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Story & Photo Credit: Jacqueline Davis-GilmoreOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Xi Alpha Omega Chapter

Celebrating the Splendor of the Season with Emerging Young Leaders (EYL)” was the holiday theme of the 3rd Annual Mother and Daughter tea hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. – Xi Alpha Omega Chapter. The event was recently held at the historic Trinity United Methodist Church located in Houston’s Third Ward. This event marks the third time that Xi Alpha Omega Chapter has hosted this educational and cultural event for girls only. According to EYL Chapter Chair and Chair of the Mother and Daughter Tea Ms. Jacqueline Davis-Gilmore, “Xi Alpha Omega Chapter has made this a service project dedicated to serving girls throughout communities.

Since 2010, we have hosted this event for girls at Ross Sterling Middle School in Humble, Texas, James D. Ryan Middle School and for girls and parents who express an interest in participating and learning. While the weather did not cooperate, everyone had a wonderful time as we learned the history of teas among the African-American culture, customs and the importance of understanding basic etiquette and self-esteem for girls which is significant”. Receiving a standing ovation was the lovely and multi-talented Raven Jackson, a 4th grader at The Rice School. Raven performed an inspirational praise dance to “Encourage Yourself”.

Raven serves as the President of the National Junior Achievers (NJA) for the National Women of Achievement, Inc. Raven will travel to Washington, D.C. where she will represent youth everywhere on behalf of Positive Black Males of Houston. Raven and her mother, Ms. Deborah Manning are both members of South Union Baptist Church and both are members of the National Women of Achievement, Inc. – Missouri City Chapter. While everyone was adorned in their holiday colors, mothers and daughters were treated to holiday gifts while being served sandwiches, hot tea and an assortment of desserts, fruits and vegetables. Special guest included Ms. Kandice Martin, a former EYL participant, now a student at Lamar High School in Houston, Texas and members of the National Women of Achievement, Inc.-Houston Chapter who serve as partners with Xi Alpha Omega Chapter’s EYL Signature Program.

The “Emerging Young Leaders” (EYL) is the 2010-2014 Signature Program of the International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Carolyn House Stewart. Consisting of four AKAdemies, the program is designed to extend the vision of the sorority by cultivating and encouraging high scholastic achievement through: 1) Leadership Development, 2) Educational Enrichment, 3) Civic Engagement, and 4) Character Building. The “Emerging Young Leaders Program” will develop skills and talents of middle school girls (grades 6, 7 and 8) with potential for becoming leaders within their local communities, as well as in other venues.

Some of the activities that Xi Alpha Omega Chapter’s EYL Program coordinates and participates in has been the traveling to The Ensemble Theatre to see the stage play “Cinderella”, Shape Community Center, serving the elderly and veterans and participating in the First Annual “Just 4 Us Girls S.T.E.M. Conference.”