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51sNt ational Convention Cov era g e Ser vice : A Passport to the Future Signature Youth Initiatives Take Flight JOURNAL Spring 2014 s29 Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. opened the doors of its 51st National Convention to 110 boys and girls for a three-day experience in Washington, D.C. July 11–13. Under the theme: “Advocacy in Action: Preparing Our Youth to Become Tomorrow’s Leaders,” the 2013 Presidential Youth Conference provided the foundation for motiva-tional speakers and workshop pre-senters to equip the participants with the tools necessary to develop into tomorrow’s leaders. Presiden-tial Academy participants attended workshops focusing on self-esteem, empowerment, service learning, and service advocacy. Students from various cities around the country marched boldly into a room filled with hundreds of women dressed in crimson and cream. The students, whose ages ranged be-tween 11 and 18 years of age, readied themselves to meet their mentors, supporters, and anonymous believ-ers in their future successes. One-by-one, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated’s Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy, the Dr. Jeanne L. Noble Delta GEMS (Grow-ing and Empowering Myself Success-fully) and the EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for De-veloping Independence) programs shared their name, sponsoring chap-ter, and career aspirations. The stu-dents brought greetings and told of their aspirations to one day become scientists, business owners, govern-ment officials or educators. Members of Delta Sigma Theta were able to wit-ness the rewards of another year fo-cused on educational development, one of the Sorority’s Five-Point Pro-grammatic Thrust. The New Orleans Alumnae Chap-ter sent 18-year-old EMBODI partici-pant, Samuel Hargro, who aspires to become a senior marketing advisor for a major television network or po-litical organization. “The program really opened up a lot of doors for me and made me realize what I want to do and not only do well for myself, but give back to my community,” said Hargro. “It’s all about helping people that are less fortunate than I am.” Hargro was one of 27 EMBODI students attending the Presidential Program. The National Program Plan-ning and Development Committee, led by co-chairs Dr. Thelma Day and Dr. Deborah Thomas, also welcomed 32 Delta Academy participants and 51 Delta GEMS. Taylor Keith, a Delta GEMS partic-ipant sponsored by the Albany (NY) Alumnae Chapter, discovered the road to pursue her passion thanks to her Delta GEMS mentors and the Presidential Program. “They help me assert myself and with what I really need to do. I can’t just wake up one day and say, ‘Oh, I want to be a social activist against bullying,’” said Keith. “The work-shops help with figuring out how I By Renetta DuBose and Pamela D. Pujo Presidential Academy participants receive iPad minis and certificates of recognition at the close of the three-day conference. PHOTO BY VALERIE PHILLIPS


JournalSpring2014
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