Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was founded on January 13, 1913, by 22 collegiate women at Howard University to promote academic excellence and provide assistance to those in need.
As an organization of college-educated women, Delta Sigma Theta plays an active role in the educational movement, seeking to inspire, motivate, and support the aspirations and achievement of youth and young adults.
Educational Development Programs
The Delta Academy
Catching the Dreams of Tomorrow, Preparing Young Women for the 21st Century: The Delta Academy was created in 1996 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 on 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.
The EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) program is designed to refocus the efforts of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, with the support and action of other major organizations, on the plight of African-American males. Both informal and empirical data suggest that the vast majority of African-American males continue to be in crisis and are not reaching their 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 lifestyle choices, character, ethics, relationships, college readiness, fiscal management, civic engagement, and service learning.
Delta Gems: Growing and Empowering
A natural outgrowth and expansion for the continuation of the highly successful Dr. Betty Shabazz 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 framework 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 in 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 roadmap for college and career planning through activities that provide opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth. Delta GEMS, like Delta Academy, is implemented by chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Delta GEMS participants have the opportunity to define and “Discover their individual Brilliance.”
History of the Les Belles Perles Cotillion
The Les Belles Perles Cotillion was started under the leadership and direction of Mrs. Lois Lee Killings. Shortly after assuming the role of President in June of 1980, she brought to the membership the idea of sponsoring a cotillion for senior high school young ladies in the community. Mrs. Killings volunteered to serve as the Chairperson, which was in addition to her role as the Chapter President. For approximately a year-and-a-half, the entire Chapter worked on bringing our Cotillion to the community. Every member had a role on the committee and it was a chapter project that many favorably endorsed and painstakingly made certain that the Cotillion would be the event of the community.
Fast forward 36 years later and the Cotillion is our signature event. Since 1982, the Akron Alumnae Chapter has presented a total of 655 debutantes representing a total of 25 different high schools. Additionally, we have awarded more than $400,000 in awards to our debutantes, which they have used towards college and post-secondary education.
The members of our Chapter recognize the importance of the Cotillion in our community. We have begun an Alumnae Association for our past Debutantes. We are always seeking updates on any of our former debutantes. Please submit information to the Chapter @ Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Akron Alumnae Chapter, P.O. Box 1252, Akron, OH 44309 or visit akrondeltas.org and enter information in the contact section of our website.
Current Chairs: Carolyn Brown, Shayla Brown-Dandridge and Margaret Roberts