Gamma Xi Phi Serves Rural Northeastern North Carolina
The Beta Lambda Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi distributed self-care kits, including adult coloring books, crayons, and colored pencils, to 62 households in rural Northeastern North Carolina from Saturday, December 19, 2020, through Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
This project, nationally called Art for All, allows chapters of Gamma Xi Phi to assist the community in an artistic way. In this case, Beta Lambda facilitated creativity in each participating member of the community by providing accessible creative tools that any adult could use.
The program also focused on mental health and wellness. The fraternity, which pays special attention to depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention, inserted mental health resources into each gift bag. The hand-outs included steps for how to seek help in a mental or substance abuse crisis in Northampton County and in Halifax County.
“It’s gratifying to have contributed in some small measure to the relief of stress in our community,” said Carolyn Darden-Stutely, Fall 2020 initiate of Beta Lambda.
According to the fraternity-provided literature, adult coloring books have many benefits, including stress reduction, anxiety relief, brain exercise, and mindfulness. They can also provide positive distraction and displace negative emotions.
Supplies, distributed in Gamma Xi Phi’s signature purple bags, were the Multicultural and standard color brands of crayons and colored pencils from Crayola and other companies, as well as manual pencil sharpeners. The chapter hoped to ensure that members of the community had a wide variety of skin tones represented in the coloring books.
The adult coloring books included several titles by African American author Latoya Nicole and multicultural coloring book specialist Diana Murray. Latoya Nicole’s coloring books featured African American women in various situations, such as HBCU (Historically Black College and University) students and as businesswomen. Diana Murray’s title African Fashions is one of several coloring books focused on women from around the world. Other titles were the Back in the Days Coloring Book, based on photography by Jamel Shabazz, and the Hip-Hop Coloring Book by Mark 563.
“It’s important for all members of the community to find peace and happiness in their own way, and maybe adult coloring will be something new for many of our neighbors,” National President and Beta Lambda Chapter member Rashid Darden said. “The holidays can be a depressing time, and we want folks to know we’re thinking about them—and their mental health—in an artistic way.”
The items were provided by members of Beta Lambda, Carolyn Darden-Stutely and Rashid Darden, as well as their friends and supporters.
The members hand delivered the bags to communities in Scotland Neck and Conway. Several bags were also left at the Conway Post Office. Enough donations were received that two Northampton County elementary schools, Willis Hare and Central were gifted with a few dozen boxes of Multicultural Crayons, each.
Beta Lambda is especially thankful to the following donors:
Sister La Toya Hankins of Theta Chapter in Raleigh/Durham, Debby Churchman, David Etheridge, London Foeller, Cicely Garrett, Lakeeda Gillespie, Lisa Green, Peirce Hammond, N. Rashad Jones, Karen Kassekert, Monique Liston, Kalshelia Lloyd, Jasmine Marshall, Lenore Matthews, Shawn Millin, Sara Matz, Jeri Ogden, Zoila Primo, Jen Samson, Kat Schroeder, Katherine Steadwell, Angela Stepancic, Trenile Tillman, Elyshe Voorhees, Renee Walker-Robinson, Elaine Wilson, Carolyn Lejuste and Joann Neuroth, and any other donors who gave without a note or anonymously.