Experiencing Holi (N. DeMaio)

Holi is the Hindu festival of colors and festival of love. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil (illustrated by the legend of Holika), the arrival of spring, and also provides the opportunity to repair relationships in order to generate harmony in society.

Traditionally, there is a bonfire lit the night before Holi to symbolize the destruction of the evil Holika and the demon king Hiranyakashipu. On the following day, celebrations begin in the early morning and are marked by play with colors – it is essentially a free for all with strangers and friends throwing colored powder and spraying each other with colored water. The legend of play with colors originates with the deity Krishna, who is recognized by his blue skin (the result of being poisoned by a she-demon). When Krishna worried that his skin color would keep the beautiful Radha from liking him, his mother suggests that he color Radha’s face with a color of his choice. Krishna takes his mother’s advice, colors Radha’s face, and the two become a couple. Play with colors is a way to celebrate the divine love between Krishna and Radha.

This year, I decided to attend a local Holi festival in Jersey City, NJ after seeing a sign on my commute to work one morning. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I went to the site of the festival ready to find out. I could hear music and shouts of “Happy Holi!” as I approached the site. I walked through the play with colors, taking in the atmosphere as everyone around me threw handfuls of powder into the air and at each other. The scent of curry and spices filled the air as people began buying lunch from the stands run by local restaurants. At the front of the festival site, there was a stage set up with dancers from nearby studios performing both classical Hindu and more modern, Bollywood-inspired routines. All in all, it was a great introduction to the meaning behind the festival as well as a way to experience the sense of community that came from the joint celebration.

 

Xi Xi is Co-Sponsoring a Run For Change! (N. DeMaio)

As a Chapter, we are always striving for new ways in which to serve our community and help make a difference. We participate in many different kinds of service activities and maintain a focus on our national philanthropy, Girls for A Change, Inc. (GFC). During the spring of 2013, we started to brainstorm ideas for a signature chapter event where the proceeds would go to benefit GFC.

Around this time, Soror Dara Monasch mentioned that she had a friend who worked with an organization that set up races for different beneficiaries. We decided to look into this relationship to see if there was an opportunity for a partnership going forward. As we started to discuss the logistics, it became clear that this was going to be a perfect fit:  the organization, RunBUCKS, had a planned race scheduled for early May and was searching for a beneficiary. With the Xi Xi Chapter in place to bridge the gap, we were able to organize things so that a percentage of registration fees would be donated directly to GFC.

After a lot of hard work, publicity, and several conference calls to iron out the details, the Xi Xi Chapter is proud to announce that we are co-sponsoring Run for Change on Sunday, May 11, 2014 in Washington Crossing Park, PA.

We are still looking for both runners AND volunteers for the day of the event so sign up today and be part of the change!

 

Race Details:  http://www.runbucks.com/mothersday10k.html

To Register to RUN:  http://bit.ly/1eXbt79

To Register as a VOLUNTEER:  http://bit.ly/1mvTHC9

 

October and November Event Recap!

The Xi Xi Chapter has been very busy this fall! Here’s a recap of everything we have been up to since our second annual Chapter retreat:

 

New Jersey Young Professionals’ (NJYP) Multi Group Mega Mixer

Xi Xi participated in our second Multi-Group Mega Networking Mixer at the beginning of October. The Mega Mixer is a great opportunity to network and expand the reach of Theta Nu Xi’s mission and goals. Our Sisters came out to help with recruitment and to build some new relationships with various external organizations for potential events in the future. We made some amazing connections and look forward to continue working with NJYP!

 

 

National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) Charity Walk

Sisters from the Xi Xi and Rho Chapters gathered at Foley Square on October 6th for a walk to benefit NEDA. For the second year in a row, we showed our support as we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to help raise awareness for eating disorders. The event was kicked off by several moving performances and included an inspirational speech from Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008. For more information on NEDA and the work they do, check out their website: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.

 

Habitat for Humanity Build Day

This is one of our favorite annual community service projects and partnerships! Morris Habitat for Humanity focuses on the underserved population in Morris County to provide decent, affordable housing for low-income families. This year, Morris Habitat partnered with Family Promise, an organization dedicated to providing temporary living space while families get back on their feet. Our project was to expand the Family Promise office space – including building out the framework for a new wall, constructing support structures for window frames, and literally raising the roof! Soror Lovette Appleton and I teamed up to help make a difference and learned some helpful new skills in the process.

 

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Butterflies across the country came together this October to continue the fight against breast cancer. A little closer to home, the Xi Xi Chapter in the created a team to fundraise for this cause. Our Making Strides walk took place at New Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, NJ. We had a great time completing a 5k walk around the park and seeing the local performances in support of breast cancer research. One of the most memorable moments for me was the Survivors’ Lap that kicked off the walk. It’s an emotional event that serves as a great reminder for why we continue to fight and raise money each year.

 

Open Interest Meeting

As a Chapter, we love finding women in our communities who share our passion for multiculturalism and social change (among other things!). We’re proud to announce that we held our first open interest meeting at the beginning of November to seek out other like-minded women who may want to become part of our organization. Overall, the meeting was a big success and we look forward to the next steps with everyone who was in attendance!

 

TNX-Giving/Food Drive

Our busy fall came to a close with TNX-Giving, a potluck Sisterhood Thanksgiving dinner. It was the perfect chance to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and bring us back to the core of Theta Nu Xi: our Sisterhood. Our Sisters also pitched in to donate canned goods and other nonperishable food items to the South Brunswick Food Pantry. We had a great time in the kitchen and catching up throughout the course of the evening.

Serving Her Community (H. Miller)

As a recent college graduate, I realize how lucky I am to have a job. This luck is multiplied when I think of what my job actually is. I began my job as a program aide at Community Bike Works in June, and I have loved every minute of it.

Community Bike Works (CBW) is a non-profit organization that offers work ethic programs for the youth of Allentown that center around bicycle mechanics and safety. Adult volunteers and staff provide mentorship to students ages 9-17, encouraging them to be more engaged in their schools and communities. The core program of CBW is the Earn a Bike Class, a 12 week program that requires students to participate in a weekly class in which they work on repairing a bike that will eventually become their own. In order to earn this bike, students must attend class for twenty four hours and pass a written and practical bike safety test, and these requirements are outlined in a contract that they sign. Other programs include Drop-In, Earn a Book, and Youth Leadership. Drop-In is a structured mentoring after school program that involves bike repairs and planned activities, while Earn a Book is a reading and homework help program that allows students to earn their own book after 18 hours of work over a period of weeks. Youth Leadership is a bi-weekly meeting for our older students to discuss topics of leadership and how they can become better leaders.

I first started volunteering at CBW in the fall of 2011, assisting the teaching of the Earn a Bike class. I then became a volunteer with the Drop-In program, and then began an internship in the spring of 2012. Through this internship, CBW offered me a job as a program aid. As a program aide, I assist in the upkeep and execution of our Earn a Bike and Drop-In programs. Essentially, I teach kids how to fix bikes, play games with them, and listen to what they have to say. The relationships I have formed with my students mean the world to me, and I hope that I can be a positive influence in their lives. Leaving for grad school is going to be hard, so I make the most of my time here and do the best I can to teach and laugh and to learn from our future.

Theta Nu Xi Interest Meeting (NJ Graduate, Alumnae and Professional Women – Xi Xi Chapter)

 

Join Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.’s New Jersey Graduate, Alumnae and Professional Chapter for an Interest Meeting, Meal and Thanksgiving Food Drive!

 

Are You Interested In:

 

*Promoting social change through community involvement?
*Discussing important current events and issues of diversity in a safe forum?
*Finding a unique social and professional support system anchored in Sisterhood?

 

If your answer is a resounding “Yes!” to these three questions, then the Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi may be the place for you! Join us on Saturday, November 9th at 2:00pm to meet our current Chapter Sisters, receive more information about Theta Nu Xi and have questions about membership in the Xi Xi Chapter answered.

 

Refreshments will be served and we will also be holding a food drive just in time for Thanksgiving! For more details and the location of the event, please RSVP to Nikki at membership@thetanujersey.org.

 

**Attending this Interest Meeting does not oblige or commit you to joining our Sisterhood.**

Xi Xi Annual Chapter Retreat 2013: Presidential Address (R. Aponte)

The Xi Xi Chapter kicked-off the 2013-2014 program year with its second annual retreat in Mahwah, NJ. Chapter President, Rosalie Aponte, shares her plans for the Chapter and looks forward to the upcoming year!

It was a busy weekend for the beautiful ladies of the Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi. This year, the Chapter continued some of its traditions such as participating in CASA of Morris County’s  annual Back to School Drive, where the Chapter sponsored three students and provided them with backpacks, notebooks, crayons, and folders. The Chapter then continued one of its most important Sisterhood traditions: reading the Xi Xi Chapter’s Guiding Principles, which serve as a reminder as to why we joined this Chapter that is near and dear to our hearts.

While we conducted a variety of different business meetings, one of the best moments was when the Chapter reviewed our progress and accomplished goals for the 2012-2013 year.  I am happy to report the Chapter accomplished 16 out of 20 of our goals. This year, the Chapter’s largest goal is to continue to plan and execute our signature event in 2014. Stay tuned for additional information!

On the side of Sisterhood, the Xi Xi Chapter was thrilled to welcome Hannah Miller into fully active status. She joined the Chapter ready to work, and the Chapter is so excited to add her expertise and energy into the mix. When asked how she feels about the transition from being an Undergraduate Sister into GAP membership in the Xi Xi Chapter, this is what Soror Miller had to say:

“Before graduating in May, I was unsure as to whether or not I wanted to be attached to a specific Chapter. Xi Xi’s option to be a financial member seemed like a perfect fit for me at the time; I could maintain a relationship with Sisters as much as I was able to without having official responsibilities. But once I attended a sisterhood brunch with the Sisters of Xi Xi, I knew that being an active member was the move for me. I became an active member at retreat, and before that time I had a chance to explore Xi Xi and its policies. Retreat was an awesome transition from financial to active because it put me right in the thick of things while giving me a chance to get to know my new Chapter Sisters! We had a lot of fun and got a lot accomplished; look out world, here comes Xi Xi!”

As the Xi Xi Chapter continues to grow and bring in new GAP women, I am excited to see what we accomplish. The women in this Chapter are determined and strong. Though we may be spaced across the region between Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey, we are all eager and ready to work on spreading Theta Nu Xi’s mission and tenets.

Fan Fest Report! (N. DeMaio)

Every year, Major League Baseball chooses a different stadium and city to host its All-Star Game and all of the events leading up to it.  In 2013, the New York Mets were chosen as hosts, which meant that everything took place in New York City.  From July 12-16, the Jacob Javits Center was transformed into a baseball mecca for T-Mobile’s All-Star Fan Fest.

As avid baseball (and Mets!) fans, Xi Xi Chapter President, Rosalie and I decided to give back to the community by offering our volunteer services at this event.  This actually took some work; we had to apply through Major League Baseball, clear a background check, and attend two training sessions prior to being able to participate.  The process took about 6 months to complete!

Once we were at Fan Fest, the enormity of the event really hit home.  There were volunteers everywhere – putting together informational packets, greeting attendees, assisting at clinics, managing the crowds – and that was nothing compared to the amount of people in attendance.  One of the highlights of our volunteering was working a base stealing clinic.  We were in charge of resetting the mats and bases as the kids learned the proper mechanics of stealing, from how to take a lead to safe sliding.

We also had the opportunity to meet some women from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL) – the real life inspiration for the movie A League of Their Own.  Maybelle Blair and Isabel Alvarez were so full of energy and they loved the time they had spent in the AAGPBL.  They were a true inspiration to not only follow your dreams, but to push for them even harder when there are others claiming that it can’t be done.  It was such an honor to meet these women and hear their stories!

Overall, our extended weekend of volunteering was a whirlwind of kids, history, and a shared love for America’s pastime.  It was great to be able to give back to the community in a way that will be remembered by all of those in attendance.

Xi Xi Chapter of TNX to Participate in NJYP Fall 2013 Networking Mixer!

The Young Professionals Multi-Group Mixer is an extraordinary event that combines both business and social networking. Scheduled for October 4th at the illustrious Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, NJ, 300-400 Young Professionals from 23 different YP organizations will attend the bi-annual event. Registration will be open soon, so save the date!

Atmosphere:
* This event geared toward those who are 21-39 years old, but is open to ALL ages and all career types.
* The YP Mixer will run like an extended cocktail hour with drink specials and light snacks for the first 2 hours.
* The dress code is Business or Business Casual.
* Bring at least 30 to 60 business cards and any literature you may have. Some past participants have also brought resumes and portfolios.

Information Tables:
Various YP organization and companies will have an information table at the event. Stop by the tables to obtain literature, enter raffles, and grab freebies! If you would like to have a table at the mixer contact Sponsor@NJYP.org

Cost:
TBA. Purchase Online or At-Door.

Tickets:
There are a limited number of tickets for sale. Tickets are not mailed, but your name will be kept at the door. All sales are final.

Job Seekers:
Are you looking for a new job? Job seekers will be given a glow bracelet. This will help recruiters and those looking to hire find you quickly in the crowd!

Participating Organizations:

Bergen County Realtor Center for Professional Development
BLACK NJ
Bergen County Young Professionals
Central Jersey NSBE Professionals
Cook Comunity Young Alumni
Felician College Alumni Association
Greater Monmouth Chamber of Commerce YPG
JuiceTank
NJ Young Latino Professionals
New Jersey Young Professionals
NJ State Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division
NJ Young Gay Professionals
Rutgers Alumni Association, Young Alumni
St Paul Inside the Walls Young Adults
USGBCNJ Emerging Professionals
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Young Professionals Committee
The Young Professionals of PSEG
NJAPA Emerging Professionals
Urban League of Essex County YPs
Urban League of Union County YPs
Xi Xi Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us! We’re so thrilled to be participating!

The Road to Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter (E. Robbins)

The following is an account from Xi Xi Chapter Sister, Emily Robbins, detailing her journey to becoming a Far Hills-Bedminster Firefighter.

It certainly has been an interesting two and a half months!  In late May of 2013 I decided I wanted to join one of the local fire departments to better serve my community.  As per department requirements, I was required to attend at least two fire drills before being considered for membership.  At my first few drills, the department was performing an extrication, where they place dummies in a car that has been set up as if it had been in a car crash (near the fire department, not on the highway) and there is a pretend scenario announced.

At one particular drill, the firefighters were required to take both doors off of the passenger and driver’s sides in order to reach the “patient.”  Next, they had to do a dashboard raise because, in this scenario, they were to pretend that the “patient’s” legs were trapped beneath the steering wheel.  This whole drill, mind you, is in full firefighting gear!

After observing a few drills, attending many truck details, and having my name read at two of the monthly meetings, I was qualified to receive my gear.  I had a countdown to this day from the minute I turned in my application!  I couldn’t wait!  That night, I was called down to the fire house and received a pager, pants, a jacket, boots, gloves, goggles, a hood, and a helmet all to store in my own locker.  It was actually a pretty overwhelming night just due to all of the excitement, but getting my gear was the most amazing feeling.

A little over a week later, I participated in a drill like I had observed (another extrication).  My heart was pounding and adrenaline was running through my body.  One of the Ex-Chiefs called me over to the driver’s side of the smashed car and taught me how to use a spreader to pop off the doors of the car.  Let me just tell you, the tools are much heavier than I thought they would be!  Also, in case you’re wondering, yes, the gear we wear is heavy and you sweat A LOT in this heat!  I definitely made a lot of mistakes during that drill, but everyone was really supportive and just wanted to get the new members involved. 

I still have limitations on what I am allowed to do, such as how close I can get to a fire or motor vehicle crash, but I will be attending fire school soon and will then gain more responsibility within the fire department.  It will definitely be a challenge, but I am excited to learn.  Luckily, I will be attending fire school with another new member from my department, so at least I will know one person in class.  I am looking forward to learning how to truly help the community and potentially save someone’s life.

Despite my “new member” limitations, I have been able to respond to a few calls so far, although not to a real fire yet.  My pager goes off at some of the most inconvenient times, but you respond when you can.  My goal is to just make a difference to one person.  I obviously can’t save the world alone and I definitely have a lot to learn, but having an impact on one person, I believe, is a big enough goal.

 

Bridging the GAP – Bringing Sisters Together

On Sunday, June 30th, the Xi Xi Chapter held its first official GAP recruitment event.  Our Bridging the GAP Brunch was geared towards new local graduates as well as GAL Sisters in NJ and the surrounding areaOur Chapter Sisters contributed to the potluck brunch with bagels, lettuce wraps, quiches and more!  It was a great opportunity to spend some time with Sisters for whom GAP membership is a new opportunity as well as to remind some of our current GAL Sorors about what makes Theta Nu Xi so ONEderful both in the first place and for all our lives.  Over our breakfast buffet, we both were introduced to Sisters we hadn’t met before while others were reconnected after long absences. Here’s to many more successful Sisterhood events and we hope you’ll be seeing some new faces on our website soon!

If you’re interested in membership in the Xi Xi Chapter, please feel free to reach out to our Membership Officer, Nikki DeMaio, at membership@thetanujersey.org. Whether you’re already a Sister and looking to transfer or reactivate, or you’re simply interested in joining Theta Nu Xi at the Graduate, Alumnae and Professional level, we would love to hear from you!