Transforming lives and impacting communities.This is the belief from which VSU’s chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. operates and as the Thanksgiving holidays rolled around the DST found the perfect opportunity to demonstrate these values.
“It was important that we made a difference, and we wanted to give back to the community,” Quintella Bohannon, vice president of DST and a senior accounting major, said.
DST, a nonprofit organization that strives to operate on the principles of sisterhood, scholarship, and service chose to apply those principles and provide a Thanksgiving meal to two families in need.
“We wanted to help families who maybe weren’t fortunate enough to be with their loved ones, or have the funds to purchase food,” Bohannon said.
Ashley Cave, another member of DST, felt excited upon hearing about another opportunity to help out.
“When Quintella first brought it to our chapter meeting, I was eager because that’s something that we always wanted to do,” Cave, a senior nursing major, said. According to Bohannon,that was when the inspirational idea of “Adopt of Family” was put into effect. “We came up with the idea to bless these families with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.”
After searching different restaurants and grocery stores, Bohannon stumbled upon Honey Baked Ham.
“I spoke to the general manager, and he was more than willing to donate,” Bohannon said. “ He donated six sides and two glazed hams for free.”
Bohannon felt it was important to pick a center that wasn’t popular in Valdosta.
“Everybody knows about the LAMP shelter and The Haven, but we wanted to impact a facility that many people didn’t know about,” Bohannon said. “The Pines Family Campus was ideal.”
The Pines Family Campus, an intensive outpatient treatment program, specializes in the aid of women who have suffered from substance abuse issues.
Erica Jones, a 27 year old single mother from Miami, Fla. came to the Pines Family Campus after suffering through the addicting habit of Marijuana.
“When I came here they told me all the rules and regulations, which helped me out a lot with my four children because they monitor me,” Jones said. “It’s really a good thing.”
According to Jones, education was her motivation to do better after having her fourth child, “I really just wanted to get on my GED and learn a trade”, Jones said.
Jones felt appreciative from the service given by the DST.
“I thank them for trying to help me because I never had that,” Jones said. “I’m trying to take a step forward, not get knocked back.
The Pines Family campus has also yielded a testimony to Rashauna Mincy, another single mother formerly addicted to marijuana.
“I came to get clean and get stability for me and my two kids,” Mincy said. “When I found out I was pregnant with my third child I figured it was time for me to grow up.”
Mincy went on to describe her progress at Pines Family Campus.
“I’ve been clean for three months,” Mincy said. “I’m able to take care of my kids the way I’m supposed to because I now have structure.”
Not only does Pines Family Campus provide substance abusers with a place to stay but offers helpful programs to monitor and improve their condition.
Carol Berry, a substance abuse counselor at the Pines Family Campus, provides individual and group counseling in various areas affected by substance abuse including life skills and parenting.
“All groups we offer are mandatory, especially at phase one,” Berry said.
According to Berry, all residents must undergo a three phase program to help rehabilitate them.
“In the first phase the residents are not allowed to participate in outside activity, it’s an establishing period getting them used to having to be goal oriented,” Berry said.
After phase one is completed in phase two residents are allowed to find a job as well as participate in educational activities.
“Phase three is preparing them to transition them out of the program and off the campus because it’s only a year program,” Berry said.
Although two families were blessed during Thanksgiving, Bohannon emphasized the need for more volunteers at the Pines Family Campus.
“I wanted people on campus to find out about this facility, “ Bohannon said. “They need more hands to help out and volunteer.”