In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the sorority sisters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Rockland Alumnae Chapter in Rockland County, NY and did an interview with Ouida Foster Toutebon the President of the chapter.
The position of president of a Black sorority chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Ouida Foster Toutebon, who works as a Executive Director, Head Start of Rockland, has been in the position of president for since 2020.
We interviewed Foster Toutebon, who is a Spring ‘92, Rockland Alumnae Chapter initiate of Delta Sigma Theta and talked to her about her position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What motivated you to take on the role of alumni chapter president?
It was a time for change, new beginnings. As a former first and second vice president, I had held many positions of leadership. I answered the call to lead the chapter and glad I did!
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the local community or the broader Black community?
Health & Wellness/We are engaging in a program called Good Health WINS, as part of our health and wellness initiative. Though Good Health WINS, we are keeping our community informed about new COVID 19 updates and doing our part to address our communities basic COVID-19 needs. The food shortage is a major concern in our area. The Rockland County Deltas will continue volunteering our time to food distribution at the Dr. Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center in Spring Valley, NY, monthly. Youth Programs – We will also continue to contribute to the college careers of local high school students through our annual scholarships, where we give away up to $15,000 in scholarships each year.
What made you want to pledge Delta Sigma Theta?
I may be biased, but Delta Sigma Theta is the only way! My sorority’s rich history of social action and community involvement is what resonated with me the most. As the executive director for Head Start of Rockland County, public service is what I do.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
With nearly 100 active members, our chapter is small but strong. We are heavily rooted in the Rockland County community and are known for our stellar youth programs and scholarships.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
The undergrad chapter closest to us is Tau Theta at West Point. Our chapter was involved in the initial chartering of the chapter. We assisted with re-chartering and membership intake. We also support graduates transitioning into our chapter.
How do you approach fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie among alumni members, and what strategies have you found effective?
Outside of our month membership meetings, we are constantly checking in on each other and celebrating in each other’s successes and joys. From monthly outings and birthday shoutouts to personal check-ins during life’s rough moments, our chapter stays connected with each other. Our membership committee even has a TRIAD program connecting a Delta Dear, a Diva and a Doll.
What advice would you give to aspiring leaders within your sorority who may aspire to take on roles of leadership within alumni chapters?
If you feel called to do it, it’s for a reason. Do it. Remember your why. Chapter leadership is a humbling position to be in. It requires you to think outside of yourself, placing the greater good of the chapter and the Sorority ahead of your own desires. Are you ready?
How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today? Are there any specific people in your org who have made a significant impact on your life as mentors?
Mentorship has played a very important role in my development as a person and as a Delta. I think of past presidents and some charter members who just embraced me, volunteered me, and showed me how to do my best! My interaction with them inspired me to not only continue being an active member of my chapter, but to pursue a leadership role.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
Watch the Yard does an amazing job at highlighting not only the culture of Black Greek life, but the achievements of Black greeks in both the collegiate and alumnae space. Watch The Yard acts as a bridge to keep us all connected. From the White House to the yard, Watch The Yard has been there!
Looking back at it, why do you love being a member of your org?
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. was born out of the minds of 22 trailblazing women. Now, 110 years later, the principles our founders established are still going strong. Delta women are movers and shakers at every level. With more than 300,000 initiated members, a Delta woman is not hard to find. I love that I can always depend on my soror, whether we’ve known each other for years or we just met that day. Delta will always hold me heart.
Lastly, what does sisterhood mean to you?
To me, sisterhood means unity. In Rockland County, we are fortunate to have a close D9 family. We are all in this together!
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Ouida Foster Toutebon for her work as the President of the Rockland Alumnae Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1985.
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