

Eunice LaFate earned a BA degree from the University of the West Indies, Jamaica and a MS degree in Human Services Administration, graduating magna cum laude, from Springfield College.

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