Philadelphia Alumnae Dedicates “Praise Garden”

Submitted by Nikita Bobo Peden

In 1927, 11 members of the Gamma Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated led by Sadie T.M. Alexander, formed the Xi Sigma Chapter. In 1956, the chapter was later named the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter.

In 2022, under the leadership of Dr. Penny Sparks Nixon the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter celebrated its 95th anniversary. To honor this milestone, the chapter adopted Life Turning Point of Philadelphia. Providing Christian transitional housing for homeless women and children, Life Turning Point offers an 18-month program focused on life skills training and permanent housing assistance.

Over the past two years, the partnership between Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter and Life Turning Point, supported by Rita Whitaker, Founder and Executive Director has resulted in a number of services including the creation of a fruit and vegetable garden developed by the Physical and Mental Health Committee.

In the first year, the members of the Physical and Mental Health had little gardening skills, but they learned and worked together to design and build a fruit and vegetable garden  from scratch. The garden flourished and the fruits and vegetables were given to Life Turning Point. The highlight was that the residents made tomato sauce from the tomatoes grown in the garden.

In year two, the women and children of Life Turning Point assumed ownership of the fruit and vegetable garden. Physical and Mental Health worked side by side with the residents supported by the expertise of Jenia Jolly, Founder and Executive Director of Furtick Farms. Physical and Mental Health reached out to Furtick Farms. This partnership developed and grew with a mutual concern to address food insecurity within the city of Philadelphia. Furtick Farms has agreed  to provide the  residents free gardening lessons through the year 2024-25. The mutual goal of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter, Life Turning Point and Furtick Farms is that the that the  residents will LiveWell and  grow fruit and vegetables in their new homes upon leaving Life Turning Point.

On, Friday, May 31, 2024, on behalf of the Philadelphia Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated the Physical and Mental Health Committee dedicated the “Praise Garden” named by the residents  to Life Turning Point of Philadelphia. The dedication included a historical journey of the Praise Garden, ribbon cutting ceremony,    gifts presentation and light refreshments. Approximately 75 people were in attendance including chapter members and nine families from Life Turning Point.

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