Daily Point of Light # 2956 Jun 3, 2005

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is an international, nonprofit organization with headquarters in Washington DC whose mission is to foster the ideals of service, charity, scholarship, civil and cultural endeavors. Through the sorority’s national programs, members and auxiliary groups voluntarily carry out this mission by staffing community outreach programs, funding scholarships, supporting organized charities, and promoting legislation for social and civic change.

Lower-income women, regardless of age and race, are at greater risk for not receiving adequate prenatal care and having unhealthy birth outcomes, including higher rates of infant deaths. Particularly tragic, many unhealthy outcomes could be prevented. One important factor in prevention is early and regular prenatal care.

Since 1971, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the March of Dimes have been partners in implementing a prenatal education program called the Stork’s Nest. This program has three major objectives: (1) to provide prenatal education and incentives to low-income pregnant women, (2) to motivate women to get early, regular prenatal care through earned incentives, and (3) to educate women on self-care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Sorority volunteers operates these Nests programs and conduct the educational classes. March of Dimes provides the educational materials, training, and some funding. Today, there are 165 Stork’s Nest across the country serving over 28,000 women each year.

Expanding on this partnership, in 2003 when the March of Dimes launched its 5-year, $75 Million National Prematurity Campaign, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority supported the campaign in full force. The sorority participated by implementing Zeta Prematurity Awareness Sunday, engaging hundreds of faith-based communities. On Sunday, November 16, 2003, local sorority chapters coordinated activities with their church communities to present information on premature birth. Zeta Phi Beta adapted March of Dimes prematurity material and distributed over 20,000 information cards on the signs/symptoms of pre-term labor to congregations across the country. Over 450 congregations participated, reaching over 150,000 people. This innovative partnership enhanced community outreach on a serious health issue. The project was repeated on November 14, 2004 and will be implemented annually for the duration of the national campaign. In 2004, an abstract for this innovative program had been accepted for presentation at the American Public Health Association Conference and the American Association for Health Education Conference.

Zeta Phi Beta also has been a major support of WalkAmerica, the March of Dimes largest fundraiser. Since 1998 the sorority has been a national team, raising over $435,000 to fund research and programs to save babies’ lives. In 2004 alone, the Sorority raised over $153,000. The partnership and programs with March of Dimes is only one of several national programs the Sorority supports. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is truly an excellent representation of a community-conscious organization.