The Delta GEMS visited Liberty County Head Start in Riceboro on Monday to help pre-schoolers understand Veterans Day.
The group, made up of teens age 14-18, is an extension of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, Hinesville alumnae chapter. GEMS stands for “growing and empowering myself successfully.”
The girls read stories and participated in the Head Start children’s Veterans Day learning activities, such as making flags from construction paper and a banner decorated with little red, white and blue handprints thanking veterans for their service.
Head Start teacher Vicky Dykes said her students always enjoy visits from volunteers such as the GEMS and firefighters.
“We have military members that come out and play with them on the playground,” Dykes said.
“I like the community-service aspect of Delta GEMS,” said member Ajile Owens. “I like the meetings because there’s always something to to do.” Owens described her organization and its members as “vibrant.”
GEMS member Kalia Burks said she didn’t mind “giving up” her day off from school to visit Head Start.
“We need to do something to be less selfish with our lives,” Burks said.
Her mother is an Army Reservist and her late father served in the military, she said. Burks said her mother was deployed to Kuwait about three years ago.
GEMS member Mikia Frazier is considering a teaching career and should benefit from the visit to Head Start, said her mother, Midway Middle School Principal Debra Frazier. The older Frazier is a member of Delta Sigma Theta and helped chaperone the 14 GEMS.
Delta Sigma Theta established a local chapter 26 years ago, chapter President Mary Brock said. The sorority’s local chapter has helped sponsor Relay for Life of Liberty County, donated holiday food baskets to needy families, co-sponsored political forums and awarded scholarships.
The Delta GEMS was formed about five years ago, Brock said.
Brock said getting teens involved in the community gives them a sense of pride, and they become invested in their community.
The Delta GEMS assisted with the United Way’s Backpack Buddies program, Keep Liberty County Beautiful’s Earth Day celebration in April, community clean-up efforts, the annual Christmas parade and yearly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day observance, the chapter president said.
“The girls will participate in the Toys for Tots program, also,” added Gwen Starr, the Delta GEMS committee chair.