National economic trends, such as unstable employment, the threat to Social Security as we know it, and the widening gap between wealth and poverty are the bases for the development of Financial Fortitude, the current Economic Development Program Initiative of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Financial Fortitude is a process that will help program participants to set and define goals, develop a plan to achieve them, and to put the plan into action. The process serves as a blueprint to address all aspects of personal finances. The Financial Fortitude initiative is comprised of ten components and provides a collaboration of information from the FDIC, the National Endowment for Financial Education and other well-known financial institutions. The initiative help members of the sorority spread financial education throughout their local communities.
Catching the Dreams of Tomorrow, Preparing Young Women For the 21st Century: The Delta Academy was created out of an urgent sense that bold action was needed to save our young females (ages 11-14) from the perils of academic failure, low self-esteem, and crippled futures. Delta Academy provides an opportunity for local chapters to enrich and enhance the education that our young teens receive in public schools across the nation. Specifically, we augment their scholarship in math, science, and technology, their opportunities to provide service in the form of leadership through service learning defined as the cultivation and maintenance of relationships. A primary goal of the program is to prepare young girls for full participation as leaders in the 21st Century. Delta Academy has taken many forms. In some chapters, the Academies are after-school or Saturday programs; others are weekly or biweekly throughout the school year; and still other programs occur monthly. At a minimum, chapters plan and implement varied activities based upon the needs of the early adolescents in their areas. The activities implemented most often include computer training, self-esteem and etiquette workshops, field trips for science experiences and for college exposure, and special outings to cultural events, fancy dinners, museums, plays, and concerts.
A natural outgrowth and expansion for the continuation of the highly successful Dr. Betty Shabaaz Delta Academy: Catching the Dreams of Tomorrow, Delta Gems was created to catch the dreams of African American at-risk, adolescent girls aged 14-18. Delta GEMS provides the frame work to actualize those dreams through the performance of specific tasks that develop a CAN DO attitude. The goals for Delta GEMS are:
- To instill the need to excel academically
- To provide tools that enable girls to sharpen and enhance their skills to achieve high levels of academic success;
- To assist girls in proper goal setting and planning for their futures high school and beyond; and
- To create compassionate, caring, and community minded young women by actively involving them in service learning and community service opportunities.
The Delta GEMS program offers a road map for college and career planning conducts activities that provide opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth. Delta GEMS, like Delta Academy, is implemented by chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
The EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) program is designed to refocus the efforts of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., with the support and action of other major organizations, on the plight of African-American males. Both informal and empirical data suggests that the vast majority of African-American males continues to be in crisis and is not reaching its fullest potential educationally, socially and emotionally. EMBODI is designed to address these issues through dialogue and recommendations for change and action. EMBODI addresses issues related to STEM education, culture, self-efficacy, leadership, physical and mental health, healthy lifestyles choices, character, ethics, relationships, college readiness, fiscal management, civic engagement and service learning.
International Awareness and Involvement
Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital:
Nothing is more precious than the gift of life. And, there is nothing more miraculous than the birthing of a child bringing new life into being. Prenatal care and safe birth deliveries are practices often taken for granted in America. Yet, adequate prenatal and maternity care is seldom experienced by women in our ancestral homeland of Africa.
Realizing this critical health issue, in 1955, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. began making plans and laying the groundwork to establish a maternity hospital in the east African country of Kenya. The plans for a facility came to fruition in the early 1960s when Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. made a major donation to help finance the construction of the Thika Maternity Hospital in Thika, Kenya, which is now named Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital. The first hospital to open after Kenya gained its independence, Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital continues to be operated by the missionary sisters of the Holy Rosary.
In 1985 members of the Sorority visited the hospital and saw first hand the increased population and infant mortality rate in and around Thika. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. responded by donating over $20,000 in 1985 which was used to establish two additional maternity wards and an administrative office. Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital has grown to 120 beds. It provides affordable prenatal and postnatal care, nutritional education, child immunization, and family planning. The hospital gives prenatal care, including lab work, blood tests, and examinations to more than 200 women daily. The facility also has a special care nursery for babies after delivery. The hospital also serves as an educational institution for nurses and midwives. Over 66 students are trained each year.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. urges all Sorors and friends of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to embrace our global community of Thika, Kenya with financial contributions to:
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
P O Box 418194
Boston MA 02241-8194
To receive a federal income tax deduction for donations to the Mary Help of the Sick Mission Hospital send to:
The Delta Research Educational Foundation
1703 New Hampshire Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Elementary School:
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in collaboration with Water in Education International opened the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Elementary School, The Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre Campus in Chérette, Haiti June 15, 2013. The Water and Education International Student Collaboration for Haiti Outreach Opportunities for Learning (WEI SCHOOL) Project was established to provide an adequate school facility to include clean water for school children in Haiti. It is the first of many initiatives to alleviate some of the challenges in obtaining a quality education in Haiti. The remote village of Chérette is located 96 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince.
Dedicated in 2002, the Delta House is a home for children who became orphans due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is located in what is now known as Vashti Village, in Mbabane, Swaziland along with two similar structures. Built to accommodate 12 children and a housemother, the home was made possible with funds contributed by Delta Sorors at the 45th and 46th National Conventions held in Chicago (2000) and Atlanta (2002). Situated in a picturesque valley, an expansive vegetable garden flourishes behind the Delta House where residents (most of whom are adolescents) grow some of their own food. The village is still a work in progress with an office complex, conference center, church and apartments envisioned for the future.
Physical and Mental Health
Healthy Lifestyle: The Total Woman: Mind, Body and Spirit:
As an organization of predominantly African American women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is uniquely positioned to impact not only the well-being of its membership, but also the well-being of families and communities at large. Journey to Wellness: Committing our Bodies to Physical and Mental Health is now the signature Physical and Mental Health “call to action”. The initiative addresses the challenges of living holistic and health lives. The three-pronged approach to Journey to Wellness includes:
1. A refocused Lose to Win! To include Physical Activity and Healthy Eating
2. Physical Health: Chronic Diseases and
3. Mental Health
Political Awareness and Involvement
Delta Days at the Nation’s Capital:
In 1989, the National Social Action Commission instituted Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital, an annual legislative conference to increase members’ involvement in the national public policy-making process. The annual conference includes legislative briefings, issue forums, and advocacy skills development. Featured speakers include key policy makers, members of the United States Congress, Congressional staff members, and national issues experts. The activities of Delta Days in the Nation’s Capital are briefings on legislative issues which impact the African-American community; skill development sessions such as “How to Lobby Effectively,” “Understanding the Role of Congressional Staffers,” How to Monitor and Track Legislation;” and legislative visits to members of Congress. The participants, who come from all geographical areas of the country, also have opportunities to observe the legislators in session, participate in Senate Press Tours and White House briefings. Members of Delta and others with expertise on various issues conduct the skills development and discussion sessions. In addition, the members also participates in the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Town Hall Meetings, and conducts Delta Days at the State Capitol, Delta Days at City Hall, and Delta Days at the School Board.
Delta Day at the United Nations:
After completing an extensive application and review process which began in the late 1990’s during the tenure of Past National President Marcia L. Fudge, in March 2003, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. became a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) at the United Nations. In a presentation by Hanifa Mezoui, Chief NGO Section, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN (ECOSOC), Past National President Gwendolyn Boyd (who served as National President during this time) accepted the credentials on behalf of the sorority, before 150 members of the organization from across the country. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was welcomed to the United Nations by Assistant Secretary General for External Affairs, Gillian Sorensen, who asked the sorority in her keynote address to, “use your NGO status to monitor the status of women and children in the world and bind together with other NGOs to insure that the UN honors its commitments.” Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was granted Special Consultative Status as an NGO to the Economic and Social Council of the UN as a result of its volunteer services and humanitarian efforts performed to address issues throughout the world.
Special Consultative Status as an NGO allows the organization to provide analysis and expertise in monitoring and implementing international agreements on issues of mutual concern. As an NGO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has the opportunity to gain access to and disseminate information concerning a range of issues on women and children in which the United Nations is involved. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. representatives attend regular briefings and disseminate information on UN activities to its members and the community at large.
Delta Day at the United Nations is held annually.
In March of 1913, nearly six weeks after its founding, several Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Founders marched in the historic Suffragist March under the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Banner, the Sorority’s first public act. Today, low voter turnout statistics highlight the need to continue to identify ways to include opportunities for all citizens to exercise their voting power. Each of Delta’s programmatic initiatives has an advocacy component that is implemented under the auspices of social action when it is appropriate or necessary to do so.
Under the auspices of the National Social Action Commission, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. continues to institute activities that foster:
1. Sponsoring Voter Registration and voter education programs
2. Combating Voter Suppression
3. The full restoration of voting rights for individuals who have paid their debt to society
4. Affordable Health Care and access to quality health care
5. Financial Literacy and Economic Empowerment
6. Support for HBCU’s
7. Political Awareness and Involvement
8. Gender Equality
9. Racial Profiling