Zetas honor local women

BY EMMA COOPER CAVIN, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority celebrated six individuals during their Finer Womanhood Luncheon. Gifts and awards were presented to these local women and teens that have given outstanding time and service at work and in the community last Sunday, May 15 at Harold Seltzers’ Steak House.

The women selected are known for their zealousness in working to make the community better for others. No matter what task they are given, they always go the extra mile in providing service to others.

Honored as “Community Women of the Year” were Deborah Figgs-Sanders and Pattye Sawyer-Hampton, both noted for more than 20 years of working within or directing community-based and non-profit organizations.

ZETAS, community

Figgs-Sanders currently serves as the executive director of the Childs Park YMCA.  Some of her community affiliations include Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, where she is a past president and an appointee to the International Communications Committee; the Youth Development Foundation of Pinellas County; 2020 Taskforce, 2020 Core Team; mayoral appointee to the CRA Citizens Advisory Committee; Juvenile Welfare Board’s South County Community Council; Pinellas County Schools Student Advisory Council; PCS District Intervention and Appeals Community; Fundamental Schools Advocacy Network and Earth Mission Ministries, to name a few.

Figgs-Sanders is the proud wife of Daniel Sanders, mother of three sons and the grandmother of two granddaughters. She is a graduate of Gibbs High School, received a bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

Sawyer-Hampton works with the Pinellas County Urban League serving as the director of Health Initiatives.  Her position gives her the responsibility of developing and implementing their internal and external health initiatives, as well as social media communication strategies to promote a greater awareness and create support for the organization.

Prior to working in her current position, Sawyer-Hampton worked in health, hospice care, marketing and public relations.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she graduated from Ohio University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the esteemed E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.  Sawyer-Hampton holds a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.  She and her husband, Dorian, have four children, and she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

Selected as “Zeta of the Year” was Yvonne King, a retired educator who earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida A&M University.  She and her husband, Bernard, are parents of three adults and the grandparents of two teenagers.

A member of the St. Petersburg chapter of Zeta Phi Beta since 1975, King has worked on numerous committees and fulfilled projects in the same manner as she would a salaried position.  She works with care and diligence in all that she undertakes.

For her leadership within the Zeta Amicae Auxiliary and her willingness to serve the community, LaTyonia McConnell-Williams was named “Amicae of the Year.”  She is presently serving as secretary/ treasurer in the organization and willingly represents the group at fundraisers and community functions.

McConnell-Williams will serve as a delegate to the national convention this summer. The Zeta Amicae Auxiliary is the adult organization affiliated with Zeta Phi Beta, and the members work to fulfill their own special projects while also supporting Zeta Phi Beta’s projects.

Joanna Grace Miller received an award for her work within the youth organization, which she has been involved in since she was just 4 years old.  This year, she was named “Youth of the Year.”

Miller is a ninth grade student in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School.  Her area of concentration is dance, but she also enjoys music.  As a volunteer since age five, Miller has collected donations for the March of Dimes, the Ronald McDonald House, assisted participants in St. Anthony’s Triathlon, distributed NAACP information during the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade and worked in the community garden at Jordan Park.

The 2016 scholarship recipient was Briana Alexis Macon, who plans to go to college in the fall. Graduating from the Medical Magnet program at Boca Ciega High School next month, she is a member of the National Honor Society. Macon has excelled in the classroom, attained the rank of First Lieutenant in Bravo Company of the ROTC program and performed in the Fighting Pirates Marching Band.

Prior to Sunday’s event, a full week was spent fulfilling national service initiatives. Educational activities, services to the elderly and shut-in and procuring supplies for the needy were the priorities. Visiting schools gave the sorority members a way to encourage students to work harder at building reading and math skills.

Some members visited with children whom they have mentored or tutored previously during the school year. Other sorority members established new relationships through reading and storytelling, activities that they will continue next fall.

One group visited patients in nursing homes, delivering personal gifts and a little entertainment. The small gifts and toiletries put big smiles on the faces of the patients.

Saturday was spent at Dell Holmes Park as the sorority members, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, friends and family members just took the time to wind down and relax.

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated has provided service and leadership to St. Petersburg for more than 61 years.  Chartered in 1955, the local chapter has kept in mind that scholarship, service, sisterhood, and finer womanhood are still the principles of the organization and are the reason that we serve our community.

Chapter president is Daphne Lampley. Event chair was Kareesa Keys, with Paulette Jones, Lisa Wilson, Juanita Wilson, Emma Cavin, and Kay Mullen serving as committee members.

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