PHI CHI OMEGA CHAPTER HISTORY
At the end of the summer of 1999, a group of fifteen energetic women led by Jo Anne W. Jones and Joan E. Edwards from Isle of Wight/Surry areas came together to form an Interest Group of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. After much preparation, the Interest Group, “The Classic Pearls”, was organized and the members began to work diligently in preparation for chartering.
The chartering ceremony was held on March 10, 2001 under the leadership of Mrs. Clara Hines, 14th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director at the Smithfield Center in Smithfield, VA. The following dedicated and enthusiastic ladies were the chartering members: Catherine Blount, M. LaVerne Daniels, Joan E. Edwards, Vivian W. Evans, Stephanie E. Hill, Ada O. Johnson, Jo Anne W. Jones, Carmen Jordan, Fatimah R. Marshall, Mae K. Mason, Melissa M. Rollins, Marie Ruffin Vasquez, JoeAnn E. Newby, Gammiel G. Poindexter, and Adrian B. Taylor. Renee Carter joined the group and was present for the chartering. Thus, Phi Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated became into existence. Pamela P. Cross, Rita H. Charity, and Sharon Sheffield later joined us in our endeavors. We were the “first” and is currently the only chapter serving the communities of Surry and Isle of Wight Counties.
The Phi Chi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated had its first membership intake in the spring of 2003 adding four inspiring ladies to its membership:
Jacqueline S. Eley, Doris Ellis-Jackson, Tiffany D. Garnes, and Tasha M. Owens. In 2006, six more new members joined our chapter: Carlene Kelly, Denisha Mason, Chere’ Neely, Kimberly Hardy-Savage, Eleisha Lucowitz, and Michelle Wilson. In January 2008, Kristin Pierce, Fatimah Marshall, Jacqueline Winfield, Sharon Wooden, and Sharron Wooden reactivated their membership and joined the chapter. Serbrenia Sims was the next member to reactivate and join in 2010. Additional members that joined in the continuous effort of the sorority to plan and execute “service to mankind” activities were: Jeanine Burks, Jennifer Byrd, Charlotte Cypress, Eunice P. Gay, Lonnelle Heckstall, Khristi Holmes, LaToya Johns, Betty H. Newby, Cynthia Neely, Cheryl B. Shears, Tasha Stephens, and Wanda Wellons-Jones. Kristy Buggs, Charisse Carter, and Kimberly Ellis became members in 2011.
A small chapter but BIG in heart when it comes to executing program initiatives include: Serving Thanksgiving dinners and distributing fruit baskets to the elderly; sponsoring coat drives and providing infant car seats for those in need; visiting nursing home facilities; collecting cell phones for domestic abuse victims; adopting a Black family to assist with their needs and recognizing non-traditional entrepreneurs at one of our annual Black Family Cookouts; awarding of a Working Woman Scholarship for a working mother and scholarships to high school seniors to further their educational goals; serving as volunteers at the Special Olympics Tournaments; holding Economic Empowerment Workshops on financial management; broadcasting on a radio station about the importance of the Black family while giving gifts to call-in winners; serving as greeters at Surry’s Memorial Day activity for local veterans; donating backpacks to children with incarcerated parents; sponsoring a family oriented “Back to School Bash”, and much more.
In January 2012, Phi Chi Omega launched the “Emerging Young Leaders Program” which was held at Luther Porter Jackson Middle School in Dendron, VA, and hosted two meetings per month. Phi Chi Omega also sponsored two “Little Miss AKA Pageants to enhance the development and talents of young girls ages 8-12.
The chapter partnered with several community organizations and has collaboratively conducted an array of service projects that include the following:
Surry County Office on Youth: Sponsored the “Teach Me to Fish” Program which focused on life skills and job training for young adults ages 18-21 and assisted with their Precious Jewels Program designed to build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, and mentor young middle school girls.
Mission of Hope Homeless Mission: Provided meals and activities for homeless citizens in local church shelters.
Surry County Department of Social Services: Held a Senior Citizens’ Healthy Lifestyles Activity aimed at making healthy improvements in their lives and featured a representative discussing, “Reporting And Understanding Census 2010”.
Surry and Isle of Wight Branches of the N.A.A.C.P.: Served as greeters and hostesses for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast and Dinner Banquet. We held seminars with both branches to disseminate information to felons to help them restore their civil rights. We appeared on a radio station, “Let’s Talk”, addressing restoration of the right to register to vote, hold public office, serve on a jury, or serve as a notary public. A participant in the project was elated as he recently informed the chapter that his rights had been restored!
Surry County Board of Supervisors and Isle of Wight Economic Development Department: Organized the “Go Green Initiative” with their Clean Up and Recycling campaigns. Citizens donated canned goods or money to benefit the Food Bank, gave clothing and household goods to the local Disabled American Veterans store, and had personal documents shredded free of charge.
In March 2011, we celebrated our 10th Anniversary with a Pink and Green lavish and eloquent affair at the Smithfield Center, Smithfield, VA. We were “tickled pink” by the attendance of our present 17th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Dr. Linda H. Gilliam, as well as Mrs. Clara Hines, 14th Mid-Atlantic Regional Director. We took a walk “Back through Memory Lane” and reflected on our accomplishments as a chapter and on the excitement of our future endeavors.
We continue to excel in our efforts today because of our inspiration from God and our dedication to keep the heritage of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated alive for us and all of those that will follow in our footsteps. We believe that the citizens in the communities that we serve are grateful and have been impacted by the planning and implementation of our service activities for over a decade. We take pride in being of “service to mankind”.