PHOTOS — Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presents Port Arthur awards during May Week celebrations

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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The Port Arthur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority presented its annual May Week Awards at the Memorial High School Auditorium.

The sorority recognized citizens who provided outstanding service that benefited residents in Greater Port Arthur.

Community awards were presented to Rev. Charlotte Moses, LaToya and Don Holloway Jr., Larneka Lavalais LPC PLLC, Dr. Ashley Mayfield-Shelton and Vivian Ballou & Legacy CDC.

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Here’s a look at the winners:

  • Rev. Charlotte Moses – Religion/Human Rights

Rev. Charlotte Moses is recognized for founding and leading a food distribution ministry known as “Charlotte’s Cupboard” through Christian Faith Missionary Baptist Church and Southeast Texas Food Bank. Charlotte’s Cupboard began in 2014 and continues to serve the Port Arthur community.

The ministry also serves families by appointment in cases of emergency. The purpose of this ministry is to eliminate hunger and inadequate nutrition. Charlotte’s Cupboard is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit food pantry that works in partnership with Southeast Texas Food Bank. It is free and open to the community on the third Saturday of every month, whereas volunteers tirelessly work to meet the nutritional needs of 200-300 families within the community.

  • LaToya and Don Holloway Jr. – Education Award

LaToya and Don Holloway Jr. serve the youth of Port Arthur by providing various opportunities for education, empowerment and mentorship through their nonprofit.

Their goal is to positively impact the lives of Southeast Texas youth while providing a blueprint to the future. Victorious Youth Kings and Queens, respectively founded in 2014 and 2017, is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit focused on helping the youth of the Port Arthur community live a successful, victorious life. The group facilitates mentoring and education sessions, hosts exciting community-building events, and organizes fundraisers to award several area high school seniors with scholarships each year.

This year, Victorious Youth Kings and Queens have hosted educational seminars and workshops on topics including: Creating a Positive Support System-Building a Path to Success, Constructing Vision Boards, Financial Literacy (Parts 1 & 2), How to Build a Garden, and Armor Up for Empowerment at Memorial High School. Their 3rd Annual Scholarship Awards Gala was held May 11.

  • Larneka Lavalais LPC PLLC – Medicine/Science/Technology Award

Larneka Lavalais donates her time to render professional mental health services that improve the quality of life of local citizens. As a licensed professional counselor, Larneka empowers others to overcome personal challenges by offering effective outpatient psychological diagnoses. In 2023, Lavalais was voted the Best Mental Health Specialist by Port Arthur News readers.

As a licensed professional counselor, she offers an array of mental health services to individuals in Southeast Texas and surrounding areas. Free monthly group meetings are held in support of those experiencing various challenges, including grief and trauma, and for queer/transgender people of color. In January, Lavalais facilitated a free mental health workshop on self-injurious behavior at Port Arthur Public Library. This summer, Lavalais also plans to offer free therapy sessions for youth (ages 12+) experiencing anxiety, depression and trauma.

Lavalais also awards scholarships to deserving students and supervises many counseling interns.

  • Dr. Ashley Mayfield-Shelton Community Service/ Philanthropic Award

Dr. Ashley Mayfield-Shelton has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to promoting human welfare and supporting women who have experienced the loss of infants or pregnancies through her organization, A Nurse’s Blessing.

As the founder of A Nurse’s Blessing, she created a supportive network that provides emotional support, resources and assistance to women during their time of need.

Shelton has demonstrated commitment to nurturing future generations of caregivers through her creation of a scholarship fund for students pursuing nursing degrees and certifications.

Her outstanding contributions to promoting human welfare and supporting women in our community serves as an inspiration.

  • Vivian Ballou & Legacy CDC – Business/Politics Award

Vivian Ballou is the founder of Legacy Community Development Corporation. Legacy CDC is a nonprofit that is founded on the principle of helping low- to moderate-income families achieve financial stability and build generational wealth through homeownership.

Over the past 12 years, Vivian has worked developing affordable housing, providing financial education and advocating for programs that benefit low- to moderate income-families.

Her most cherished professional accomplishment has been breathing new life into the once dormant downtown area of Port Arthur.

Through Legacy CDC, more than 30 new homes have been constructed: bringing families and businesses back to the area.

In addition to the co-development of a 120-unit multi-family complex (Renaissance at Lakeshore). Vivian selected the name of the development to represent the rebirth of the area. Her company offers free financial literacy workshops to middle and high school students.

  • The 2024 sole scholarship recipient is: Miracle Queen

Miracle is the daughter of Felice Queen and Mitchell Queen Jr. She attends Wilson Early College High School. She plans to attend Prairie View A&M University and major in Engineering. Miracle’s motto is to “keep pushing, even when there seems to be no way out of a situation, God has a plan for you.”

  • The 2024 Ideal Students are graduates of Wilson Early College High School:

Ideal Students from Wilson Early College High School are Kaylei Ballard, Corleone Brown, Madison Chance, Janyia Felder, Khaylie Gipson, Timothy Gloston Jr., Jaren Haynes, Ashaun Hill, Nathan Keller, Hayden Mosley, Jayln Nabors, Mia Paddio, Miracle Queen and Lynnetra Taylor.

  • Senior Delta GEMS are Khaylie Gipson, Jania Iles, Jasmine McCall, Kelcye Rivers, Miracle Queen and Kharma Sallier.

The Port Arthur Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority takes great pride in honoring Latricia Coleman for 25 years of membership and Virginia Ervin, Maline Lockette-Williams and Rosenia Phillip for 50 years of membership.

Coleman was initiated in the Spring of 1999 through the Eta Psi Chapter at Lamar University-Beaumont.

Ervin was initiated in the Spring of 1974 through the Port Arthur Chapter.

Lockette-Williams was initiated in the Fall of 1973 through the Eta Psi Chapter at Lamar University-Beaumont.

Phillip was initiated in the Spring of 1974 through the Lambda Nu Chapter at Paul Quinn College in Waco. They have all remained steadfast in maintaining service and sisterhood.

The chapter is also honoring 10 members for individual accomplishments this sororal year.

They are: Tania Augustine, graduated with Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice; Shannon Sams, graduated with Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems, Dr. Brenda Brooks Coleman, retired from Port Arthur Independent School District with 35 years of service; Val Tizeno, retired from the City of Port Arthur as city attorney with a total of almost 25 years of service in government; Dr. Carkendra Griffin, retired from PAISD with 28 years of service, Lacy Brown, promotion to Chief Sanitarian with the City of Houston; Adrienne Lott, promotion to Director of Communications Services with PAISD; Hollye Williams, promotion to Senior Process Specialist; and Dr. Denita Jones, 2023 SETX 40 Under 40 Honoree.

Mekisha Bazile is Port Arthur Alumnae Chapter’s president and Jean Babineaux-Bergeron is the May Week chairperson.