Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Quaker City Alumnae Chapter, hosted its first “Torch Awards Luncheon” at the North Hills Country Club in Glenside. The chapter is actively engaged in enhancing the Philadelphia community through its public service endeavors. Chapter President Leslie Cousins said, “Quaker City supports the five-point programmatic thrust of the national organization: economic development, educational development, international awareness and involvement, physical and mental health and political awareness and involvement.”

Distinguished honorees acknowledged for outstanding contributions in their respective fields included state Sen. Vincent J. Hughes. An influential member of the Pennsylvania Senate representing the 7th Senatorial District since November 1994, Hughes was recognized for his service related to political awareness and involvement.

Dr. J. Steven Blake was recognized for his achievements related to physical and mental health. Blake is the president/CEO of Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC and the president/CEO and medical director of The Mt. Airy Ambulatory Endoscopy Surgery Center. He currently holds a staff position at Albert Einstein Medical Center. He is board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists.

Helen McCrary Salahuddin and Ali Salahuddin, co-founders of the D’Zert Club in 1992, were recognized for their achievements and dedication to international awareness and involvement. Helen McCrary Salahuddin said, “Ali and I are very humbled to receive the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Quaker City Alumnae Chapter Torch Award for our work with youth as they learn about their rich history and travel to the Motherland. We look forward to future opportunities to work with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority on initiatives that enlighten our youth about their heritage, instill pride, expose them to their rich culture and strengthen our community.”

Linda Cliatt-Wayman was recognized for her contributions and achievements in educational development. She is the dedicated principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in North Philadelphia with two decades of experience as a classroom teacher. Cliatt-Wayman received national attention for her efforts to ensure that Strawberry Mansion was a safe academic institution. She has also been the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women as well as the Massachusetts Conference for Women.

Philadelphia Futures was recognized for its contributions to economic development and Christen Johnson accepted the award on the agency’s behalf. Philadelphia Futures, “Prepares first-generation-to-college low-income students to enter and succeed in college.” The organization, founded in 1989, continues to have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of thousands of young people.

Event co-chairs Dr. Iris Moody and Darlene Sandlin were thrilled with remarks made by the honorees and said, “Our honorees provided uplifting and inspiring stories of their life journeys and their call to serve.”

Quaker City Alumnae Chapter officers serving with Cousins are first vice president Claudette Stone and second vice president Annie Williams Gadson. Other officers are Kristi Johnson, Lynn Bailey, Tracy Oliver-Davis, Tara Brown, Dr. Barbara Williams-Paige, Regina Simpson-Doughty, Arlette George, Deleah Archer-Neal, Lorraine Greer and Florence Oliver.

The program began with a warm welcome by chapter member Pamela Singleton and a rendition of “The Negro National Anthem.” Singleton introduced author Solomon Jones who served as the master of ceremonies and shared the history of the chapter. Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning journalist.

Another highlight of the program was the introduction of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Eastern Regional Director Theljewa Garrett by chapter president Leslie Cousins. Garrett made inspiring remarks and congratulated the chapter for their service to the community.

Following the invocation by the Rev. James Jackson and a delicious luncheon, guests enjoyed a musical selection by chapter member Sandra Brockington Gould.

Chapter members making presentations to honorees were: Florence Oliver, Patricia Evans, Debra McAllister, Dr. Barbara Williams-Page and Patricia Alford.

Congratulations to this event fundraising co-chairs: Dr. Iris Moody and Darlene Sandlin who put so much time and energy into making this a successful event and to all members and supporters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Quaker City Alumnae Chapter.

Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!

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