Fourteen Bryan and Liberty County women walked the halls of the Dorchester Village Civic Center dressed in white, each with a pink corsage, as they were dubbed Top Ladies of Distinction on Saturday.
The event also was a luncheon to celebrate the chartering of the newest Top Ladies of Distinction chapter for Bryan and Liberty counties.
It started at 11 a.m., with the TLOD members’ families and friends waiting as a private ceremony took place in the next room. TLOD National President Audrie Lawton gave each woman a pink corsage, which made the Bryan and Liberty County chapter official.
Then the women held a 30-minute ceremony for their guests, during which Lawton and Bryan and Liberty County Chapter President Shauna Glover gave speeches. The ceremony also introduced the new members and included performances and presentations.
Also in attendance were various TLOD members from other chapters in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. Lawton traveled from Houston, the group’s headquarters, which she does often because the TLOD frequently starts new chapters.
“Our organization plans new chapters all the time, and we’re looking for new chapters to promote our programs in different areas of the country,” Lawton said. “These ladies came together and asked for a charter, so it was very easy to get it started.”
The Bryan and Liberty County chapter marks the Top Ladies’ 110th chapter throughout the country. This particular chapter will be included in Area IV, which encompasses Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida and Jamaica.
TLOD was chartered Sept. 8, 1964, as a nonprofit educational, humanitarian organization.
Since its inception, the group has focused its work on youth development — known as Top Teens of America — senior citizens’ lives, the status of women and community beautification.
TLOD also supports the National Council of Negro Women, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, United Negro College Fund and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness.
“Here in Bryan and Liberty counties, we understand that there is a need for volunteers, so the ladies decided that they wanted to form a chapter,” National Area IV Director Eddie Lee Marsh said. “Our main focus is Top Teens of America, programs for the status of women, improving the quality of life for senior citizens and community beautification and partnership. All of the chapters throughout the United States work under the guidelines of those five particular goals, and so will this one.”
Though it has just begun, the Bryan and Liberty County chapter already has plans under way that will help their communities.
In less than two weeks, the group plans to bring Top Teens of America to the communities’ young adults in order to provide educational and social enhancement.
Also, they plan to work with Sara Swida, director of Keep Liberty Beautiful, so they can stress the importance of a clean, green environment to the community.
Glover said TLOD will be useful to the community because she thinks the younger generation needs guidance as they transition into adulthood.
“The Top Ladies of Distinction being located here is important because we focus on adults and teens, and right now our teens need our assistance in becoming upright citizens in the community,” Glover said. “Because of that, we’re going to organize our Top Teens of America chapter in the Bryan and Liberty county area, and from there we’ll focus on the other guidelines of the Top Ladies of Distinction.”