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Jan Powers wins inaugural Outstanding Contribution Award from Gettysburg Connection

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The Connection is pleased to announce the first awardee in our Outstanding Contributions Award Series. The award honors Adams County residents who have made a difference in the lives of people in our community.

The winner is Janet Powers of Gettysburg who Is honored for her work with the Mediation Services of Adams County (MSAC) and other organizations. MSAC provides training in mediation and negotiation skills, as well as conflict resolution services for individuals and groups in the Gettysburg area. The organization promotes peaceful coexistence in Adams County through the principles of mediation, recognition and acceptance of differences, and productive communication.

Powers was nominated for the award by Patti Robinson.

Powers was part of an Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice committee that formed MSAC in 1995, and was awarded that organization’s Peacemaker Award that year.

“Many people didn’t think mediation would take off in Adams County, but Powers had a vision for how the community could better work together and she stuck with it over the last 25 years, ” said Robinson. “To spread the word about mediation, Powers initiated meetings with people in the court system, PA State Police and county law enforcement groups, Gettysburg Police Department, Adams County district judges, and other groups. She created and presented trainings, wrote articles, attended hundreds of meetings, applied for grants, stayed up on technology, and improved MSAC in every way possible.”

Powers recently initiated MSAC’s involvement with the Trust Network, an International group aimed at trained community activity in socially charged situations. She also instituted restorative justice mediation in Adams County, among other important types of mediation.

“As a result of her work Adams County has viable means for alternate dispute resolution. Hundreds of people are trained in mediation and other forms of conflict resolution,” said Robinson.

Powers has also contributed to other agencies and groups in Adams County including the YWCA, Project Gettysburg-Leon, the Volunteer Administrators Network, the Adams County Human Relations Council, the United Way of Adams County, the Chamber of Gettysburg and Adams County, the Middle East Peace and Justice Group of South Central PA, and many others. She has also been a tutor-trainer at the Literacy Council. She also was the founder of the Adams County Heritage Festival along with the Interfaith Center for Peace and Justice.

Powers has also won the YWCA’s Callie Award.

“Powers is a tiny dynamo,” said Robinson. “She is an inspiration to women around the world. She has made peaceful living her passion, and is well known in our community as the go-to person on better communication. She is also well versed on all the various agencies in town and is ready to point out their missions and help people find their best connection within those agencies.”

“MSAC is indebted to her. A kinder, better communicating community is indebted to her,” said Robinson. “MSAC has prospered under her leadership, and as she steps down from the presiding officer position this year, she leaves the agency in good standing.”

Powers is Professor Emerita at Gettysburg College, where she taught for 49 years in the fields of South Asian literature and civilization, women, and Peace Studies. She has published articles in many periodicals, and poetry in many small journals, including Earth’s Daughters, The Memory Box, and The Little Red Tree Anthology.

Powers is the author of “Blossoms on the Olive Tree: Israeli and Palestinian Women Working for Peace.” She made many trips to the Middle East between 2002 and 2005, and her book provides stories and essays about Israeli and Palestinian women of the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths who are committed to a peaceful resolution of the troubles between the two countries primarily through grassroots efforts.

Watch Powers read one of her moving poems.

Powers is also an award-winning photographer, using her many travels as her subject.

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  • All of the above is true. And yet it leaves something out: Jan is the founder of the Adams County Heritage Festival. After thirty years, she still serves on the planning committee, taking primary responsibility for writing grants for the festival and engaging mainstage performers. Congratulations, Jan!

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