Teen members of the Montgomery County Pa. Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. hosted its first “Montco March Madness Basketball Tournament” on March 1. The primary goal of the event was to raise money for charities in the area, such as the Edward Taylor Coombs (ETC) Foundation, in an enjoyable, upbeat atmosphere. The late Edward Taylor Coombs graduated from the chapter in 2010. He was a rising sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The ETC Foundationwas established in honor of 19-year-old Coombs, an academically gifted and athletically talented young man. The foundation’s mission is to provide outstanding scholars and athletes with financial assistance to pursue their higher education goals and reach their full potential.
The tournament was the vision of chapter President Benjamin Gilbert. This year’s fundraising chair, Nile Hodges, was given the task of organizing members, ages 14-17, and coordinating the event. He assigned a hard-working, focused team to carry out the tasks at hand. Committee members who did a stellar job were: Madison Harden, Malik Farr, Natalie Hodges, Kyle Mattison, Grant Hodges, Paige Hodges, Justin Watson, Max Sanders and Chelsea Wyche, Faith Brown, Jade Kemp, Tyler Melton, John Parker and Madison Ramsey.
An intergenerational group of more than 200 supporters came out for an evening of tournament basketball, music and socializing for a great cause. Together, the teenagers designed and planned this multifaceted event, which was perfect for the entire family. As the DJ played popular hits, the games were in full swing, with spectators socializing on the sidelines. Proud parents and Jack and Jill family members were thrilled.
Dr. Edward Williams of Wyndmoor remarked, “I haven’t seen this kind of mingling and socializing of different ages since I was a kid and families had barbeques together in the park!”
When asked if he was tired and wanted a ride home after sitting in the bleachers for hours watching the games, grandparent Dean Hodges, 81, said, “No, I don’t want to leave. This is fantastic!”
While working on this project, chairman Nile Hodges kept everyone focused on the fact that in addition to creating a fun Saturday night activity for their peers, their primary mission was to raise money and serve the community. The event was opened and closed by head-referee, the Rev. Stanford Laws of Cofa Sports, Inc., who donated his time and skills to help. In a moment of silence and prayer, he commended the youths for such a positive outcome.
This was a tremendously positive example of what our African-American teenagers are doing in the community. Although this was the first annual Montco March Madness Basketball Tournament, the chapter succeeded in raising thousands of dollars for charity. Their efforts demonstrated what hard-work, positive focus and commitment to community service can accomplish. Lessons of leadership and servant-hood were also gleaned by this uniting experience. Kudos to the teens of the Montgomery County Pa. Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. on a creative, inspiring event that demonstrates their commitment to community service!
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Eta Sigma Chapter, recently hosted its 35th Annual Peanut Luncheon at the Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia.
The event celebrated the life and legacy of African-American educator, inventor and scientist Dr. George Washington Carver. The occasion also honored individuals for their outstanding career achievements and community service. Chapter president Lynette Moragne said, “We pride ourselves on a rich tradition of providing service and scholarship to the youth of Philadelphia and are committed to helping youth succeed in higher education and recognizing the achievements of African-American leaders.”
This year’s honorees were Lonnie Hunter, presented with the 2014 Black Rose Award; Bertram L. Lawson II, presented with a 2014 Black Rose Award; and Dyana Williams, recipient of the 2014 Golden Rose Award. Williams has been recognized as a force in the entertainment industry for more than three decades. In addition to her career in journalism, television production, reporting and other professional achievements, she is a committed community activist. Williams currently co-hosts “Soulful Sundays” on Radio One with Derrick Simpson.
“As a broadcaster who uses the microphone as a platform to uplift the spirit and intellect of the listeners of Radio One, Philadelphia’s Old School 100.3, it is a privilege to be a servant in our community,” Williams said. “Receiving the Golden Rose Award is a cherished honor. To be recognized along with Lonnie Hunter and Bertram Lawson heightens the experience. Also, as the daughter of a retired college professor and a proponent of education, I support the fundraising efforts of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., Alpha Eta Sigma Chapter, to assist young people in actualizing their dream of obtaining a college education.”
Hunter is the pastor of Worship at Bethany Baptist Church, a 26,000 member mega church in Lindenwold, N.J. where Bishop David G. Evans is the pastor. The dynamic minister, musician, producer and singer, among other endeavors, is currently the host of the syndicated “The Lonnie Hunter Show” on FM Radio One stations across the country. In 2010, he was honored with the Stellar Award for “Announcer of the Year.”
Lawson is well-known for his sterling career with the YMCA, which began in 1998 as a camp counselor at Philadelphia’s Columbia North Branch where he grew up. He surpassed many of his career goals and served as director of that branch for eight years.
His career path with the Y encompasses excelling in managing many programs and positively impacting membership growth. In 2012, Lawson was promoted to group vice president with senior operational leadership over the Columbia North, Christian Street and West Philadelphia YMCA’s Y Achievers Program and Diversity/Inclusion and Global Engagement initiatives.
Other members of the chapter’s executive board serving with president Moragne are Tamika Malcolm, Ebony Carter, Adrian Turpin, Tiffany Kearse, Stacey Emmanuel, Crystal Allen, La’ Keisha Pike, Charmor Hollinger and Selena Gillespie.
Chapter member Deena Weems Thornton was the mistress of ceremoniesfor this year’s luncheon. All program participants including 35th Annual Peanut Committee Luncheon chairperson, Cheryl Satchell and committee members; Traci Bradley Allen, Sarah Brittman, Stacey Emmanuel, Selena Gillespie, Tamika Malcolm, Lynette Moragne, Naomi Strange, Chamor Thomas and Tamika D. Young did a wonderful job of making this another memorable event.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
The American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania’s 57th annual Philadelphia Heart Ball was attended by more than 700 supporters on Feb. 15. The elegant black-tie affair took place at The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
Each year, community members, medical professionals and corporate leaders gather at this signature event to celebrate the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association (AHA). The association also honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the organization’s mission: “To build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all we do.”
The 2014 Heart of Philadelphia Award recipient was George V. Hager Jr. and the Edward S. Cooper M.D. Award was presented to Dr. Morris Kotler. Hager is the CEO of Genesis HealthCare. He is referred to as, “A leader in the healthcare community who is driven by creating a company with purpose, mission and compassion.” Dr. Kotler is chairman emeritus of the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at Einstein Medical Center and professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University. He is known as a “renowned physician as well as an outstanding teacher and researcher.”
I had the opportunity to speak with Cooper, who is the first African American to serve as national president of the AHA and a world-renowned physician and leader in the treatment of hypertension and stroke. He expressed regret that he was unable to attend this years’ ball and urged widespread support from all. He remarked, “AHA and its subsidiary the American Stroke Association do a tremendous job in educating the American people about the causes, prevention and treatment of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. This is very important, because heart disease is the number one killer and stroke is the number four in our country. Underserved minorities, especially African Americans, are disproportionately affected. We are fortunate to have organizations like the AHA to lead the fight to control cardiovascular diseases and stroke, especially now, during our current obesity epidemic, which has dramatically increased risks for Americans.”
I asked Loraine Ballard Morrill, news and community affairs director of Clear Channel Media News and Entertainment, about her consistent support of the AHA. Ballard Morrill, who attended the ball with Gilberto Gonzalez, remarked, “Ever since I found out that heart disease is the number one killer of women, I’ve been devoted to supporting the American Heart Association and its Go Red campaign. Each year I’m inspired by the people honored at the Heart Ball, both the doctors and the survivors.”
Highlights of the evening included an enjoyable reception, silent auction, dinner program, live auction led by Steven Katz and great entertainment. Paul Bach, 2014 Heart Ball chair, extended a warm welcome to all and remarks were made by Dr. Mariell Jessup and Derek Fitzgerald. This year’s mistress of ceremonies was NBC10 news anchor Jacqueline London.
Just a few of those seen “Out & About” at the 2014 American Heart Ball were Kim Boddy, Beverly Richards, Marsha Walker, Lydia Henry, Lisa Hawkins, Shay and Kenyon Dugan, Deena Weems Thornton and Anthony Thornton, Ellen Coggins, Darlene Butler, Tiffany Johnson, Tyson Ayers, Laura Belanger and Dee Reed.
Congratulations and thank you to all involved!
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!
Afi Kai Bryant and Marcus Frank were married in an intimate, evening ceremony on Nov. 15, 2013. The Rev. Joseph Robinson, of The Church of East Los Angeles, married the couple at the Springfield Country Club in Delaware County. Afi was given away in marriage by her brother, Kareem Bryant.
The bride was absolutely beautiful in her white, mermaid, full-length gown with a court train. The front was covered with embellishments and the rear view featured an elegant corseted back. Her bouquet consisted of 24 white and red long-stemmed roses wrapped in white satin. The groom wore a custom-made crimson jacket, white shirt and red bow tie — the colors of his beloved Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Afi, 35, is a native of Philadelphia and is the daughter of Millicent Bryant and the late Alfred Bryant Jr. She attended Philadelphia public schools and graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. Afi attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City with a double major in Dance Education and Early Childhood Education. Shortly after graduating from college, Afi performed in the Broadway hit musical “Aida,” starring Toni Braxton, in New York. She also performed in “The Lion King” on Broadway. Afi earned her MBA at University of Phoenix while living in Los Angeles. She has recently returned to her career in education and is a graduate employment advisor at The Art Institute of California in Silicon Valley California.
Marcus, 37, affectionately known as “Slim,” is the son of Minnie Ashley and Johnny Paul Frank. He is a native of Shreveport, La., and attended Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La. He earned his bachelor’s in therapeutic recreation and leisure sports and went on to earn his master’s in social work from California State University, Long Beach. Marcus currently works for The Department of Veteran Affairs as a clinical social worker, in Palo Alto, Calif.
The Wedding Party
The bride’s attendants were Loren Clifford Hamilton, who served as matron of honor, and her bridesmaids were Charise Buyers, Heather Bryant, Chavva Bryant, Kristen Cuthbert and Danesha Smith. James Smith was the groom’s best man, and Murphy Cheatham and Andre Smith were groomsmen. Other members of the wedding party were Kira Clifford and Eugene Butcher.
Afi and Marcus enjoyed a fabulous reception in the ballroom of The Springfield Country Club. Afi’s professional dance skills were perfectly suited to her husband’s. Guests were in awe as they danced their first dance as husband and wife to “Amazing” by Anthony Hamilton. Marcus and fellow Kappa members also performed a series of amazing stomps and serenades to everyone’s delight. Kira Clifford caught the gorgeous bouquet and Maurice Smith caught the coveted garter.
How They Met — The Proposal
Marcus and Afi met in June 2008 at the Beverly Center Mall in Beverly Hills, Calif. They actually met on the escalator. Afi shared, “Marcus was going up and I was heading down the escalator. We locked eyes and began to chat at the bottom of the escalator for nearly an hour.” The couple planned their first date for the very next day and have been together ever since.
Four years passed and on Christmas Day, the couple was visiting Marcus’ mother in Shreveport. Afi and Marcus had spent many holidays at his mother’s home, so Afi never suspected anything unusual. They headed to visit a close family friend for an early Christmas dinner.
“I was sitting in the living room, and Slim and his mother were both in the back bedroom. Slim called for me. As I headed toward the back bedroom, I noticed that all the lights were on in the hallway and saw that Slim was on bended knee. His mother was recording the moment with her video camera,” said Afi.
The bride-to-be began to cry. Afi shared that she can remember his exact words: “We have been through so much over these past years, and I would do anything for you. I love you so much and would like nothing more than for you to be my wife. Will you marry me?” And of course, Afi’s answer was yes.
Reflections of the Bride
“Our wedding day was a day that I had dreamed about,” said Afi. “I woke up that day knowing that I would be someone’s wife and that I was also embarking on a new life, a life that I would cherish and adore. I had a clear understanding of how to be a wife, how to love and respect my soon-to-be husband. This day was also a day to reflect and appreciate all the love that Slim and I had around us. Seeing all of our family and friends in one place was so overwhelming. This day was certainly the best day of my life. We danced and laughed the entire night.”
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Mr. and Mrs. (Afi Kai) Marcus Frank!
Joseph and Sheryl Pailin of Abington, Pa., are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Whitney Pailin, 28, to Christian Rhodes, 30. Christian is the son of Henry Rhodes and Sonja Burley Rhodes of Concord, N.C.
Whitney and Christian met at a mutual friend’s cookout shortly after Whitney moved to the Washington, D.C., area. A few months later, Christian invited Whitney to try a D.C. favorite, “chicken and mumbo sauce.” The couple continued to enjoy dating. In July 2013, Christian proposed to Whitney on a family vacation. He did so before her family on a beautiful sail boat right off the peaceful shores of Martha’s Vineyard.
Whitney earned her undergraduate degree from Villanova University and her master’s degree from LaSalle University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in psychology from Howard University while working as a special assistant to the director of Prince George’s County Department of Social Services in Maryland.
Christian is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from American University. Christian moved to the Washington, D.C., area following his undergraduate studies to pursue his interest in politics and education. During the past seven years, he has enjoyed working on several political campaigns and has helped to shape education policy for Prince George’s County, Md., while working as an education policy advisor to the Prince George’s County Executive.
The happy couple will be united in matrimony on July 4 by the Rev. Charles W. Quann at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Springhouse, Pa. The ceremony will be followed by a reception at Blue Bell Country Club. The date has a very special meaning for Whitney and Christian. It is the date they met in 2011 when the fireworks began!
Congratulations and very best wishes are extended to Whitney and Christian!