Use Sports to Change Your Life

Many students of color perceive the pursuit of sports as a means of attaining success in life.  Because of the short lifespan of professional sports careers and the extremely competitive environment, the CJA Education committee conceived of this workshop to provide a view of career opportunities off the field but still related to sports and the business of sports.

On December 16, 2017 60  HS student athletes (both boys and girls) from schools in the central NJ area gathered at New Brunswick High School.

The goals of the session were to

  • Motivate students to aim high, excel and use their interest in sports to change their lives.
  • Inform students about alternative career paths in the sports industry beyond the playing field.
  • Inform students about what they need to do to prepare for college

This was the second offering of the Use Sports Workshop which was held at Sharon Baptist Church last December. The new format kept the panel discussion and added a wonderfully engaging set of breakout sessions that provided more opportunity for the students to speak individually with the panelists.

The day began with refreshments and an introduction to the workshop.  The students were given the group rules and expectations for the day.

The panelists had 5 minutes to set the stage, introduce themselves and their career and share words to motivate and inspire the students.

  • Bill Daughtry - Retired ESPN Sports Broadcasters/WBGO DJ
  • Allan Boomer - Sports Manager
  • Jim Hunt - Financial Investment Advisor
  • Rebekah Solomon - Physical Education/Administrator, Franklin Township
  • Shaaliyah Lyons - Seton Hall University, Director of Basketball Operations
  • Nathaniel Harris - Academic Coach - “Play It Smart” New Brunswick High School
  • Taylor Culp - Student Athlete - Psychology Major, Montclair State University

Soror Brenda Edwards-Miller followed up the panel with engaging questions for the students about what they had heard. After the Panel Share, students were divided into small groups in order to conduct “Career Talks” with the panelists. During the “Career Talks”, panelist facilitated a more i- depth discussion about their careers; shared career related handouts; and engaged students in a dialogue about next steps in life. Rotations were conducted, in effort for students to interact with each panelist. Overall, students learned about different careers, NCAA rules and eligibility, and what it means to be a student athlete. The program conclude with the students completing a “Reflection Form” of the day over lunch.

A delicious lunch was enjoyed by the attendees and the participants were encouraged to share their reflections with evaluations.

The students reactions were illuminating as many began to understand how to use lessons learned on the field and apply them for success in life, how to use their competitive spirit to excel in the classroom , and how to balance school work,  sports and other responsibilities and most importantly, how to be coachable, believe in themselves and stay confident -  they shared

  • ❖ I liked the presenters, and how they talked about their lives.
  • ❖ I think the workshop was excellent and very motivational.
  • ❖ I enjoyed the day. It was fun and interesting
  • ❖ Develop skills that take you beyond sports
  • ❖ I learned through the discussions to have discipline and focus, determination and perseverance, good grades, be coachable, to get the priorities done first before fun

The students were also asked which new topics were of interest and they shared areas that would bring them back to another workshop.

  • “Out of state” student: How to Adjust to Life Away From Home
  • Being a First Generation College Student
  • Being a Minority in a Predominantly White Institution
  • Life at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • How To Get Recruited?
  • Sports Management Careers.
  • Finding Out What You Want To Do In Life, Career Exploration.
  • How to Communicate With Others.
  • Social Media Safety.
  • Extracurricular Activities

The committee was fortunate to have Delta husbands and visiting Sorors to help with the event and we than Nathaniel Harris for his excellent planning and collaboration in helping to present the program. Sorors Brenda Edwards-Miller, Michelle Fielder and Myra Mitchell facilitated the workshop. Visiting Sorors were Brett Savage-Simon and Stacia Neals.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness

On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the Physical and Mental Health Committee held blood pressure screenings and an education presentation of breast cancer in the African American community at St. Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. There were 27 women in  attendance.

Sister's Network of Central New Jersey Vice-President, Martisha Dwyer,  was present and spoke for a short period about Sister's Network resources, as well as introduced survivors' testimonials.  The event presentation featured Dr. Janette McDermott, a breast surgeon.  Dr. McDermott maintains her practice at the Center for Breast Health and Disease Management in Metuchen, NJ.

Dr. McDermott discussed the various types of breast cancer and treatment.  Of the most aggressive types of cancer discussed was the triple negative breast cancer that is more prevalent in the African and African diaspora communities.  She highlighted the need for early detection and encouraged the audience to advocate for themselves with doctors, so they have all of the facts and can make informed decisions.  Dr. McDermott also cautioned those seeking to use naturopathic methods (obtained from the internet). She recommends having a serious discussion with their physician because there are variations of breast cancer and what worked for one survivor may not work for the next breast cancer patient.  She provided information on lifestyle issues that contribute to the risk of getting breast cancer and encouraged the audience to not be sedentary and to eat a more vegetable based diet.

We invite the public to check our event calendar for future events sponsored by the Physical and Mental Health committee.

Code RED 2017

The first CodeRED event for Central Jersey Alumnae was held on December 9, 2017 at Washington Community School in Plainfield, NJ. The event was quite a success!

The CodeRED Day of Service was spearheaded by the Eastern Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and is part of a global initiative to introduce tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes and leaving them feeling empowered and motivated. Taking place on the international "Day of Code", CodeRED  aims to expose more children of color, especially girls, to the world of code and technology.

The Central Jersey Alumnae CodeRED session was held during the chapter's annual Christmas party and was designed around the "Hour of Code" program created by code.org. The Technology committee set up a CodeRED station with laptops, wireless keyboards and mice, large monitors, and wireless speakers. Videos about coding played on the monitors to attract the children to the stations. Members of the Technology committee engaged the children to talk about coding and to introduce them to the games we set up for them to teach them how to code.

The games quickly captured the curiosity of the students and in a short time they were writing code. We setup two tutorial games created by code.org - one centered on Star Wars and the other on MineCraft. Later students ventured to other tutorials such as one based on Wonder Woman. The tutorials taught them step-by-step how to code with videos and easy to follow instructions, each phase of the game adding more concepts. Soon they were coding programs to make Star Wars' BB8 pick up scrap metal, to break down a wall in MineCraft or to make Wonder Woman jump over her enemies! All with wonderful sound effects!

About a dozen students and eight adults participated in the activities. Each of the students received an Hour of Code certificate upon completion of their exercise. Based on the responses from the students, the event was a lot of fun and educational.

 

 

 

Economic Development dFree Workshop

Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter’s Economic Development Committee served the community this year with another series of financial fortitude dfree workshops held at Washington Community School in Plainfield, NJ.   Led by Sorors Michelle Dutton, Shakira Williams Lindzey and Cathy Daniels Brimmer, participants learned a host of fiscally important life lessons.  Do you know the difference between retail spending and confused spending?  Do you know how your income versus expenditures compare each month?  Our dfree attendees now do!  Understanding and admitting the enslavement of debt, deficit and delinquency is key to the road to financial freedom.  Commitments were made by all participants to using cash as much as possible, paying their credit card bills before month-end and living within their means.

 

College Preparatory Workshop

On January 28, 2017, Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter’s Education Committee provided their second of two workshops, tailor-designed for college-bound youth and their parents.  Following their extremely successful first workshop that focused on leveraging sports to achieve college acceptance, this event brought back-to-basics information about college preparatory processes.

Guest speakers were Soror Dr. Angela Moody Robinson and Dr. Terri S. Davis. The importance of developing good study skills before college was stressed, and interactive exercises helped students understand if their method of learning leaned more towards global (creative, reflective or intuitive) versus analytical (logical or structured).  Understanding their learning process would become important when tackling their college studies.  Rounding out the workshop were equally important discussions on the college admissions and financial aid processes.

 

“Believe in Dreams” Christmas Party 2016

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated’s Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter (CJA) opened their hearts and doors to “Believe in Dreams!” For the past 15 years, CJA has supported the Laurie Haven and New Brunswick Group homes with a Christmas Extravaganza. From the generosity of its members, CJA has collectively raised and invested $75,000 to help the Christmas wishes of the displaced children at these two facilities come true.

“Believe in Dreams!” was held at the Washington Community School in Plainfield NJ. Lead by Christmas Party Chairperson Donna Houston, a committee of over 30 CJA members transformed every inch of the school’s cafetorium into a wonderland that could rival Santa’s North Pole residence. North, south, east and west corners were filled with decorations, fancy face painters, a feast fit for royalty, red velvet cupcakes, candy canes, presents galore and several St. Nicks, handsomely coiffed and dressed in their finest Christmas couture.

Entertainment for the afternoon was a showcase of dance, poetic prose and social awareness, written, choreographed and produced as a community service project by members of the Delta GEMS Institute, a youth group also serviced by the Sorority. After the show, each child met Mr. and Mrs. Claus to receive their bundles of gifts. And to inspire their young minds, each child was also given the book Hidden Figures, a donation by the chapter’s Arts and Letters committee.

An Artist Forum for Youth

The Artists Forum, organized by the Arts & Letters Committee, was held on April 16, 2016 at the Villagers Theater at 4:00pm and was designed specifically for youth. It featured artists from various mediums who were engaged in an interactive dialogue about their professional journey in the arts. A special highlight for both the chapter and the youth was the participation of our Honorary Member Suzzanne Douglas.

Breaking Free From Modern Day Slavery: A Human Trafficking Forum

On April 29, 2016, the "Breaking Free from Modern Human Slavery: A Human Trafficking Forum" was hosted by the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated in partnership with the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens. The forum was designed to educate and empower the community and to create support for laws protecting youth and women. It analyzed the problem of human trafficking from the perspectives of law enforcement, legal advocacy, identification and creating awareness of human trafficking, human outreach and service provisioning. Through presentations by Sergeant Rajesh Chopra, Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office of Special Victims Unit - Human Traffiking; Dr. Joelle Pierre, Department of Pediatric Surgery, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and Dr. Ellyn Jo Waller, educator and human trafficking activist, human trafficking was shown to be a major public health issue for our community, especially for youth and women.

CJA Presented A Poetry Cypher an Evening of Spoken Word

The Arts and Letters Committee presented “A Crimson Carpet Experience: Poetry Cypher, an Evening of Spoken Word “on February 20, 2016 at the World of Beer in New Brunswick, NJ. Dr. Brandi P. Jones served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the event which featured youth poets Xavion McClary Fagan and Nicole Jenkins as well as poets Baseemah “Pintress” Washington, Tiana Marie Ford, Kimani “Hebrue” Hamilton, Breya “Blkbrry Molassez” Knight, Lynette Johnson, Alyea Pierce and Chris “Flowmentalz” Cook.

The first  act of the Poetry Cypher began with recitations by Youth Poets – Xavion McClary Fagan, a member the National Junior Honor Society,  the New Jersey Orators and the Newark Debate Team and Nicole Jenkins, a National Honor Society Senior at Piscataway High School, who was one 1 of 12 state finalists in the 2015 New Jersey Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest and was also honored as a 2016 finalist on February 20, 2016.  Following wonderful oratory by youth poets, Baseemah “Pintress” Washington, writer, poet and spoken word artist graced the stage and performed pieces that she debuted at the Nuyorican Café. Tiana Marie Ford, College Network Program Coordinator for the  New Brunswick Education Network performed thought provoking content that displays the love of God to all generations.  The first act concluded with Reggae/Dancehall Artist Kimani ‘Hebrue” Hamilton.

The second act opened with Breya “Blackbrry Molassez” Knight, the poetic diabetic, who conquers ailments of diabetes daily through expressions of endless art. With her down-home Negro spiritual voice she is a mixture of gospel and hip hop sprinkled in a between words of poetry.  Author/Poet Lynette Johnson who has traveled across the country performing original spoken word pieces shared works from her book Purple, where the poems are themed based on lines from the Color Purple and Purple Rain.  Author, poet, playwright Alyea Pierce is the 2016 playwright-in-residence and actress for the Strength Out of Shadows Theatre company performed pieces from her work “ Every Stranger Deserves a Poem.” The Evening of Spoken word concluded with Chris “Flowmentalz” Cook, dubbed as a “Master of Personification” by using his poetry to turn everyday life situations into intellectual journeys.  Flowmentalz appeared on 4 of the 6 seasons of Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Poetry.

Poetry Cypher Gallery