Amid a festive holiday setting, the Collier County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. hosted one of its most popular annual events on Dec. 15, which included raising funds for programs that help local families and honoring area trailblazers and young innovators.
The Red Velvet Holiday Jazz Brunch, held at the Vineyards Country Club in Naples, included an afternoon of gourmet food, live music by Luvens Lubin, dancing, mingling, giveaways, and plenty of selfies.
The highlight was a tribute to area African Americans who are making a great difference in Collier County.
“This annual event is an opportunity for the Collier County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to fellowship with area residents as well as other community organizations,” said Cynthia Griffin Cave, president of the chapter.
‘’This year, we recognized young, up-and-coming African American leaders as well as longtime contributors to the Collier community. It also gives the chapter a chance to share some of the outstanding programs that we provide to area youth and families through the year. And, of course, it’s a fun-filled event that gets attendees into the Christmas spirit.’’
The Collier Deltas’ Trailblazer awards went to Willie Anthony, a longtime Naples activist and advocate for the River Park community; the Rev. Clayton Hodge, a retired educator and pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Naples; LaVerne Franklin, a retired educator and past president of the Collier County NAACP and past chair of the Collier County Black Affairs Advisory Board; and David Hinds, former managing director at Deutsche Bank and the brainchild behind various initiatives that help youth in Collier County.
The Young Innovators honored were Brandon Cooper, a public speaker and musician who also serves as the current chair of the Collier County Black Affairs Advisory Board; Gary Petit-Dor, a business owner and former candidate for the Collier County Commission; and Shalonda Washington, a business owner, mentor of women and girls in Naples and Immokalee, and co-founder of Washington Family Ministries.
The Collier chapter services those in need in Collier County by supplying scholarships, mentoring at-risk students, adopting families for the holidays, as well as conducting educational programs on health and financial management.
The chapter hosts several fundraising events throughout the year, including the Red Velvet Holiday Jazz Brunch.
This year’s chair and emcee was Ronda Burns. Special guests included members of the Collier County NAACP and the “Divine Nine’’ in Collier and Lee counties.