Joliet Area/South Suburban Alumnae Chapter

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Chapter History

Seventeen dynamic Delta women chartered the Joliet Area/South Suburban Alumnae Chapter (JASSAC). These pioneers worked together in the south suburban school districts of Cook and Will counties in Illinois as well as in other professions. With a very distinct vision in mind, a new chapter was born, the Joliet Area Alumnae Chapter, on January 12, 1974.

Charter Members
Leona Barlow Regina Carter Curtistine Holt-Miller*
Mattie Barnes Ruby Childs-Stewart Jean Ingram
Ernestine Berry-Beck Fulgham Fern Dunn* Evie Williams-Whitted
Jean Blackmon Mary Greenwood Yvonne Wright-Wells
Clarice Boswell Helen Hatchett Delores Yeary*
Dawn Brooks-Ellis Annie Hollins* * Omega Omega Chapter

Under the leadership of Jean Ingram in 1975, the chapter worked hard in their beginning years. They took on various programs and projects such as voter registration, a Thanksgiving basket giveaway, and fundraisers for the YMCA building fund. During this time, the sorors also started working toward establishing an undergraduate chapter at Lewis University in Joliet, IL.

As leadership changed, the chapter continued their fundraising efforts, enabling them to make significant contributions to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the YMCA Youth and Government Organization, and the United Negro College Fund. They also made it a point to work with unwed mothers and offer health options during their Health Fairs.

In 2003, the name Joliet Area Alumnae was officially changed to the Joliet Area/ South Suburban Alumnae Chapter in order to encompass the entire service area. Also at this time, the chapter added a non-profit arm, Jassac Charitable Foundation, Inc., which functions under its own Board of Directors. In 1975, the chapter also sponsored their first Ebony Fashion Fair Show under the leadership of Gwendolyn Bowen. This show was a major fundraising effort for chapter scholarships. Through this effort, the chapter has awarded over $150,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors in South Suburban Cook County and the Joliet area. The chapter also sponsored the Umoja Step Show.

As the sisterhood continues to grow, the continued focus on the Sorority’s Five Point Thrust has also grown. The chapter provides support to two Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) sites, St. Irenaeus Catholic Church in Park Forest, IL, and New Faith Baptist Church in Matteson, IL. There also was a partnership with Habitat for Humanity where the chapter helped in the construction of several houses in the South suburbs. Mentoring programs have also been implemented and continue which serves at-risk girls through the Delta Academy and Delta GEMS programs and boys through E.M.B.O.D.I. (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence)

The chapter fulfills children’s Christmas wishes through the Breakfast with Santa program. This key program distributes over 500 toys to local children, while they enjoy “Breakfast with Santa”. In 2005, the chapter held its first Delta Expo at Lincoln Mall in Matteson, IL. The Expo brought together all of the Five Point Thrust in one event. This has been duplicated several times through a Women’s Symposium and Kindness In Service through Sisterhood (K.I.S.S.) with 100 Acts of Kindness in one day in our service area.

Each year, the chapter has worked to create a program that expounds on the Sorority’s Five Point Programmatic Thrust.

Over the past twelve years, JASSAC has created and developed a myriad of other innovative programs. In 2009, the JASSAC Step Team was established, a competition team, marking the first time in chapter history that the chapter had an official step team committee. After delivering a memorable performance at the 2008 JASSAC Umoja Step Show, the chapter was asked to compete in the Homecoming Step Show at the University of Illinois-Urbana. After claiming the first place title, sorors knew that they had what it took to be a competitive team. Since 2008, the Step Team has gone to win several first-place titles, in which all proceeds have gone to benefit the chapter’s Scholarship program. However, the most monumental performance came at the 2010 49th National Convention Step Show in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chosen as 1 of only 5 teams to represent Delta in the National Convention Step Show, sorors delivered an impressive performance entitled Crimson Karate. The JASSAC Step Team has gone on to compete in other step shows and in the state of IL and has often been categorized as the “Best Step Team – Sorority” in the Midwest.

In 2010, the chapter successfully implemented a new fundraising effort, the Crimson and Crème Pageant former known as Little Miss DST Pageant. In ten years, the chapter has had over 250 participants. This pageant, unlike traditional pageants where its participants compete in the areas of talent and physical appearance, has a different mission and purpose. The pageant fosters positive interaction between young girls ages 5-13 by educating them in topics such as CPR, nutrition, and exercise. Participants are able to develop their self-esteem while developing new friendships.

The chapter has won several awards.

Year Events or Organizations Awards
2002 46th National Convention –  Atlanta, GA Illinois Chapter of the Year
2004 47th National Conference –

Las Vegas, NV

National Award for Delta Academy
2005 42nd Midwest Regional Conference – Columbus, OH 3rd Place SEE (Science and Everyday Experience) Award
2008 49th National Convention – Orlando, FL 1st Place – National Chapter Implementation Award – DST

1st Place – DST Homeownership Initiative

1st Place – Regional Chapter Implementation Award – DST Homeownership Initiative

Project Ace Award – JASSAC and Mu Theta (jointly)

2009 Midwest Regional Conference-

Charleston, WV

I Promise To Vote Award
2010 Pan-Hellenic Council of Chicago

50th National Convention –

New Orleans, LA

Extra Large Sorority Chapter of the Year

Economic Development Programming/Red Fashion Show

Regional Collegiate Chapter of the Year/Diabetes Awareness,

HIV Aids Walk

2011 45th Midwest Regional Conference- Rosemont, IL 1st Place- International Awareness and Involvement

1st Place- Economic Development

2013 51st National Convention-

Washington, D.C.

1st Place – Step team


Midwest Regional Conference-

Louisville, KY

Proclamation – City of Joliet, IL

Proclamation – Will County, IL

3rd Place – EMBODI Program

3rd Place – International Awareness and Involvement

Outstanding Community Service (May 20th)

Outstanding Community Service (May 15th)

2015 Urban League – Joliet Chapter


52nd National Convention –

Houston, TX


NAACP- Joliet Branch

Community Service Award

2nd Place – Step Team

2nd Place – International Awareness and Involvement

2nd Place – Physical and Mental Health

3rd Place – Political Awareness and Involvement

Community Service Award for KISS and BWS

Homeowners Initiative

Chapter Implementation Award

2016 47th Midwest Regional Conference- Indianapolis, IN 1st Place – Step Team

2nd Place- Chapter of the Year (Large Alumnae Chapter)

2nd Place – Educational Development (Large Alumnae Chapter)

2nd Place – ERT (Emergency Response Team) – Be Delta Ready

M3 Innovative Program

2017 53rd National Convention –

Las Vegas, NV


Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity

National Chapter of the Year – Collegiate Transition Task Force

2nd Place – Risk Management Manual

3rd Place Step Team and 1st Place Online Peoples’ Choice

3rd Place – S.E.E. Award Community Service Award


Recognition Award –Chapter of the Year for Breakfast with Santa

2018 48th Midwest Regional Conference- Cincinnati, OH 2nd Place M3 Award During 2017-18 Programming Year


54th National Convention-

New Orleans, LA


NPHCC -Sankofa Award

President’s Vision Award “Joy In Our Sisterhood”

1st Place – ERT (Emergency Response Team) – Large Chapter

1st Place – Political Awareness and Involvement – Large Chapter

Chapter of the Year

2020 49th Midwest Regional Conference – 1st Virtual


Harvey 152 Foundation

Founders Day

NPHCC Sankofa Award

2nd Place – Economic Development (Large Alumnae Chapter)

3rd Place – Demetra Kirksey, the Delta Dear of the Midwest Region

Blessings in a Backpack

Domestic Violence Exemplary Program

Outstanding Program of the Year – Regional Day of Service and Divine Nine Legacy of Service Award to Soror Tracey Henry

Past Chapter Presidents

1974-1975 Jean Ingram 1983 – 1988 Abigail Phillips 2007-2011 Valerie Sims-Rucker
1975 -1977 Curtistine Holt Miller* 1988 – 1991 Gwendolyn Bowen 2011- 2015 Carolyn Dishmon
1977-1978 Dawn Ellis 1991-1995 Mary Newton Rose 2015-2019 Kimberly Rowe-Barney
1978-1980 Gwendolyn Bowen 1995- 1999 Arnetta Cornelius 2019-2021 LaCulia “Jackie” Pope
1980-1981 Yvonne Wells 1999-2003 Juanita Floyd
1981-1983 Clara Lee 2003-2007 Tracey Bradley

National Elected Positions and Appointments:  Clara Lee, member, served on the National Housing & Property Committee (1975-1979); Gwen Bowen, member, served on the National Membership Committee, member National Golden Life Committee and National Nominating Committee (1979-1983);  Lorine Samuels, elected as National Treasurer (1979-1983) and a member on the National Finance Committee, Chairman of the National Economic Development Council, National Constitution & Bylaws Committees;  Inez Tolden, member, served on the National Nominating Committee (1979-1983); Curtistine Holt-Miller, member, served on the National Social Action Committee (1988-1992);  Octavia G. Matthews, co-chair of the National Constitution and By-laws Committee (2013-Present), served as a member on the National Finance Committee and as a past National 2nd Vice President.  Tracy L. Bradley served as a member on the National Nominating Committee and currently serves as a member on Reclamation Project, a subcommittee of the National Membership Services Committee 2018-Present; Helen M. Hill elected as a member of the National Finance Committee (2016-2020).

Midwest Regional Elected Positions and Appointments:   Arnetta Cornelius, member to Membership Services Committee (1979-1983); Octavia G. Matthews, past Midwest Regional Director (2007-2009) has served as the Midwest Regional Social Action Coordinator; Tracy L. Bradley, Illinois State Coordinator (2007-2009); Demetra A. Kirksey, Illinois State Journalist (2007-2009) and Illinois Coordinator for the Delta Dears (2014-2018);  Zezella Edwards-Davis, Illinois State Secretary (2007-2009); Rev.  Dr. Alise D. Barrymore, Midwest Regional Chaplain (2012-2015); Yvette Barrett, member, Regional Special Project Committee (2014-2018); Gwendolyn Buie, member, Information, Communication and Technology Committee (2014-2018), currently serves as Co-Coordinator, Special Events (2018-Present); Kim Rowe-Barney, member, Risk Management Committee (2014-2018); Marcie Wilson, member, Chaplain’s Council (2014-2018);  Aisha Barnes, Co-Coordinator of the Information, Communication and Technology Committee (2018-Present); Carolyn Dishmon, member, Chaplain’s Council (2018-Present); Fontella Long, Illinois Coordinator for Program, Planning and Development (2018-Present),  Natalie Mason, Journalist (2018-Present) and Courtney Alexander, member Information Communication and Technology Committee (2020-Present), and Rachel Jackson, Illinois Coordinator for Collegiate Connection (2020-Present).

JASSAC continues to strive and attain for Delta.

Joliet Area/South Suburban Alumnae Chapter – Service Area

The chapter service area is comprised of the following 47 communities:

·       Alsip ·       Glenwood ·       Orland Park
·       Blue Island ·       Harvey ·       Park Forest
·       Burnham ·       Hazel Crest ·       Phoenix
·       Calumet City ·       Hickory Hills ·       Posen
·       Calumet Park ·       Homewood ·       Richton Park
·       Chicago Heights ·       Joliet ·       Riverdale
·       Country Club Hills ·       Lansing ·       Robbins
·       Crest Hill ·       Lynwood ·       Sauk Village
·       Crestwood ·       Matteson ·       Shorewood
·       Crete ·       Markham ·       South Chicago Heights
·       Dolton ·       Midlothian ·       South Holland
·       Dixmoor ·       Monee ·       Steger
·       East Hazel Crest ·       New Lenox ·       Thornton
·       Flossmoor ·       Oak Forest ·       Tinley Park
·       Ford Heights ·       Olympia Fields ·       University Park
·       Frankfort ·       Orland Hills