Empowering Our Sisters: Wellness is Essential

Select Page Empowering Our Sisters: Wellness is Essential

This year I attended the Wilmington (DE) Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s 5th Annual Health, Wellness, and Empowerment Summit for the second time! It was a beautiful day of wellness and womanhood sponsored by Christiana Care Health System, AARP, AmeriHealth Caritas Delaware, Mayor’s Office and Wilmington City Council, University of Delaware, Blue Diamond Dental, Delaware Health and Social Services, and H & S Enterprises, Inc.

On May 5, 2018 at least 350 black women and girls gathered at Christiana Hospital’s John H. Ammon Medical Education Center in Delaware.

The day started with the beautiful women of Delta Sigma Theta checking in registered participants between 8am-9am. I was so excited because I ran into my mentor since middle school, and my sisters in National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. – DE Chapter who just became Deltas.

Prior to the official welcome from president, Karen H. Bostick, women ate breakfast that consisted of bagels, danishes, and fruit, and visited a plethora of vendors ranging from topics such as lupus awareness, reproductive health, juicing, vegan living, HIV/AIDS awareness, breast cancer, fitness transformation, brown skin care, and medical services.


Around 9am the current Wilmington Alumunae Chapter president welcomed all to the conference, acknowledging the original creator of this day, Sarah Harrison who was unable to attend on this day. Her remarks ended with asking audience members to stand up and wrap their arms around themselves; as to never forget that as a woman we are worthy and responsible for loving on ourselves. Followed by an invocation by Reverend Dawn Christopher and an overview of the purpose of the summit by 1st Vice President, Stephanie Toland-Mayo.

Senator Margret Rose Henry, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long, and New Castle County Council President, Karen Hartley Nagle shared brief but empowering words on behalf of their respective positions.

Lt. Governor of Delaware, Bethany Hall-Long

Before the empowerment sessions began for the day, Violet Voices, a singing group of Delta women sang two songs, Golden by Jill Scott, and Go Get It by Mary Mary. This got the audience’s energy flowing.Following this, the energy continued to rise when the Delta Step Team entered from the back of the auditorium, and stepped to the front stage.

One of the newest members of Delta Sigma Theta, Cimone Phillpotts

This segment ended with women being honored for the commitment to healthy living by walking through the local Christiana Mall. Each woman received a certificate for her participation. As it approached 10am, women 18+ stayed seated in the main auditorium for two empowerment sessions on preventing diabetes and cancer. The first session emphasis diabetes. Dr. Cheryl Jackson facilitated this session with Dr. Kalleen S. Barham, Dr. Camille N. Upchurch, and Patricia Resnik.

All throughout the day, women were encouraged and given breaks to get free health screenings such as blood pressure to ensure they knew their numbers. Inside of our folders was a small white sheet to record our results.

Girls ages 11-17 were empowered, educated, ad enlightened in their own track. Their session, “Let’s Talk,” was kicked off by Licensed Social Worker, Tracie Dixon, who engaged the girls with a social media trivia games using their phones. The girls learned about healthy eating from Julianna Yi, adolescent hygiene maintenance from Dr. Robyn Miller, and dental hygiene from dental hygienist, Shonda Garrett.

As the girls learned about healthy living, the women across the hall were wrapping up with the Executive Director of Delaware Health Care Commission, Ann Kempski as keynote speaker, Lisa Thomas-Laury, former Channel 6 News Anchor took the stage to share a message on being your own advocate. Lisa even discussed how she and Oprah Winfrey both supported one another early on in her career.

Lisa Thomas-Laury

Back across the hall, the girls track moved into phase II of their day with “#Let’s Get It” segment where girls were split into two groups where they learned about being their sister’s keeper even in the face of trauma, depression, or aggression from Dr. Karen Stallings.

Dr. Karen gave the girls are interactive activity in groups where they had to determine the pros and cons of different girl personalities they would interact with, and instead of judging her, create solutions for helping a friend who might be different or in need of love.

The other group of girls learned about emotional wellness from School Social Worker, Kamela Smith who taught the power of managing their own emotions. They ended this session in a sweet way by saying words of affirmations to their peer.

The girls saying positive affirmations to one another.

As the girls geared up to go to their final session before lunch, the women in the auditorium entered their final empowerment session of the day with a panel on preventing and surviving colon, lung, and breast cancer moderated by Dr. Velma Scantlebury, Associate Chief of Transplant Surgery. Presenters includes, Dr. Ramya Varadarajan who provided an update on the top cancer in Delaware, and Dr. Jennifer Sims-Mourtadam who shared on translational breast cancer research.
The last two were my favorites! Radiation Therapist, Nia Bailey, shared on The Story of Brenda, and left the audience with an acronym we can use to help us prevent breast cancer.

R-Reduce consumption of alcoholic beverages
E-Exercise 2 ½ hours/ week
N-Nutritious Foods
D-Do Not Smoke
A-Achieve a healthy body

Lastly, this segment ended with Dr. Sherita Moses from Loyola University Chicago sharing about a alternative healing treatment that could help women suffering with triple negative breast cancer. Her talk entitled, “The Wisdom of Three Men,” detailed how she finally combined Gold Nanoparticles (gold), Boswellia sacra (Frankincense, and Commiphora myrrha (myrhh), and discovered a healing solution that could only be divine! The room roared with clapping after this acknowledgment.

Dr. Sherita Moses

Menawhile, the girls track across the hall was in HIGH energy mode as the girls moved into #Let’s Move It for their final segment with two physical activity sessions. Educational Diagnostician and Certified Aerobics Instructor, Monica Freeman shared her weight loss story with the girls, and then showed they how to meditate to establish peace of mind, and they wrapped up with light dancing to the tunes of Bruno Mars!

Education Diagnostician, Monica Freeman

The other physical segment got the girls excited. Professional Dnaec and Instructor, Brynia Johnson to DJ Khaled’s song, “Shining” featuring Beyonce & Jay-Z.

I think it is safe to say the girls had a great time at the summit!!

After a value packed morning with empowerment and health education, lunch time finally arrived! Girls and women were served boxed lunches with sandwiches such as tuna & turkey, with a bag of chips and green apples, and salad for vegetarians.

Over lunch, AARP Delaware’s Associate State Director of Communications, Kim Iapalucci shared the amazing benefits of joining AARP, and encourage the participants to sign up for notifications via text message.

Lunch wrapped up with a powerful message from Reverend Dawn Christopher on remembering the importance of including spiritual wellness with physical and emotional wellness. She emphasized the need for self-care and putting our needs first to recharge and reconnect with ourselves and our spirits.

The day concluded with one of the highlights of the entire summit, Survivors Fashion Show, where women and girls who have overcome mental, physical, and emotional challenges showed their transformation in radiant attire. Chapter president, Karen Bostick, adorned, in African inspired attire was the master of ceremonies for this final segment.

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Clothing retailers ranging from Morgan’s of Delaware, Cecile Boutique, and Irini’s Originals donated attire for the models to wear to show they have overcame diabetes, obesity, critical illness, and more!

Model, Loorena Wooten, who recently released a book entitled, “Fight for Your Life: Breaking the Curse of Mentall Illness & Depression, “walked in the show to show how she fiercely overcame the many obstacles that life challenged her with.

Stephanie Toland-Mayo who lost 40 pounds since last year’s summit after going to Legin Transformation in Delaware:

Stephanie Toland-Mayo at the summit in 2017

1st Vice President of DST, Stephanie Toland- Mayo in 2018 (pictured left)

This year’s summit was phenomenal! It reinforced the need for black women and girls to take care of ourselves, and gave us hope that if ever we were challenge physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, that we have an anchor in knowing the right information to get the support we need to thrive.

Thanks to the Wilmington Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Thea who invited me back for a second time to capture the amazing essence of this event!!

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— Ella Fitzgerald

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