Dr. Betty Shabazz Delta Academy
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 Delta 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, and their sisterhood. A primary
goal of the program is to prepare young girls for full participation as leaders in the 21st Century.
While Delta Academy is a national initiative, it is planned and executed on a local level. Frankfort Alumnae Chapter stepped up to the call over ten years ago to assist girls age 11-14, one of the most pivotal and impressionable times in their lives. In our chapter, the Delta Academy is a Saturday program, initially meeting one Saturday per month, the Academy now averages three meetings per month. The chapter has planned and implemented various activities based upon the needs of our early adolescent girls. The activities focus on self-esteem, etiquette, educational enrichment, math, science, technology, and financial awareness. The girls also participate in field trips for college exposure, cultural outings, community service, and fun group activities.
Most recently, the Delta Academy participated in the Dr. Martin Luther King Day events, where they heard inspiring speakers discuss why education, particularly, math, science, and technology are important. They also participated in a poster art contest where several of the girls won prizes for their expression of art. The Frankfort Alumnae Delta Academy girls are an energized group of girls who have expressed interest in pursuing non-traditional goals. We, the members of Frankfort Alumnae Chapter, work diligently to help these young ladies to gain a stronger foundation to enjoy life and achieve their goals.
Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully
Delta GEMS was 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 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 framework is composed of five major components (Scholarship, Sisterhood, Show Me the Money, Service, and Infinitely Complete), forming a road map for college and career planning. Topics within the five major components are designed to provide interactive lessons and activities that provide opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth.
The Frankfort Alumnae Chapter recognized this need and answered this call over 4 years ago. The response from the girls was confirmation that this type of program was needed. The Delta Academy girls continued coming out to participate in the next round life preparation. The Delta GEMS girls are stepping up to challenge and beginning to prepare for college early. They have goals and are seeking to understand how to create the life that they ultimately want when they want it. Sometimes quiet, sometimes focused, and sometimes just their own age, the Delta GEMS ladies show up on average three times per month ready for an activity to challenge, enlighten, or just have fun.
This local program focuses on college preparation, career exploration and self-esteem for young ladies in high school, ages 14-18. We host a college preparation and scholarship workshop, which focuses on ACT/SAT college boards and financial assistance. We also focus on preparing students for participation in programs to enhance the student's academic acumen such as Governor's Scholars, YMCA of Central Kentucky Black Achievers and KSU Entrepreneurship and Transportation Institute summer programs. The GEMS program addresses how to build positive relationships with others, as well as, healthy living. In addition, the young ladies research various careers and identify necessary steps to pursue their career field of interest. Service learning and leadership are important elements, therefore, the young ladies identify and engage in or implement a service activity.
Most recently, the Delta GEMS girls volunteered during the Franklin County Homemaker’s Children Store where they wrapped gifts and helped younger kids shop the store for Christmas presents. This was a community-wide event sponsored by Franklin County Homemakers. In addition to their career, educational, and life skills seminars, these young ladies planned and implemented a community service activity where they made gifts for the elderly and went out to visit and share with the elderly at a local nursing home. They enjoyed this form of giving so much that they decided to adopt grandparents. The Delta GEMS girls have also spent the past several years at various local nursing homes playing BINGO and singing carols with the residents. Other examples of GEMS service projects are participation with The Stewart Home, a residential program for mentally challenged individuals and "Adopt-A-Family" programs through the Cabinet for Families and Children.
The Delta GEMS program is a rigorous program that requires much planning, preparation, and energy. Frankfort Alumnae Chapter is fortunate to have the exceptional undergraduate Sorors of Alpha Pi to play such a pivotal role in the planning and implementation of this program that benefits this inquisitive and interesting group of girls. Both Frankfort Alumnae Chapter and Alpha Pi Chapter are working diligently to make self-empowerment a reality for these Delta GEM girls.