On Saturday, April 13, 2013 the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., in collaboration with numerous community partners, presented the Tenth Annual Young African American Women's Conference (YAAWC) for girls grades 7 to 12 at Pasadena City College (PCC). The theme was "Imagine Yourself . . . " and the event provided an opportunity for approximately 250 girls and their parents or guardians to explore their special talents and qualities; identify resources and tools to succeed in college; heighten their awareness of career options; and learn about relevant life issues. All participants received conference materials, numerous give-a-ways, continental breakfast, lunch and several chances to win great door prizes.
Ms. Ellen Ligons, President of the Pasadena Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. opened the conference with a greeting from the sorority, and PCC President & Superintendent Dr. Mark Rocha welcomed the audience to the campus. Greetings were, also, presented by, Ms. Renatta Cooper, President of PUSD Board of Trustees; Ms. Jacque Robinson, City of Pasadena District One Councilmember; Elise Mallory of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and Mr. Ron Matthews of the Pasadena Branch of the NAACP presented a commendation to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. on behalf of Supervisor Michael Antonovich. Ms. Allisonne Crawford Airitam led the group singing Lift Every Voice and Sing. Dr. Rema Reynolds, Assistant Professor in the School of Education, Counseling and Psychology Departments at Azusa Pacific University served as the keynote speaker. She delivered a persuasively motivational address, which included guidance to respect everyone, the importance of letting people know how to treat you, the reality that you get as good as you give, and carry yourself as the queen that you are. The audience was completely engaged in her remarks and demonstrated their appreciation with a standing ovation.
The conference included numerous workshops related to the goals of the event and were presented by experts in their respective field. The career workshops offered information about becoming your own boss; careers in sports; Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, entertainment, and the legal profession. Life skill workshops covered financial aid for college, the importance of a mentor, body image, self-esteem, identifying healthy & unhealthy relationships, effects of substance abuse, nutrition and exercise, skills for cyber safety and ways to cope with stress. Parent workshops offered ways to raise a financially savvy kid, and promoting healthy lifestyles for teenagers. Finally, the conference closed with a lively session of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Initiative, dedicated to address the problem of childhood obesity and promote physical activity.
Participants also had the experience of visiting exhibitors from the community, business and education entities to discuss employment opportunities, qualifications for certain careers and resources for educational, career and lifestyle choices. Exhibitors included: Pasadena City College, YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, Stepping in the Right Direction, City of Pasadena, Alta/Pasa Community Improvement Center, Planned Parenthood of Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, Social Security Administration, Twin of a Kind, Los Angeles Sparks; Peace Over Violence, NAACP, Altadena Branch, NAACP, Pasadena Branch, One United Bank and City Year.
Sponsors and partners making the day possible included: Pasadena City College, Kaiser Permanente, Sempra Energy - Southern California Gas Company, Pasadena Delta Foundation, Inc., Assemblymembers Chris Holden and Mike Gatto, State Senator Carol Liu, Former Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, James Ward - Workfit Physical Therapy, YWCA of Pasadena - Foothill Valley, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Pasadena Unified School District, Metropolitan Community Acton Services Corporation (YAAMC), Jackie Robinson Community Center, and the Pasadena Journal.
The Tenth Annual Young African American Women's Conference Planning Committee was made up of a group of very committed community volunteers, led by Co-Chairs – Debra Ward-Samad and Rochelle Watson-Howard. Photography by Francesca Rhodes. YAAWC – Dr. Rema Reynolds delivering keynote speech. YAAWC Workshop. YAAWC Exhibitor with participants. YAAWC Let's Move Session.