Last Saturday was a good, early spring day for young people to come together and enjoy an afternoon of music, food, raffles, prizes-and learn about colleges. And young people turned out in a big way. It was standing-room-only in the large auditorium at LaFollette Park.
Kendra G, a deejay with Power 92.3, served as MC, and music was performed by Jamal Evans/Tunnel Entertainment. The symposium, which began at 9:30 a.m. and ran till 2:15 p.m., included small and large group discussions, college information, lunch, raffles, prizes and the aforementioned entertainment.
Living up to their theme of “Living the Legacy Through Sisterhood and Service,” ladies of the Theta Chi Sigma Chapter were on hand. The Theta Chi Sigma Chapter was chartered on March 6, 1999 in Oak Park by 30 professional women. The parent organization, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., was founded on Nov. 12, 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis by seven visionary educators. Theta Chi Sigma is involved with economic, social and civic projects-the chapter’s hallmark service includes its current involvement with “Off the Street Club,” the oldest boys and girls club in Chicago, offers alternative activities for youth on Chicago’s West Side.
Shana Scott-Moody, chairperson for this year’s event, said, “The youth symposium is a national program of Sigma Gamma Rho, so we do this every year. This year’s theme is ‘Surviving the Elements,’ dealing with pressure faced in school and in the community. We had an awesome panel today of professionals who work with children in the community and in schools. We gave different scenarios that the kids deal with in school, and we had them break out into individual groups, and they came back together as a big group. They discussed it and everything went great.”
Scott-Moody said they usually go to a different location each year, “but we love it here at LaFollette Park, so we are going to be here from now on. Last year we were at the Bellwood YMCA and our Chapter Theta Chi Sigma is based in Oak Park, so this is closer for us.”
AWN talked with President Lynn Watkins-Asiyanbi who said, “I joined the sorority over 14 years ago while at University of Wisconsin-Madison. I’ve been a part of Theta Chi Sigma Chapter for the past eight years. I was one of the chartering members, and I just recently got voted in as president in June 2006. We do this symposium every year, and we try to get as many youth out in the community to come and be part of a day. We decide on one topic. It’s a national topic that we discuss-today it is “self pressure,” dealing with the pressure of community and school. We try to get kids from all over-from as far south as the south suburbs to the West Side, just so there is a diversity of kids hearing the message.”
Entertainment included a LaFollette Park District Dance program, performed by Aggression, Finesse, Phenomenal Females and Showstopper. Mimes from the Heart Mimes-Praise Dancers, wearing white face masque, brought the young people to their feet during their very moving mime performance.
This event was free and everyone attending appeared to be having a wonderful time. When lunch was served, all the young people lined up in an orderly manner and the sorority members canvassed everyone to make sure they had food and answered any questions or concerns.