Celebrating women who serve

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – On the day before Mother’s Day, the ladies of the Naomi and Titus 2 Covenant Alliance (NT2CA) have been holding their “Just For You Day” event for some eight years now.  The velvet rope extravaganza, held this year at the St. Petersburg Marriott-Clearwater, saw more than 300 people come out to celebrate 15 ladies who have selflessly served their families and communities.

Not just anyone can be crowned a Naomi. This prestigious title carries great weight. These women (50 years and older) must represent the legacy of the biblical character Naomi (Ruth 1:16) and/or the biblical characteristics of the women in Titus 2: 3-5.

Many of them are mentors, teachers, associates, neighbors, co-workers and friends, but they all have one thing in common: they must positively impact their surroundings by their presence, knowledge, humbleness, teachings and their willingness to make a difference in others.

Dressed in their Sunday best, the 2016 honorees were treated to good food, gospel music by the Brothers of Harmony, an inspirational keynote address and their place on the pedestal.

This year the Mistresses of Ceremonies included two Ruths, or ladies under the age of 50 who strive to impact their surroundings in a positive way, and Naomi Cindy Burnham, who welcomed everyone to the red carpet event.

“I’m here as not only an alumni member, but part of the NT2CA outreach program, so I get to be involved with these beauty women every single month,” said Burnham, who is the director of the St. Petersburg Free Clinic Baldwin Women’s Residence.

The ladies of the NT2CA volunteer their time and resources to the residence facility on a weekly basis. They are mentors, encouragers and supporters of the program that now houses 50 homeless women.

In giving the occasion, Ruth Taylor-Herring said the NT2CA gives recognition to each of the honorees for their faith, love, sacrifices and perseverance.

“Their experiences have played a pivotal role in our growth as individuals and our growth in God,” she said, continuing that each one of them is an example of empowerment for generations of young women who are following in their footsteps.

Keynote speaker for the afternoon was First Lady of St. Petersburg Faith Church St. Petersburg and Community Partnership Specialist with Empath Health, Karen Davis-Pritchett.  She praised the NT2CA for their volunteer work with Suncoast Hospice, which is a member of Empath Health.

Calling volunteerism one of the most important elements of Suncoast Hospice, she named a list of Naomis that volunteer on the bereavement team, greeting people at the front desk, working in the retail store and organizing the north county office.

“Being a volunteer is about having a servant’s heart; it is understanding that you have a unique gift and a purpose that should be shared with others,” Davis-Pritchett said.

She gave the example of Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas) in Acts 9:36, which states that she was always doing good and helping the poor.

Davis-Pritchett said that the community is in need of dedicated women to help the poor, and not just with financial resources.

“I’m talking about those that are poor in hope, poor in encouragement, poor in purpose,” she explained, stating that if we collectively use our resources, time and talents “what an amazing impact we can have on our communities.”

She applauded all of the Naomis for deciding to serve their families and communities.

“These women know that their voice must be used to encourage that single mother that wants to give up and feels like she’s fighting against the world. These are women that know that their smiles have the power to brighten the day of a child that feels abandoned. These women know that they have wisdom from their walk with God and living the life that allows them to speak words of life in dead situations,” Davis-Pritchett averred.

After the honorees were crowned with a tiara, a sash laid upon their shoulders and given roses, they were serenaded by Gibbs High School student Diamond Hyatt. Bringing tears to the recipient’s eyes, the newly crowned Naomis took their place in history.

Pastor Ellis Hodge of Word of Life Fellowship Church praised his wife, Teralyn Hodge, the founder and president of NT2CA, for being the force behind the organization. Although her voice was gone, her presence commanded the Naomis to recommit to fulfilling God’s mandate and purpose for their lives.

The Naomi and Titus 2 Covenant Alliance Ministries is a nonprofit organization involved in various activities including lending services to displaced women, mentorships for adults and youths, character development programs for teens, as well as afterschool support programs for the youth of St. Petersburg.

For more information on the organization and upcoming events, check out their website at ntcaministries.net.

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