College students tend to be involved with Greek organizations because of their philosophies and bonds with other members. However, many people think Greek life ends after graduation.
Organizations such as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. encourage their members to continue after college to give back to their local communities and maintain their sisterhood. Petula Gomillion, the president of the Hinesville Alumnae Chapter, is one member who stayed loyal to her sorority.
In 1993, Gomillion was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. She wanted to join because of the sorority’s values and commitment to the community; sisterhood was just an added bonus. Immediately after joining, she began working with local organizations while pursuing her nursing degree.
Shortly after graduation, the military moved Gomillion and her family to Mannheim, Germany, for a few years, then to Fort Hood, Texas. At both places, she joined the local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. As for her career, she took her nursing degree to a treatment center, where she worked with juvenile sex offenders. This population sparked her interest, which led her to becoming a certified juvenile-probation officer.
“I was more intrigued when I worked here and wanted to go in depth with these children,” she said. “I knew I had an interest in helping youth.”
Once again, Gomillion was relocated because of the military, but this time to Fort Stewart. When settled, she started working for the Department of Family and Children Services and joined the Hinesville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta.
Gomillion started a youth program with the Hinesville chapter called the Delta Gems, which serves Bryan, Liberty, Long and Wayne counties. Members participate in community service, life-skills training, mentorships and college-preparatory courses. The program also provides scholarships available for students regardless of membership.
After receiving a master’s degree in public administration from South University, Gomillion learned that the first director of Atlantic Area Court Appointed Special Advocates was retiring.
“At this point, I felt it was time for me to move on from working with the state,” she said. “It made my 10-year mark there, and this opportunity presented itself. So I applied and was selected, and now I have been executive director for three years.”
Atlantic Area CASA is a nonprofit organization that provides volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused or neglected children involved in the juvenile-justice system. Gomillion oversees the administrative operations, manages the organization and volunteers, and is responsible for grant writing.
Around the same time, she became president of the Hinesville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. The chapter’s mission is to reaffirm connections with the sisterhood, refocus energy toward the community and reconnect with collaborative partners. As president, she aims to continue the growth of the chapter and Gems program.
Being involved in many organizations can be tiresome, but Gomillion hasn’t forgot about the school that helped pave her path. Naturally, she recruits youth to Bethune-Cookman, but she aimed for a bigger presence from her alma mater. Now there is a Coastal Georgia Alumni Chapter of Bethune-Cookman University thanks to her push.
“I am looking forward to growing in all the organizations I am involved in,” she said. “I feel that it is important to give back and let children know that due to where you are now, shouldn’t stop you from where you need to go.”
Gomillion currently is bringing awareness for Go Red Month, an initiative of the American Heart Association to promote awareness of and raise money to fight heart disease in women. Delta Sigma Theta will host a bowling tournament Feb. 21 at the Marne Bowling Center. All the proceeds will go towards Delta Sigma Theta’s public service events.
As for CASA, Gomillion continues to help raise funds and spread the word about that organization’s biggest campaign, Dancing with the Stars of the Coastal Empire, on March 5 at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
For more information about CASA, go to www.atlanticcasa.org, search “Atlantic Area CASA” on Facebook or call 912-876-3816.