L-R, Je’Nel Yore, Sierra Kennedy, KaAndra Maxwell, Lauren Williams, Tiffany Whitson and Keyana Squire-Dennis
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) usually hold their Red Carpet Recognition Brunch honoring women over 50 years of age, also known as Naomis, who represent the legacy of the biblical character Naomi (Ruth 1:16) and/or the biblical characteristics of the women in Titus 2: 3-5.
Held at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon, this year the 501 (C) (3) organization decided to throw the Black-Silver-Gold Ball to raise funds for their initiative called Mothers of College Students (MOCS), which was created in 2015 to help college girls graduate from postsecondary educational institutions.
“We notice we were sending a lot of people away to college but they were not coming back with diplomas, so it’s our task to mentor them and assist them financially so that they can do the best they can in college and graduate,” said Ruth Jayada Rainey, who is one of many women under 50 in the organization who strive to impact their surroundings in a positive way.
Rewind back to 2006, the concept for the Naomi and Titus 2 Covenant Alliance started with the inception of Just for You Day at Word of Life Fellowship Church. On this day, the Women’s Ministry served a group of ladies who were ex-felons living in a group home.
These returned citizens didn’t know what to expect but were soon pampered with manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and delicious food. They also had a chance to hear encouraging words and special prayers.
“Naomi” Pearl Williams, “Naomi” Charleszette Whitlock, “Naomi” Mary Allen, “Naomi” Bridgette Newton, “Ruth” Jayda Rainey, “Ruth” Je’Nel Yore, “Naomi” Shirley Terrell, “Naomi” Willie Taver, “Ruth” Keianne Hayes, “Naomi” Joanne Rainey, Ruth” Je’Ney Yore
With NT2CA founder and President Teralyn Hodge, at the helm, the Just for You Day soon blossomed into a separate organization when the first recognition brunch took place in 2009. Don’t worry, the red carpet will roll out once again, but this year’s event was all about the youth.
Saturday night spotlighted 17 young ladies currently enrolled in a college, technical school or universities. From the Ivy League Vanderbilt University to Pinellas Technical College, these current students are paired up with mentors who graduated from a program in a similar field. These mentors are equipped to give advice, help students with financial aid matters or just be a voice on the phone for encouragement.
The MOCS initiative has just seen two students graduate from St. Leo’s University, with five more graduating before next year.
To qualify, students must be in good academic standing, maintain a 2.5 grade point average, have at least 25 documented community hours and must submit an official school transcript.
“It takes a village to raise and child and to get things completed. I’m so proud of these young ladies,” Hodge said to the audience. “Their parents are very supportive and without your support, it would be difficult to continue the program.”
In addition to mentoring, students receive a financial stipend each month along with a gift card for incidentals.
Besides the MOCS initiative, the ladies of NT2CA also provide program services that assist women, youth families and communities at large. Current service projects include Take Stock in Children Mentorship, Melrose Good News Club, Hospice volunteering and an annual community giveaway.
Filled with ladies in elegant ball gowns and dapper dons sporting tuxedos, guests were treated to a three-course meal and ended the evening showing off their moves on the dance floor. Next year’s recognition brunch will be back on track.
If you’d like to learn more about the organization or donate to MOCS, please log on to ntcaministries.org or call 1-877-628-3008.