By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
The National Council of Negro Women Tidewater Section will host its annual scholarship luncheon on June 15 from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. at Traditions Catering and Events, located at 1201 Clubhouse Dr., Chesapeake.
For nearly two decades, the organization has hosted its annual scholarship luncheon. The organization awards two scholarships ranging from $500-$1,000 to two recent high school female graduates. Tickets cost $45.
“You still have time to buy tickets up until May 26,” said Betty Jones, chair of the luncheon. “You should come to the banquet because you will help support the young ladies who will receive the two scholarships and enroll in school this fall.”
The organization has about 35 to 40 members including Janice Peters, the 2017-2018 president, who has been a member for about 10 years.
“Each year, I enjoy raising funds for young African American women and helping them continue their education beyond high school,” Peters said. “Through the years, we have had scholarship winners from all of the high schools in Portsmouth and Chesapeake. So you should come to the luncheon this year because you will get the opportunity to see what we are about and to help us provide funds for future scholarship winners.”
Since 2000, the organization has awarded 25 scholarships to area high school seniors. In addition to sponsoring events that fund the two scholarships, the organization sponsors humanitarian projects throughout the year aiming to honor its founder, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, who launched the organization in 1935 in her home in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Bethune’s vision is exceptional today for two reasons. First, she launched the organization five years after the start of the Great Depression aiming to create a comprehensive national organization that would provide leadership, guidance, and social and political empowerment to African American women.
Second, African Americans experienced the highest unemployment rate during the 1930s since they were often “Last hired, first fired,” and already relegated to low paying jobs. They had less of a cushion to fall back on during the Great Depression. Against this backdrop, NCNW women raised and continue to raise scholarship funds.
“We also help people in our community,” said Doreen Larkin, 2018-2019 president of the Tidewater organization. “We sponsor quite a few projects each year. For example, we give school supplies to a selected school. We feed the hungry at the Oasis. We adopt a family in need. We deliver holiday baskets to the elderly. We provide toiletries to a nursing home. We hold membership drives and raffles to raise funds for our community work.”
Larkin said, “Not only am I inviting you to our luncheon but I am also extending an invitation for you to come out and join this wonderful organization that aids people in our community.”
Larkin said the local scholarship luncheon dates back to Dr. Bethune’s efforts to promote education. “She challenged us to accept responsibility for our young people by promoting a thirst for education,” Larkin said. “We accepted this challenge by establishing a scholarship program under the direction of Elois F. Butler in the year 2000.”
Specifically, the organization awards the $1000 Joyce Gould Education Award. Named after a local (now-deceased) member, this scholarship honors Gould’s faithful membership and participation in the organization for numerous years.
...see NCNW, page B-4