Delta Sigma Theta packs holiday season with community-focused events

Published 5:33 am Saturday, November 26, 2022

LAPLACE — The national Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. is known for a five-point programmatic thrust that prioritizes service through economic development, educational development, international awareness/involvement, political awareness/involvement, and physical and mental health.

This holiday season, the River Parishes Alumnae Chapter is coordinating a variety of events emphasizing youth outreach and health. The community is invited to engage in the following:

Winter Gala

A Winter Gala scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, December 3 at the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center in Luling will provide critical fundraising for initiatives in St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes.

Gala tickets purchased in advance at https://linktr.ee/rpacdst are $75 per individual or $600 per table. The price at the door is $85 per person. Formal attire is required.

Youth Initiatives Kick-off Krewe

Three days after the Gala, the River Parishes Alumnae Chapter will host a “Youth Initiatives Kick-off Krewe” for parents and guardians from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 6. A Zoom link will be provided to those who register by Sunday, December 4 at rpacdst.com/youthinitiatives

Parents will learn about the following opportunities for their teen and preteen children:

  • Delta Academy for middle school girls ages 11 to 14: This program augments scholarship in math, science and technology and opportunities in service learning to prepare young girls for leadership roles in the 21st Century.
  • Delta Gems for high school girls ages 14 to 18: Designed to catch the dreams of at-risk African American adolescents, Delta Gems instills the need to excel academically, provides tools that contribute to academic success, assists girls in goal-setting and planning for high school and beyond, and creates compassionate, caring, community-minded young women. Along the way, girls are offered a road map for career planning, self-reflection, service and individual growth.
  • EMBODI for high school boys ages 13 to 18: Short for Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence, EMBODI addresses topics including but not limited to STEM education, culture, leadership, ethics, healthy lifestyle, relationships, college readiness and money management.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Another local Delta Sigma Theta initiative will be the Youth Mental Health First Aid course, which teaches adult stakeholders who to help a young person experiencing a mental health crisis. The River Parishes Alumnae Chapter recently received a seed grant to offer this virtual course free of charge to individuals who teach or work with youth within the River Parishes.

According to chapter leaders, the course, date and time to be announced, will include a two-hour self-paced segment followed by four hours of instructor-led training.

Mental Health First Aid covers common signs and symptoms of mental health challenges in this age group, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and ADHD; common signs and symptoms of substance use challenges; how to interact with children and adolescents in crisis; how to connect the youth with help; and expanded content on trauma, substance use, self-care, and the impacts of social media and bullying. The course will also feature expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care.

Registration is available at https://bit.ly/RPAC_MentalHealthFirstAid

Book Drive

Through February 2023, the River Parishes Alumnae Chapter invites community members to contribute to a book drive benefitting West St. John Elementary School in Edgard. Books will be distributed to students and incorporated into classroom libraries to help youth excel. Books listed on the registry, accessible at https://www.amazon.com/…/custom/1P09CTS3FFHTT/guest-view, incorporate diversity and inclusion to help build positive self-esteem from an early age.

Health Screenings

The River Parishes Alumnae Chapter is working in partnership with New Wine Christian Fellowship, the JNC Foundation, Women’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center to bring breast and colorectal cancer screenings to adults in St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes.

Screenings will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. James High school (22187 Highway 20 in Vacherie) on Monday, December 12 and at New Wine Christian Fellowship (1929 W. Airline Highway in LaPlace) on Friday, December 16. Appointments are required and can be made by calling 985-239-5739.

Recent Events

November has been a busy month thus far for sorors who recently volunteered at the annual Protecting Our Precious Seniors Thanksgiving Meal Program with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Last week, the chapter’s Arts & Letters Committee hosted a Wakanda Forever Watch Party and Reclamation event, which supported Delta Sigma Theta member Dominique Thorne’s Marvel debut as Riri Williams.

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s River Parishes Alumnae Chapter was chartered in 2013 to fill a need within the community. For more information about upcoming events, visit rpacdst.com or contact Chapter President Dr. Benita Chatmon at rpacpresident2013@gmail.com.