I had the pleasure of attending the Wilmington Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta’s 4th annual Empowering Our Sisters: Our Journey to Wellness Event on Saturday, April 15, 2017. This amazing event was held at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center at the Christiana Hospital. I was very excited to go, especially since I have lost 40 pounds in the last few months. This was perfect timing for my own journey to wellness.

Please view my video recap here:

 

Registration began at 8am and I arrived with my mother shortly after. I was greeted with the biggest smiles and the warmest hugs! It was such a beautiful thing to see 250+ women come together in the name of wellness!

      Shortly after arriving I got to meet 1st Vice President of DST, Stephanie Toland-Mayo

 

After I signed in, I made my way to main event room, got a glimpse of the breakfast being served (bagels, water, and fruit cups), and then entered the vendor zone! In this zone, I was able to meet and learn about everything from vitamin supplements to HPV shots to what tobacco does to the inside of your body to signing up for a weight loss consultation.  

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Shortly after, I went to the FREE Health screening area and got my blood pressure check. There were also spinal cord screenings and blood glucose check stations, as well.

I got so engrossed in the experience and recognized so many familiar faces that I started chatting it up with everyone. I didn’t realize it was almost start time in the main event room! I headed back to the main event room to hear the opening from Karen Bostick, Chapter President and Health Summit Chair, Sarah Harrison.

             Health Summit Chair, Sarah S. Harrison giving the welcome

 

Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long briefly welcomed the audience as well, and shared that she, too is a huge proponent for health and wellness.

          Bethany Hall-Long (left) and I

 

Shortly after they welcomed us all,  we started our first all group session led by Dr. Margot Savoy, Medical Director, Department of Family Medicine. I loved her down to earth personality, and she even took a picture with me.

      Dr. Margot Savoy (left) and I

 

This session included wisdom from Susan Silberstein, Founder and Director of, Centre for Advancement in Cancer Education, Linda Everett, Owner of Everett Medical, and Nicole Surrate, CEO/Founder, NspireD.

Nicole Surrate of NspireD presenting on how to pledge DELTA with your health

 

Overall I learned from Susan Silberstein that we should eat primitive, eat colorful, eat alkaline, and eat organic for total health and wellness. While Nicole Everett focused on what exactly obesity is and what it can do to the body. This session ended with a very impactful and memorable talk by Nicole Surrate in which she shared her personal story from her experience with cancer. She encouraged us all to pledge DELTA so we can be women of wellness:

·        Daily decision (to be well)

·        Eat healthy

·        Limit Stress

·        Talk about health

·        Actively be physical

After this session, we moved into the next who group panel, where it was emphasized that this event was really about the “elephant” in the room that we typically don’t talk about: mental health. This session was entitled, “Our Journey to Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Wellness Across Our Lifespan.” The moderator for this session I also had the pleasure to meet was Karla Bailey Cooper, a licensed psychologist with her own private practice, “Tranquil Roots Counseling and Consulting”

Social Worker, Lena Queen sharing about the importance of owning your story when it comes to discussing and cultivating healthy relationships.

 

This session included four small talks from social worker, Lena Queen on healthy relationships, reverend Dawn Christopher on the power of forgiveness, school psychologist Teri Lawler on emotional health prevention strategies for K-12 educators, social worker Tracie Dixon on community assets and resources, and education advocate, Tamika Hill on how to advocate for your children in school especially during the IEP (Individual Education Plan) process using her M.A.P. method.

Following a valued packed morning, we moved into breakout sessions, teens ages 11-17  moved into another room with facilitators to discuss building healthy relationship that last. I sat in with the girls ages 14-17. Our discussion started out slow as the teens appeared shy, but quickly picked up when the girls began to share how they struggled with balancing school, life, and extracurricular activities.

Teen girl breakout session led by school psychologist Teri Lawler and licensed social worker, Lena Queen.

 

Attendees ages 18 and older stayed in the main room and focused on, “An Update on Preventing and Living with Chronic Diseases” such as breast cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, and kidney disease. This session was moderated by Dr. Velma Scantlebury-White who I got to take a picture with below.

Dr. Velma Scantelbury-White (left) and I

 

This panel included cardiologist Dr. Yolanda Henley, WDAS 105.3 host Patty Jackson, and Medical Director, Margot Savoy of the Department of Family Medicine.

Patty Jackson of WDAS 105.3 got to share her own story of life after having a stroke.

 

As these sessions began to wrap up we transitioned into lunch. Lunch was provided by Zoup! Fresh Soup company, a soup and sandwich eatery owned by African American couple and franchise owners Eric and Dia Andrews.

I enjoyed a Southwest Turkey sandwich, Lays chips, chocolate chip cookie, and Zoup’s yummy Chicken Pot Pie soup.

As we enjoyed lunch, we listened in to a keynote address from Sheila A. Grant, Director of Advocacy at AARP. She shed light on the epidemic of more people becoming caregivers for people in their families, and emphasized the importance of raising your voice to advocate for health matters.

Sheila A. Grant, Director of Advocacy at AARP and I

 

As we filled up on good food, continued to meet with the vendors, get FREE health screenings, and win prizes from the Delta Prize Patrol, we moved into the last segment of the day:  Fashion Show.

This was no ordinary fashion show. In fact, it was extraordinary and the first I’ve seen of it’s kind. It was led by cancer survivor, Denita Gardener-Walker. Every teen girl and woman in the show had overcome (or was still living with) the effects of health issue(s). These issues ranging from cancer to sickle cell to rare diseases given at birth to others being in a wheelchair for most of their life.

Meet Barbara Jeffers who completely stunned in this red dress! She had high blood pressure, but took control of her health and lost 40 pounds. She slayed in this fashion show.

 

They graced the runway in beautiful casual and formal attired from Irini’s Originals, JCPenny, Maxine’s New York Fashions, Courtney Haywood’s Haus of Refinement, and Morgan’s of Delaware.

               Model Amiya Melton

 

Meet Amiya Melton, one of my former students who has had to battle cancer and sickle cell as a high school student. She also completely slayed during the fashion show! I was so proud!!

 

Overall, the Delta’s emphasized that total wellness for women is true empowerment. This was solidified for me when I interviewed Ms. Nancy Scott. She attends this event every year, and she is 65 years old. She stood out to me because she was an ageless beauty who despite being a 13 year cancer survivor was beautifully dressed, and shared with me how active she is in the world since retiring as a nurse. She is an ordained minister, getting her doctorate in Industrial Organization Psychology, the president of an organization, and an advocate for preventive diseases.

          Nancy Scott, Event Attendee

 

Now you see why I was impressed? Go Nancy! I absolutely loved her spirit and truly believe that women like her and so many women that I met at this event remind me to continue my own journey to wellness. This event reminded me and all who attended that to love ourselves fiercely we must be mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically in alignment within ourselves for true wellness.

 

You can find more about this event and the Wilmington Deltas: http://delawaredeltas.com/

Find more pictures and coverage using the hashtags: #EmpoweringOurSisters and #Deltas4Wellness

Special thank you to the Delaware Blogger Antionette Blake for sharing this opportunity with me, Ann Moses for inviting me, and Valerie Hickman for sharing the day with me.