Better together

I admit it – I am a hopeless film fanatic.  Good, bad, terrifying, tearjerker – I am a sucker for it all. And as I get older, I am more and more fascinated by the dynamics of getting a movie made, from concept to DVD release and how that relates to what we can accomplish in child welfare.  Steven Spielberg noted, “When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.”

Collaboration indeed.  And passion, leadership and talent.  When I learned more about Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and its rich legacy of public service and scholarship, I was intrigued. Founded in 1913 on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C. and consisting of a sisterhood of over 200,000 predominantly Black college-educated women representing 1,000 collegiate and alumnae chapters worldwide, many of the Sorority’s programs are centered on economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health, and political awareness and involvement.

Local chapters, like the Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter (WDCAC) and the Federal City Alumnae Chapter (FCAC), also engage in program activities to support specific needs within their communities. In 2010, the Sorority’s Eastern Region took on a “Regional Day of Service” initiative to address foster care and adoption. Recognizing the complexity and importance of issues surrounding foster care and adoption, WDCAC and FCAC then expanded the initiative for full integration into its chapter as a regular program with activities planned throughout the year. And like a movie production, the members design, plan and carry out many critical activities while involving the general public in awareness about children who are in foster care in their local community.

For example, in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, teams from WDCAC and FCAC took to the field in April for a friendly and fun Kickball for a Home tournament to raise money to support the permanent placement of foster care children into loving families. Through the chapters’ combined efforts, over $5,400 was raised to support our work through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.

Additionally, for the past several years, WDCAC has partnered with D.C. Child and Family Services Agency to provide hundreds of children and youth in the foster care system with gifts for the holidays. Their work has helped bring cheer to many children and youth who may not otherwise receive gifts or tokens of affection during the holiday season – a time often difficult for many children living without their families.

And now in its fifth year, FCAC and WDCAC will be hosting the Annual Foster Care and Adoption Expo on May 16, 2015 at the R.I.S.E Demonstration Center in Washington, DC. The Expo is expected to attract at least 100 community members, including current and prospective foster and adoption families, and will feature child welfare professionals who will share their knowledge and expertise.

In 2014, FCAC and WDCAC received their “Academy Award” – the Adoption Excellence Award from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau. This well-deserved national recognition is for “the extraordinary contributions made in providing adoption and other permanency outcomes for children in foster care.”

We are honored and proud to collaborate with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., its chapters and members. Forget about the lights and camera. These amazingly talented leaders are all about action.  And thousands of children are benefiting from their leadership.