UNION, NJ — The Alpha Delta Kappa Epsilon sorority, Union chapter, held its 24th annual Fashion Show Founder’s Day fundraiser last week, the chapter’s main fundraiser of the year.
ADK Epsilon is an international women educators’ sorority dedicated to promoting women in education.
Approximately 70 sorority sisters and their guests gathered at the Suburban Golf and Country Club in Union, where the chapter raised money for local causes, including Union schools, the Union Public Library, school drama clubs, Union’s Got Talent, St. Joseph’s Social Service Center in Elizabeth, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, and a scholarship for a Union High School female graduate planning a career in education.
In the past, the organization has also contributed to the Malala Fund, the Union Suffragettes Girls Softball League, school libraries of the district, the drama clubs of UHS, Kawameeh and Burnet Middle Schools, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Heart Association.
Doris D’Elia, president of ADK Epsilon’s Union chapter, and chairwoman of the fundraising event, told LocalSource that she has been a member of ADK since 2007, where she has held the offices of altruistic chair and, currently, as president, as well as president of the Council of Presidents on the state level.
“The sisters in our organization are exemplary women whom I can only hope to emulate,” D’Elia told LocalSource. “Women such as Barbara La Mort, who was honored by our State ADK as this year’s Distinguished Member Award recipient, not only for her work in ADK, but for her outstanding community service.”
D’Elia said that while the majority of the chapter’s members are teachers in the classroom, there are also members representative of other occupations such as nurses, vice principals and librarians, all of whom are also actively engaged in education.
“Many of the recipients of our altruistic endeavors have written us about how much they value our efforts, such as the Children’s Specialized Hospital, for the gift bags we put together every spring, or the school drama clubs we help support, as well as our high school scholarship recipients,” said D’Elia.
La Mort, who is also president of the Union Township Historical Society, told LocalSource that she joined the chapter in 2001, and served as co-president of the chapter with Kathy Arminio. She is currently the chapter’s corresponding secretary and World Understanding chairperson.
La Mort said that one of the highlights of the evening is the fashion show. “The event itself is so much fun because six of our members model the clothes in an informal-style fashion show,” La Mort said. “There’s no runway. The models just circulate among the tables, so there’s lots of good-natured back-and-forth between the audience and the models.”
Six “sorority sisters” — Marie Arnold, Sharon Drayton, Patricia Frazier, Heidi Milan-Huff, Leslie Nigro and Raffaela Yurecko — served as the evening’s fashion models and, according to D’Elia, the models were a big hit with the crowd. “There was much oohing and ahhing over our models as they walked around the room with the outfits they had chosen from Dress Barn,” D’Elia said. “The camaraderie among the attendees was wonderful, with much laughter and cheering on their ‘favorite’ models.”
According to D’Elia, Dress Barn provided the fashions for the show, and models chose three outfits each — one casual, one business and, of course, some eveningwear. The manager of Union’s Dress Barn served as the fashion show’s announcer.
Rae Yurecko, the chapter’s current chaplain and former president, told LocalSource that she has been a member of the sorority for 23 years. “I really was young and had no idea if I would have the time for this activity,” Yurecko told LocalSource. “However, it has been very rewarding. Knowing that I am supporting many organizations in need makes me feel that I am at least doing something altruistic. Meetings once a month were fairly easy to do.”
According to Yurecko, there were about 50 members of the local chapter but some have retired and moved away. “We now only have about 38 members, but it is new, young blood,” said Yurecko. “They are awesome and I am sure that Doris told you we had the most new members in the whole northeast region.”
Yurecko said the fundraising event is always a fun evening. “It is always a fun time,” she said, describing the buffet, fashion show, and prize giveaways. “It is a diversified and fun evening for all.”
La Mort lauded all those involved in the event. “The manager of Dress Barn is so easy to work with and gives all the attendees a 15 percent discount the week after the fashion show,” said La Mort. “Plus, the staff of Suburban Golf Course is phenomenal, and the food is great. All in all, everyone has a great time and returns year after year to support our fundraiser.”
Alpha Delta Kappa is an international honorary sorority for women educators that has chapters in 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada, Jamaica and Mexico. Its mission is to recognize outstanding educators actively engaged in teaching, administration or a specialized field of the teaching profession, and to promote educational and charitable projects and activities to sponsor scholarships.
The International Teacher Education Program, an initiative of the organization, provides scholarships to scholars from abroad, enabling them to attend master’s programs at colleges and universities throughout the United States. These scholars then return to their home countries, such as Afghanistan and Peru, in order to promote educational opportunities for women there.