BY EMMA C. CAVIN Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG — The St. Petersburg Chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. will celebrate 60 years of service to our communities at the Diamond Anniversary Gala planned for April 11.
This event will commemorate the chapter’s activities beginning in April of 1955 when eight young women, who joined the organization while they were in college, decided to form a chapter in St. Pete when they realized that the nearest graduate chapter was in Tampa.
For a number of years they traveled to Tampa and participated in their community activities, social events and special projects. They made a promise to serve their communities by finding ways to help more people live better lives; promote scholarship by helping to educate the children and by being role models for others.
The newest college graduate at that time, Margaret Smith Redvict, asked the members of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, which included Attorney Fred G. Minnis, to help with the administrative and legal requirements of chartering a new chapter. She, meanwhile, began to search the city for other members of the organization who wished to have a chapter of their own. Within a short time, a group of eight women completed the charter requirements and began serving their own communities in Pinellas County.
Although much time is spent tutoring and reading to children, Zetas conduct activities for people of all ages. In partnership with the March of Dimes, funds are raised to support research to end birth defects and prematurity. Further health programs include the Stork’s Nest education project that teaches new mothers and their families how to prepare for the birth and care of a new infant. They have also partnered with the American Lung Association and the schools to make sure that children with breathing problems understand how to use their medications.
Teens enjoy cultural and educational activities, workshops to improve needed skills and fun-filled ventures with their peers, all under the direction and supervision of exceptional role models. Planned activities for seniors are determined by the needs of the individuals involved. Along with the Adult auxiliary, Zeta Amicae, visits are made to nursing homes or homes of shut-ins, the Ronald McDonald House or other facilities if it is determined that the chapter’s services are wanted and needed. Service to mankind is seen as a very special commitment.
In addition to Margaret Smith Redvict, the chapter’s first president, other members were Affie Benton Teal, Elsie Armwood McLaurin, Rosa L. Sheppard, Inez Hayward, Emma McLin Peaten, Katherine Dorsey Valentine and Mary Jones Turner.
Turner is still an active member and participates in all chapter functions within the community. She will be honored by her sorority sisters April 11, as she celebrates 60 years as a member of this chapter, and 62 years as a member of the organization. Also to be honored are those who have been sorority members for 50 years or more.
Scheduled for 6 p.m. Sat., April 11, the event is expected to be an affair to remember. A splendid banquet with music and a variety of entertainment has been planned. Local television newsman Rod Carter will be the Master of Ceremonies.
Following the dinner and program, which is held at The Manhattan Casino, 642 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg, the carpet will be rolled up for dancing.
Tickets are available in advance by calling your favorite member of the Zeta Gamma Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority or by purchasing online at eventbrite.com. Type St.PeteZetasDiamondAnniversaryGala in the search box. For questions or additional information, please call (727) 867-7857.