Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Those Summerville “Ladies in Red” are at it again, doing what they do best…spotlighting, celebrating, educating, donating and lending a helping hand. This time they even took time out to give themselves a pat on the back. During a week highlighted by the presentation of an oversized check to Dorchester Children’s Center, members of the Summerville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (a.k.a. “The Ladies in Red”) observed the chapter’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The celebration saluted Summerville Alumnae’s charter members and focused on the chapter’s rich legacy of public service in the Dorchester County Community.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to provide assistance and support through established programs in local communities throughout the world. A sisterhood of more than 300,000 predominantly Black college-educated women, the Sorority currently has over 900 chapters located in the United States, England, Japan (Tokyo and Okinawa), Germany, the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Bahamas and the Republic of Korea. The Sorority was founded on January 13, 1913 by twenty-two collegiate women at Howard University. These students wanted to use their collective strength to promote academic excellence and to provide assistance to persons in need. The first public act performed by the Delta Founders involved their participation in the Women’s Suffrage March in Washington, D.C., during March of 1913. Delta Sigma Theta was incorporated in 1930.
Summerville Alumnae, the 784th chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was chartered on April 24, 1988. Twenty Dorchester County Deltas (Johnnie G. Mazyck, Ethel L.F. Harrison, Nancy Smith Doughty, Grace Wyatt Reese, Linda Pendergraft-Quash, Linda J. Patton, Valildra Dessasure Berry, Ruth S. Bowman, Zeddie D. Boyd, Flossie G. Grundy, Juanita J. Hill, Shirley L. Jacobs, Harmoniest Simmons Busby, Mary A. Stevens, Irma G. Street, Terri T. Terry, Doris Porcha Porter Warren, Vashti Killingbeck Washington, LaVerne Williams and Cheryl Young) were present to sign the charter and thereafter became indelibly linked to the chapter’s history as the Charter Members of the Summerville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. From these focused and determined visionaries, Summerville Alumnae has grown into a sisterhood of approximately 140 professional women from throughout the tri-county area. This “Sisterhood Called to Serve”, as their work will attest, has consistently worked to impact the local community in a positive manner. Individuals and organizations have been the recipients of the chapter’s generosity. Since 1988, Summerville Alumnae has awarded over $90,000 in scholarships to local high school students, conducted college and career workshops, presented political and social action forums, mentored young men and women from throughout Dorchester County, donated meals for the homeless and organized benefit fundraisers for other charitable organizations.
The chapter kicked off the Silver Anniversary Chartering Celebration on Saturday, April 20th when chapter members visited residents at four nursing homes in upper and lower Dorchester County. Each center was presented with centerpieces for the dining room tables, a CD of 50’s and 60’s music and movie DVDs from the same eras. On April 22nd, chapter retirees participated in the School America Project, reading to young students at Beech Hill, Windsor Hill, Harleyville, and Williams Memorial Elementary Schools. In honor of one of the chapter’s first service projects, School America bookmarks were presented on April 23rd to middle school students at Alston, Dubose, Gregg, Harleyville-Ridgeville, and St. George Middle schools. During the evening of April 24th, chapter members recognized their own. Eleven of the 18 surviving chartering sorors were honored with gifts, testimonials and an evening of festive fellowship at First Missionary Baptist Church. But the chapter’s real celebration was yet to come.
Very quietly during the month of March, chapter members participated in a fundraising event. The first ever “Summerville Alumnae Delta Benefit Walk” was designed to support a Dorchester County non-profit. On April 27, 2013, the Summerville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a sisterhood of college-educated women committed to public service, marked their first twenty-five years of service by presenting $5,000 to Mr. Bob Ingram, Fund Development Director for the Dorchester Children’s Center. As remarked by the chapter’s first President, Mrs. Johnnie Good Mazyck, “My, how we’ve grown!”