Name: Andrea Allen
Organization: Nu Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Town: Lady's Island
Involved for: A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha for 37 years, a charter member of the local chapter for 34 years
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Position: Committee chairwoman of a youth program called ASCEND, which is designed to motivate, engage and assist high school students in reaching their maximum potential
Inspiring the next generation. We worked with girls who were in middle school. ... That is going to change for 2014 through 2018. We will still work with young ladies, but we will also begin working with young men. And our focus is going to move to high school. The sorority itself, as well as our local chapter, has always had a youth program. When we work with our young people, it's not just one time. It's usually a yearlong program that has had different focuses, whether it's on leadership as this last four-year program's focus was, or science and math.
Playing for God. Outside of my membership with the sorority that is a lifelong commitment in service to the community, I've also played the piano for churches since I was 12 years old. Now I play for the church I attend, which is Tabernacle Baptist Church. I've always enjoyed playing for the church because I like the hymns and the anthems and the spirituals. When you look at the words and what the words say, it gives us our connection back to God. But also when you look at the words and what they say, they talk about how we should live our life and how we should serve others. So that's a constant reminder to me when I play and when I'm working with choirs, that service is important and that he wants us to love others. And we can love others by using our talents and abilities, and not keeping them to yourself.
Providing the best care for the community. I sit on Beaufort Memorial's hospital board. I do that because I believe it's the community hospital. We need to be there for the citizens of our community, and we need to be able to provide the best care for folk. I think we have a really good hospital so I don't mind giving back hours.
A family affair. My parents were college professors at Tennessee State University, and that's also where I received my bachelor's and master's. They were people who gave back. My mom is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority too. Way back when, I remember her being involved with the health program, which was a federal health program in Nashville and making sure that people had transportation, because they didn't really have what we have today, like the Medicaid vans and things. My dad was a civil rights activist. He was very active in the marches and sit-ins that occurred in Nashville. He was at one time president of the United Nations Association of Tennessee. ... My middle girl is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority also. My son's wife is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. All of my aunts on both sides of my family and my grandmother. Alpha Kappa Alpha has been a way of life for the women in my family. We are considered legacies when you have more than one generation within the sorority. And my husband is Edward Allen, who is the county coroner. Outside of his work and what he gives back to the community through EMS and the coroner's office now, he has always been one to give back of his time. So we're in a family that believes in giving back, providing services to others and just being there. I think our children have always seen that even with that crazy lifestyle that our family has had, you still have to find the time to give back.
Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.