CAC: Small But Mighty By Terry Callahan

Since 1952, the Cambridge Alumnae Chapter (CAC) of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been providing community service in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., founded in 1913 at Howard University, has a long-standing history of promoting academic excellence along with assistance to those in need. When the Cambridge chapter was chartered it was the only chapter on the Eastern Shore. Current members represent all professions, including teachers, physicians, engineers, accountants, police officers, dentists, actors and IT professionals. With its 57 members, CAC is small but mighty.
The pandemic has not stopped the chapter’s members from continuing with their public service and program plans, continuing with scholarship distributions and other contributions to applicable organizations. While all in-person meetings have been suspended, virtual meetings serve to facilitate meetings, program plans execution and sisterhood bonding.
President Tara Newman-Bell says, “I personally experienced the organization indirectly as a young lady by watching the involvement and execution of programs impacting our communities by ladies in my community. I greatly admired the women in my community who were members of the organization. Their community involvement and overall demeanors piqued my interest enough to know that I wanted to be “like them” and “give back.”
Tara describes the chapter’s (and overall organization’s) goal “that boldly confronts the challenges of African Americans and, hence, all Americans. Over the years, a wide range of programs addressing education, health, international development, and strengthening of the African American family have evolved.”
“Membership in this illustrious sisterhood is empowering, far-reaching and incredibly impactful (strength in numbers) when we execute the programs and activities under our Five-Point Programmatic Thrust: Educational Development, Economic Development, International Awareness & Involvement, Physical & Mental Health; Political Awareness & Involvement.”
Members actively support the Five Points through CAC’s projects. These include scholarship and book awards to graduating seniors, sponsoring a child in Uganda, and volunteering and contributing to a wide range of organizations, such as nursing homes (Deer’s Head and Eastern Shore Hospital Center); March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Alzheimer’s Association, NAACP, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), and UNICEF.
Additionally, CAC has partnered for projects with other organizations, such as the Pauline F. and W. David Robbins Family YMCA, Mid-Shore League of Women Voters (collaborating on celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and Get Out the Vote), Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence (“Adopt-a-family” annually), Kappa Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Iota Chi Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and other Divine 9 organizations (partnering to share voter education information).
CAC supports youth educational and personal development through several programs. Delta Academy focuses on young females (ages 11-14) and addresses the issues of academic failure, low self-esteem and impacts on their futures by augmenting their scholarship in math, science, technology and their leadership through service-learning. Delta GEMS helps African American girls (ages 14-18) achieve their dreams through academic excellence, goal setting and college and career planning, along with actively involving them in service opportunities and providing opportunities for self-reflection and individual growth. EMBOI teams with other major organizations to address the plight of African American males, while Arts & Letters promotes activities providing positive images of minorities through music, dance, drama and poetry to have “an appreciation for our culture, track our history and heritage and build our self-esteem.”
CAC’s signature fund-raising activity, Delta Doll, is a favorite of Tara’s. “The funds raised from this activity support our public service activities and scholarship program. It’s an opportunity for members from our various service areas to exercise a little friendly competition to see who can raise the most funds. The execution of the program involves selecting young ladies (dolls) from the various communities to learn about etiquette, to create friendships, and to showcase their talents via a pageant style program. They also earn a percentage of the funds collected for themselves to be used toward their education or other cause.”
In conclusion, CAC is important to the communities it serves “because of our commitment to public service with a primary focus on the Black community, to promoting academic excellence and to providing assistance to those in need,” says Tara.
For additional information, including membership criteria, please go to the Grand Chapter: deltasigmatheta.org and the Eastern Region website: easternregiondst.org. The Cambridge Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. can be viewed at www.dstcacmd.org or on Facebook. As CAC’s local theme for the 2020 – 2022 Biennium states, “CAC: We Are One!”