Friday, August 30, 2013

Sisters Unite!


Today I’m interviewing Eloise Stevens, the President of the Okaloosa County Alumnae of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The Delta Sigma Thetas are known for their service to their community and here’s why!

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Eloise Stevens and I’m a retired Lt. Colonel from the United States Air Force. I am married to Cecil Stevens and have two adult children. I have been a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority for 37 years and I am a charter member of Nu Theta Chapter at Troy State University.

2. Explain each of the programs you do as part of the Five-Point Program Thrust.

Economic Development: We support predominately minority-based programs. We sponsor programs, seminars and workshops for minorities on procurement and entrepreneurship with special emphasis on personal financial planning and management of assets.

Educational Development: We conduct programs/projects designed to address the need for excellence in education. We give scholarships to high school seniors from Okaloosa and Walton County. In the Delta Academy/GEMS, we mentor young ladies and teach them about managing money, self-esteem, etiquette, STEM, voting, current events, community involvement and many other areas.

International Awareness and Involvement: Through international projects through Samaritan’s Purse and Clean Water Project for Africa, we have broadened our knowledge and understanding of other nations and increased interest in international affairs.

Physical and Mental Health: Our goal is education, prevention and wellness of each individual. Delta supports medical research, health fairs, and many more areas that support a healthy and vibrant lifestyle. We have participated in the Heart Walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Political Awareness and involvement: Our Founders participated in the Suffrage March for women to vote in 1913 which begin our political awareness and involvement. Our current focus is on accountability of our elected officials as well as our knowledge of policies and voting rights. We also participate in Delta Days at the state capitol in Tallahassee and the annual Martin Luther King Walk and do letter writing campaigns and call and meet with our elected officials as well as do voter registration drives and “Get out the Vote Campaigns.”

3. What are the goals of these programs? As stated previously, each program has a specific goal but, our overall goal is in our national theme: “Transforming Lives and Impacting Communities.”

4. About how many hours a month do you spend doing community service? Do you have an idea how many the sorority sisters do together in a month? I’m not sure, But, I do know during our sorority year September through June, we participate in numerous programs across each of our 5-Point Thrust.  Each member is a professional woman who is working in the community every day in some capacity.

5. Why is community service such an important aspect to membership in Delta Sigma Theta? Community service is the core of our identity.  It’s what makes life worthwhile to know that we can share our time, talent and resources.  Our theme this year “Okaloosa R.E.D.”(Re-investing Every Day) emphasizes service to someone, somewhere every day.

6. What do you personally get out of doing community service? It’s my “love offering” to Christ and the fulfillment of my commitment I made when I joined this glorious sisterhood. It’s setting the example, working for a better community and ultimately resulting in a better world.

7. What has been your most successful program and why?  Wow!  That’s a very hard question because we have so many signature programs and events.  But, since I have to choose one I would say our youth programs—Delta Academy and Delta GEMS. It’s simple—these programs provide hands on tutoring, mentoring, availability, example, sisterhood and sometimes a mother figure for young ladies from age 11-18 every month.

8. What advice would you give those who are interested in doing community service?  Be honest with yourself about your reason for giving back. Decide where you want to volunteer. Match your schedule to your desires. Don’t try to do everything. Finally “Just Do It!”

9. Is there anything else you would like to add? Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s 22 Founders were young collegiates who started a movement over 100 years ago, and we share that same compassion today.  So remember wherever you are in life, re-invest in your family, schools, jobs and communities every day.  Thank you for your interest in our illustrious sisterhood—Delta Sigma Theta.

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