About 75 women in Newton County now have an official group to better the community from closer to home.
The Covington Area Alumnae chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., was granted a license to charter on April 12, completing a process almost five years in the making.
The graduate sorority — part of the Southern Region, which was founded in 1926 and is the largest of the seven regions in the country, with more than 200 chapters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee, according to the Southern Region website — focuses on community service.
Lisa McWilliams, president of the chapter, said many of the members pledged the historically black sorority while in college, and any sisters in Newton, Walton and Barrow countieas are welcome.
McWilliams, who went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has been living in Georgia for almost 20 years, said the undergraduate Delta Sigma Theta puts an emphasis on high academic standards, community service and sisterhood.
After graduating, she and the other sisters wanted to continue promoting good in their community, but the closest chapter was based in Stone Mountain. An Atlanta chapter can only cover this area so well, she said, and they wanted a locally lived organization.
“At that point, we wanted to have a chapter here that could focus on this area,” McWilliams said.
She pointed out that in college, there is not as much time, financial resources, and general means as a post-graduate chapter. Now, she said, they have more expertise.
“People within the chapter are professionals and can help in different areas,” McWilliams said. “We have teachers, lawyers, doctors. We have more resources among ourselves to provide services to the community.
Also, people stay longer because they don’t have to leave once they leave school, McWilliams said.
“It’s kind of like the same thing (as college),” McWilliams said, “but on a much bigger scale.”