The Philadelphia Chapter of Charms Inc. hosted its 23rd biennial conclave in Philadelphia from July 11–15 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Penn’s Landing. This year’s conclave, whose theme was “A Golden Toast to Philadelphia,” was attended by nearly 200 members from chapters around the county.
Philadelphia Chapter president Lynada C. Martinez said, “The entire weekend was an absolute success. We were so happy to have a chance to showcase Philadelphia. On the first night of our conclave we had a wine and cheese cocktail reception. Our out of town members were so impressed with the waterfront and totally blown away by the unanticipated, spectacular fireworks.”
Charms Inc. is a civic, cultural and social organization of women dedicated to high cultural standards and humanitarian services that will improve the quality of life for all. In 1952, LaVera Hord formed The Squawks in Pittsburgh, Pa., as an outlet for women who were interested in serving their community. In 1966, the organization received charter for expansion and later changed its name to Charms Inc. Today there are 20 chapters nationwide that fulfill the organization’s original legacy. Their motto is “Smile, help your fellow man and aspire to greater things.”
The conclave focused on recognizing outstanding leaders within the organization. Every two years, members from each of the ten city chapters are honored with the Charms of the Year (COTY) Award, which recognizes women who have actively fulfilled the mission of Charms Inc. within their community.
The “Golden Crown COTY Awards Luncheon” began with a warm welcome by Martinez. The invocation was given by Philadelphia Chapter Chaplin, Patricia Matthews. Other current officers on hand were Joyce S. Gibbs, vice president; Edita Gauthney, Harriet Reynolds Rigby, Kelly Chatman, Jene Martin, Stella B. Accoo, Evelyn Reddish-Cook, Lorraine Johnson and Beatrice Polk.
Emeritus members of the Philadelphia chapter of Charms are: Ollie Ashburne, Doris Coleburn, Florence N. Dixon and Lola Woodson.
Following a delicious lunch, there was a fabulous fashion show with hats designed by Ruby Peters of New Jersey. Other highlights of the afternoon included entertainment by Right Touch Music.
M. Elizabeth Chatman, national president of Charms Inc., made a special presentation, the 2012 National Project Award, to the Philadelphia Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence Network (PAAN). A $5,000 check was presented to the organization and accepted by Zelda White on behalf of executive director, Darryl Coates.
Other national officers from home and out of state chapters attending the conclave were: LaQuinta Parker-Perry of Durham, N.C; Loriece Glover of Miami, Fl.; Dora Smith of Dallas, Texas; Patricia Robinson of Fort Worth, Texas; Lillie Fontenot of Houston, Texas; Omega Parker of Durham, N.C.; Patricia Johnson, of Detroit, Mich.; and Mary K. Green of Dallas, Texas.
Each year, Charm of the Year (COTY) Awards are presented to Charms Inc. members who demonstrate outstanding service to their communities. There were 20 recipients from cities such as Houston, Texas , Las Vegas, Nev. and Savannah, Ga. The 2012 Coty Award recipient from the Philadelphia Chapter was Patricia Matthews. Matthews served as a dedicated English teacher with The School District of Philadelphia for 37 years. Her illustrious career has been recognized on local, state and national levels. Matthews was recognized by the National State Teachers of the Year, Pa. chapter, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a regional semi-finalist for 2003 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. In 2004, she was listed in the national publication, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.
There were also 20 community service awards presented to deserving members of the club from across the country. The distinguished winner of this year’s award was Harriet Reynolds Rigby. She is a retired educator who worked for The Philadelphia School District for 30 years. Rigby continues to be an active member of St. Therese Catholic Church, the Philadelphia chapter of Dress for Success Inc., which enables women to return to the work force, among other activities.
The 2012 Charms Inc. Conclave was planned to give “Gems,” as children of members are referred to, and “Charmers” (husbands and significant others) a chance to enjoy the great sights, sounds and culture of Philadelphia. The African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute, lunch at the Seaport Museum, the National Constitution Center, Independence Park and golfing for the Charmers made it a very busy, but enjoyable, stay in Philadelphia.
A formal dinner dance and golden anniversary ball with entertainment by Key Arts Production & Julius Brown, D.J. on Saturday evening was an elegant celebration. On Sunday, the conclave ended on a high note with many fond memories city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.
Congratulations and best wishes to the Philadelphia Charms Chapter Conclave co-chairpersons, Stella Accoo and Joyce Gibbs for their hard work, awardees and all involved.
Have a fantastic week “Out & About” everyone!