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Educational Development 

The Roanoke Alumnae Chapter is the proud sponsor of Delta Academy, EMBODI (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) and GEMS (Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully) projects in several local middle schools and high schools.

Over time and in consultation with local school systems, our organization has implemented several models (after school, during school and weekend enrichment workshops). Our educational programs exist in several city and county division schools. Our organization has been recognized on numerous occasions by the Roanoke City Schools for our volunteer initiatives and projects.


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:

  • To instill the need to excel academically;
  • To provide tools that enable girls to sharpen and enhance their skills to achieve high levels of academic success;
  • To assist girls in proper goal setting and planning for their futures in high school and beyond; and
  • To create compassionate, caring, and community-minded young women by actively involving them in service learning and community service opportunities.

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.

The Roanoke Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. remains grateful for our effective partnership with Hurt Park Elementary School through the implementation of the Precious Pearls Program. Precious Pearls are the youngest group of youth in RAC’s educational programs. Through after school programming, the Precious Pearls participants have opportunities for academic enrichment, community service, and self-development.

Arts and Letters

The National Commission on Arts and Letters was established in 1973 by then National President Lillian Benbow. The mission of the Arts and Letters Committee of the Roanoke Alumnae Chapter is directly aligned with that of the National Commission on Arts and Letters. We strive to promote a positive image of African Americans and other minorities in our community through the medium of music, dance, drama, and poetry.

The committee promotes worthwhile cultural endeavors and artists through activities and events such as Delta Red Carpet/theatre outings, concerts, plays, book clubs, painting, and artists’ showcases.

Project LIT is a joint Arts and Letters and Educational Development Initiative. Roanoke Alumnae partners with Blacksburg Middle School to implement Project LIT, a Book Club designed to empower students as readers and leaders. Reading Project LIT books will allow the BMS student population, which 78% White, to see students and authors from races other than theirs represented in books. Additionally, the BMS library circulation data for last year show that the circulation of fiction texts dropped 27% from the previous year. The BMS Project LIT program aims to help to increase free choice reading through encouraging students to read novels depicting characters who are different from them.

At the end of each school year, Roanoke Alumnae hosts its Annual Celebration of Youth Program to recognize our Educational Development programs’ collaborators, and acknowledge the motivated youth and their families who were active in the programs.