Since its founding in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has clearly distinguished itself as a public service organization that boldly confronts the challenges of African Americans and, hence, all Americans. Over the years, a wide range of programs addressing education, health, international development, and strengthening of the African American family has evolved. In realizing its mission, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. provides an extensive array of public service initiatives through its Five-Point Programmatic Thrust.
National economic trends, such as unstable employment, the threat to Social Security as we know it, and the widening gap between wealth and poverty are the basis for the development of Financial Fortitude, the current Economic Development Program Initiative of Delta Sigma Theta. Financial Fortitude is a process that will help program participants to set and define goals, develop a plan to achieve them, and to put the plan into action. The process serves as a blueprint to address all aspects of personal finances. The Sorority has made available chapter tools for the process, including a Money Smart Adult Education Program and a Money Smart computer-based instruction tool from the FDIC to complement the Financial Fortitude Program.
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 upon 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.
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:
The Delta GEMS program offers a road map 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.”
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 suggests 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.
Dedicated in 2002, the Delta House is a home for children who became orphans due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. It is located in what is now known as Vashti Village, in Mbabane, Swaziland along with two similar structures. Built to accommodate 12 children and a housemother, the home was made possible with funds contributed by Delta sorors at the 45th and 46th National Conventions held in Chicago (2000) and Atlanta (2002). Situated in a picturesque valley, an expansive vegetable garden flourishes behind the Delta House where residents (most of whom are adolescents) grow some of their own food. The village is still a work in progress with an office complex, conference center, church and apartments envisioned for the future.
As an organization of predominantly African American women, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is uniquely positioned to impact not only the well-being of its membership, but also the families and communities we serve. Journey to Wellness: Committing our Bodies to Physical and Mental Health is now the signature Physical and Mental Health call to action. The initiative addresses the challenges of living holistic and healthy lives. The three-pronged approach to Journey to Wellness includes: signature programs, Catching, coping, Conquering; My Cry in the Dark; and Healthy Lifestyles. Members have actively engaged in physical fitness and are taking an active interest in the welfare of their health.
In March of 1913, nearly six weeks after its founding, several Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Founders marched in the historic Suffragist March under the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. banner, the Sorority’s first public act. Today, low voter turnout statistics highlight the need to continue to identify ways to include opportunities for all citizens to exercise their voting power. Each of Delta’s programmatic initiatives has an advocacy component that is implemented under the auspices of social action when it is appropriate or necessary to do so.
Under the auspices of the National Social Action Commission, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. continues to institute activities that foster: