Submitted by Tiffany Wright
The Bronx Alumnae Chapter (BxAC) Delta Academy and Delta GEMS youth initiatives kicked off January 2023 with a fantastic program! The program’s theme focused on two components: a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Human Trafficking Awareness. The chapter began the program with the girls and mentors engaging in an exciting energizer that created a movement and allowed them to learn more about one another. Shifting gears, the girls were involved in a thoughtful discussion about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after watching a fun, relatable hip-hop video about his legacy. Next, the transition was made to an MLK Jr. Day of Service project, giving many of the girls their first experience with service. In honor of Human Trafficking Awareness month, the youth and mentors created bracelets of Love for the Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking. Each uniquely designed bracelet featured African beads. The designs also included blue beads that represented the color of the awareness.
The service project led into the Human Trafficking component in which BxAC partnered with Monique Riley, Founder of the Freedom Youth Family Justice Center. Mrs. Riley was introduced by her daughter, who sang a beautiful song that brought on many heartfelt emotions. Mrs. Riley’s presentation captivated both the girls and mentors from the beginning to the end. She gave an awareness of human trafficking that many lacked coming into the session. Following Mrs. Riley’s presentation, the girls asked many questions. The girls were genuinely engaged as Mrs. Riley was very open and honest about her experience as a victim and now a survivor of Human Trafficking. At the end of her presentation, Delta Academy and Delta GEMS gifted Mrs. Riley with handmade bracelets of Love and handwritten notes of encouragement from the girls for her to distribute to survivors.
Following Mrs. Riley’s presentation, there was a special guest appearance by BxAC Soror Shekera Algarin, Esq. of the NYC Mayors Office of Criminal Justice, who provided the girls with resources regarding Human trafficking, including warning signs. To lighten the remainder of the session with a mindfulness moment, the girls enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and s’mores from the Hot Cocoa and S’mores Corner! Based on survey responses, feedback was very positive. When asked for one lesson learned, the responses included the following:
- “I learned the signs and what some forms of human trafficking can look like.”
- “That it isn’t always a stranger that is your trafficker. It could be your friend or even a family member.”
Thank you to the Delta Academy and Delta Gems committee for helping assemble such an inspiring program. Teamwork makes the dream work sorors.